When I had an outdoor bath on top of a private mountain overlooking the rolling hills and wild Pacific coast, I thought quite clearly to myself – does it, actually, get any better than this? At Mt Hay Retreat, this thought occurred to me about 23 times – and I was only there for one night.
Located in Berry on the NSW South Coast, Mt Hay is an adults-only luxury retreat that basically screams HONEYMOON in capital letters. With no kids allowed, and with just a handful of luxurious contained suites that sleep a maximum of two people, this is a bougie escape for loved-up lovers, tired adults, or just anyone who wants to run away from the city and pretend the real world doesn’t exist for a few blessed days.
Family-owned, Mt Hay came into existence when Sydney couple Wayne and Christine purchased the property in 1987. Now, it’s run and managed by their son Anthony and his partner, Louise, with them both clearly putting everything they have into making this place as special as it can be. Louise told me that when her inlaws first arrived, all that existed on the Mt Hay site was an asbestos-riddled shack. Now, the family have come together and created six huge luxury suites, an indoor heated pool house, and a fairly amazing ‘cloud swing’ that swings out over a majestic view of the South Coast, right next to a flower-covered arbour.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been more than one proposal at this joint since Louise and Anthony took on the ropes. This place is, at its essence, extremely romantic.
Mt Hay is located up a fairly steep private mountain road, about ten minutes away from Berry’s main town strip – but the drive in is proper bush territory. We saw numerous wombats and wallabies, and at night, the hairpin bends are more than a little scary. (Time Out Tip: Don’t arrive after dark, if you can help it).
The trek is worth it though, for the sense of deep seclusion and privacy you get at the top. The unobstructed views are seriously spectacular, with the green expanse of the South Coast laid out at your feet. The carefully manicured gardens strewn throughout the property are full of bright flowers, blossoming trees and numerous native bird species, with the postcard-like nirvana topped off with the couple’s two extremely good looking long-haired dogs running around, their russet fur shining like you’re in some British period drama. It’s all very aesthetic.
However, at Mt Hay, your room is the reason you go. Unlike many other accommodation options, Mt Hay’s power lies in its five-star suites, with there being not much else to do on site (other than stroll, sit in the spa, and play a game of giant chess).
We stayed in one of their gigantic and airy ‘luxury suites’, where we got a huge white bed reminiscent of a firm marshmallow, a rain shower that jutted out into a lush garden, and an alfresco bath that faced some jaw dropping views of bright green ridges and the distant ocean. In the suite, a mammoth floor-to-ceiling glass wall is the main attraction, with the entire room opening out to the world, meaning that you get to eat, sleep and wake-up to a seriously staggering vista. Getting to see a golden-edged fiery sunrise over mountains, while still snuggled in bed? It’s a yes from us.
While some of the lime green room décor may be a little ‘90s, Mt Hay Retreat is truly, in all matters of the word, a beautiful and special escape from reality. As there are no kids running around, the place is extremely quiet, the pool area very tranquil, and the vibes very peaceful – with it being the perfect spot for a couple, or solo traveller to run away to for a few nights.
If you’re craving being tucked away on top of a private mountain, gazing down at the world (all from inside a steaming outdoor bath, of course), then put Mt Hay Retreat on your list.
You won’t regret it.
Mt Hay Retreat ranges in price from $390 per night during the week (Sunday to Thursday) and $450 a night on weekends. Also, Louise and Anthony offer very bespoke experiences if you need them (Read: want to plan a proposal? They'll help you out). You can find out more, and book yourself in on their website.