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Escape to the Hills

Escape to the Hills

Josh and Cheryl turn a hiking trip into a luxury holiday filled with fine dining and relaxation at Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains.

The call of the Blue Mountains

Cheryl and I can only go so long in a city setting. Keeping up the pace drains us of energy, leaving us cranky and fatigued. Every few months, we need to get away from all the concrete and embrace nature for a few days. The Blue Mountains are a regular destination. The spectacular scenery helps us forget about deadlines for a while and reconnect with each other.

After a few months of non-stop activity, I was aching for a break from it all. Cheryl was also working herself to the bone and I wanted to take that harried look off her face, if only for a few days. So I blocked a long weekend in our agendas and started hunting for a place to stay. Our usual haunts were nice, but I wanted something really special. It had to have a spa, a great restaurant and accept my Accor Plus card. I called a colleague who had recently celebrated a wedding in the Blue Mountains. He highly recommended the Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains, saying it was the perfect place for a romantic getaway near Sydney (he’d already booked a room for both his wife’s birthday and their first wedding anniversary). He suggested we stay in a Deluxe Room, so as soon as we got off the phone, I called the hotel to make arrangements.

An unparalleled Blue Mountains resort

I kept our destination a secret, but I did tell Cheryl to pack more than just hiking gear and comfy clothes. She likes a bit of mystery but I figured she wouldn’t appreciate turning up to one of the finest restaurants in the Blue Mountains region in shorts and a flannel shirt.

We drove to the hotel through some charming villages and past incredible vistas, stopping the car whenever the need to admire the scenery became too demanding. When our final destination appeared on the horizon, Cheryl started giving me puzzled looks. The closer we got, the more her confusion turned to glee. Apparently, a stay at Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains was on her bucket list of things to do.

Our Deluxe Room was beyond my expectations. The sweeping Blue Mountains views were breathtaking, the bed was immense, and the spa bath was an unexpected (and blissful) plus! We were tempted to forget about our hiking plans and just hole ourselves up in the room for the weekend, but the call of nature was too strong. The resort is surrounded by hiking trails and we didn’t bring our hiking boots for nothing. Some of the trails we’d already done, so we tried out a few that were new to us. The fresh air was just what the doctor ordered and it felt great to stretch our legs and get the heart rate going.

Each evening, after indulging in a muscle-relieving massage at Ubika Spa, we treated ourselves to dinner at one of Fairmont’s excellent restaurants. Our first meal was a casual affair at Embers followed by a craft beer at the bar of the Sublime Lounge. The second was a six-course culinary experience at Eucalypt, the resort’s signature gourmet restaurant. We dined on Pacific oysters, Wagyu beef, Berkshire pork and chicken prepared to perfection, interspersed with amuse- bouche and palate cleansers. Not to mention the incredible chocolate dessert and paired wines. We really went all out! Accor Plus dining discounts make it easy to indulge.

The day of departure

An invigorating early-morning hike was in order to clear our heads after our evening of decadence (which also ended in the Sublime Lounge, this time with cocktails instead of beer). We then enjoyed one last hearty breakfast at Jamison’s before reluctantly checking out.

As we drove away, Cheryl’s face started to fall once more, and she started to talk about work. “How about we book a room for your birthday in a couple of months?” I interrupted. Cheryl’s serious façade faltered. “Can we stay a bit longer?” she asked. “That can be arranged,” I replied. Turning away to hide her enthusiasm, she said with a renewed smile, “OK, then. I’d like that.”