Idyll in the eyrie

Tucked into a hillside and surrounded by bush, on the quiet side of the world-famous Blue Mountains sits the luxurious, African-inspired Spicers Sangoma Retreat. Named after the Zulu word for healer, Sangoma is an intimate hideaway perfect for a romantic getaway or a break from the hectic urban lifestyle.

A bath with a view at Spicers Sangoma Retreat

Perched amid giant boulders and stone ledges overlooking the Blue Mountains National Park on one side, and with distant views of Sydney on the other, it’s hard to believe you’re little over an hour’s drive from Australia’s biggest city.

The Spicers Retreats group acquired this established property in early 2015 and relaunched it as Spicers Sangoma last February.

Sangoma already carried many of the Spicers trademarks such as a beautiful natural location, an attention to personal service, an intimate atmosphere and super-lative cuisine drawn from regional produce.

Warmly welcomed by head chef, and local, Sam Hardinge, we immediately get the feeling we’ll eat well on this stay. Sam is chatty and down to earth, with a couple of tattoos and a genuine smile. While we settle in on the deck, he brings out a cheese and prosciutto platter, paired with champagne, which we enjoy as we take in the vista and watch kookaburras in the nearby trees. Winding down already!

Manager Pablo and his lovely wife Lahnee make sure that we have everything we need and nothing is too much to ask. After a discussion on the different types of coffee found around the world, the next morning Pablo stops off at a local beanery to get us a specially ground coffee. That’s the type of thoughtful service you find at Spicers Sangoma.

Our hunch about the food proves spot-on. Sam is a genius in the kitchen and the five-course degustation paired with wines is a leisurely gourmet event. We savour each course until fully sated.

It’s lucky we only have a minute’s walk to our suite, where a fire is blazing in the wood-burning stove and Van Morrison is playing on the sound system. Perfect. The Chief’s Suite is a 95sqm, two-storey, glass-and-wood structure that could well be ripped out of the pages of a glossy decorator magazine. Downstairs is a spacious lounge/kitchen/dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows, a deck and heated plunge pool. Upstairs is the bedroom, with another wall of windows and panoramic views that stretch out to Sydney, 80km away. On one side is an open shower and Philippe Starck bathtub, which comfortably accommodates my 2m-tall partner.

The next morning, after a breakfast of spicy shakshuka eggs with a side of crispy mushrooms and bacon, we hike the Cabbage Tree track in the National Park. Over several hours, past ancient eucalypts and large boulders, we don’t encounter another person.

After our hike, we’re glad we’d arranged a Kahuna massage at the Sangoma’s Spa Anise, a warm and cozy tented room. I struggle to stay awake while expert masseuse Tracy kneads my body like a lump of dough, the sounds of the creek outside lulling me to sleep. My husband rates it one of the best massages he has ever had.

Sometimes you just need a break from the bustle, some downtime for yourself, or maybe even time to rediscover your significant other. Spicers Sangoma Retreat has great food, plenty of quiet time, fresh air – and a fantastic bathtub. We can’t wait to return!

Photo by Kelly Gabriel

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