Tumbling Waters Retreat, Stanwell Tops
31 Stonehaven Rd, Stanwell Tops, NSW. 2508. Australia
Unique Boutique Travel stayed at the Tumbling Waters Retreat in early January 2020. At the time the entire country of Australia was in the midst of the worst bushfire season on record. We had actually been booked to stay in Jervis Bay, further down the south coast however this was cancelled as the region was inaccessible due to the fires. As a result, we ended up looking for boutique accommodation that was nearer to our Sydney base. We were in luck as we came across the hidden gem which is Tumbling Waters Retreat.
Tumbling Waters Retreat is a one-hour drive south of the Sydney CDB. There is a train station at Stanwell Park, but realistically the retreat is only accessible by car.
It’s not a 5-star hotel or resort and it doesn’t claim to be. The clue is hidden in its name, it is a ‘retreat’. This is a relaxing, secluded adults-only retreat in luxurious surroundings, which is perfect for a romantic getaway. If you want to be surrounded by swarms of staff who will cater for your every whim, this is not the place for you. In fact, Tumbling Waters Retreat operates using just a handful of staff. During our stay, we only saw about four different staff members. The ‘hands-off approach’ works very well for the retreat and no doubt helps keep the costs down. The retreat offers amazing value for money.
The staff may be invisible, but they are there in the background only a phone call or email away. Prior to arrival, you are emailed the code for the electric gate at the front of the retreat and also your room number. It is completely self-service and it worked without a hitch. We parked the car, walked to Suite 3 and walked into the stunning room and the unbelievable scenery from the balcony of our ocean view room.
The decor is contemporary and the views are amazing. The suite situated on the top of the Illawarra escarpment looks over the rainforest down to the Stanwell Park beach below. The suite was scented and there was tranquil music playing in the background. It was quite peaceful and the perfect welcome to the retreat. A range of complimentary snacks was available, as was a bottle of sparkling wine. The suite includes a kitchenette, a separate bath and shower, towelling robes, a large flat-screen TV and a delightful outdoor granite bath on the balcony. The balcony was perfect for a pre-dinner game of backgammon with a cold beer.
After settling in and enjoying the outdoor bathtub, we took a walk around the grounds. The gardens are spectacular and hidden away from view is an infinity pool and a spa. We met the owner, Andrew, as we strolled around the grounds. He was very laid back and welcoming. Andrew explained that the retreat had suffered from the bushfires and had been closed on a few recent occasions due to the close proximity of the fires. He advised us that the retreat consisted of 12 rooms and that we were one of only three couples resident that evening, this again due to the bush fires. The added bonus was that only two couples, including ourselves, would be at the ‘Dining on the Edge’ experience that evening.
Dining on the Edge
And what an experience that was. Dining on the Edge is the restaurant above the accommodation. It has spectacular views overlooking the escarpment. We arrived at 6 pm and met the resident French chef, Terry. He was extremely personable and began to serve us a fabulous three-course meal complete with drinks. The food was amazing, very filling and full of flavour. The price for two, with unlimited drinks, was an incredible $296, unbelievable value. We sat, overlooking the escarpment and enjoyed every moment as we watch the native bats land in the Eucalypts before us. This is an unmissable part of the Tumbling Waters experience.
Terry was serving us again at breakfast the following morning. It was the perfect continental breakfast, fresh fruit, bacon, cereals, juices, coffee etc, again overlooking the view of the beach.
Our visit was when the retreat was at probably its minimal occupancy. Tumbling Waters does serve as a wedding venue, so we imagine that at peak times the retreat might become overcrowded. We would recommend booking at a time when there were no additional functions.
Service and facililities
The ‘hands-off’ approach works seamlessly. There are staff available at all times to assist, whatever your requirements, but they are in the background. It enhances the serenity of the retreat.
- Free parking
- Free breakfast
- Spa and yoga available on request
- Infinity pool
The retreat is surrounded by the Royal National Park, which is perfect for walkers and nature lovers. There are pristine beaches, hang gliding, horse riding, art galleries & cafes all just minutes away by car. All of this and the Sydney CBD is only an hour away.
Unique Boutique Travel cannot fault our experience. The accommodation is superb, the grounds beautiful and the serenity sublime. We commend Andrew and his team and highly recommend Tumbling Waters Retreat as an incredible boutique travel experience.