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Lavender Majestic Review - "The Restoration" Australia house and Garden, March 2015

The girls’ weekend away just got a whole lot smoother, with this beautifully serviced historical home in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, writes Vanessa Walker Chief Sub Editor and Travel Editor of Australian House and Garden Magazine.

I remember once reading about a new cognitive behaviour therapy for children who had experienced a hard period in their lives. The idea was that you could help alleviate a difficult time by spending a full day or two with them, allowing them to do whatever they wanted with no restrictions aside from safety. It might involve going to the movies at 9am, buying a coke and popcorn and chips and a pie, then going to Luna Park before watching back-to-back DVDs then being read a bedtime story at 4pm. The point was that giving them the full power to direct their lives, and cosseting them in unconditional love for a short period, could help reset their emotional equilibrium.

Well, I think I might have found an analogous experience for women who want a break from their daily life and a little pepping up to get back in the groove. It’s called Blue Mountains Girls Getaway and it’s set in a magnificent historical property in Katoomba, once owned by the Foy family of Hydro Majestic fame, sequestered behind a lush garden. It caters for groups of women (up to eight) who want to reconnect with each other and take some time out from their daily lives.

Blue Mountains Girls Getaway’s (BMGG) winning aspect is that the house is given over to the group just like when you go for your average girls’ weekend, save for the fact that there is a butler at your disposal. A butler to pick up every towel, make every cup of tea, cook every breakfast, do all the dishes; in short, every menial task that many women, especially mothers, do day in day out and often can’t escape even when they’re on holiday. And I am here to attest to the fact that it is incredibly restorative not to lift a finger, even for a weekend. To have someone want to serve you, because they see its value (more about owner Nicky Vaux in a moment) is another lovely aspect to the stay. This butler experience is no old-fashioned class encounter, there is generosity behind it; Nicky is thoroughly trained in five-star hospitality, having worked at the Ritz in London and Grosvenor House in Park Lane. She can see a deep need for this kind of retreat and for women to take time out from their hectic lives to enjoy themselves with their girlfriends.

The 1890s sandstone house, Lavender Majestic, is beautifully decorated in a contemporary country style and is resoundingly domestic, making it easy to put on your comfy clothes and settle in for a natter, some reading, some film watching, some respite after a day of shopping in nearby Katoomba... Whatever it is your group decides to do, Nicky (or her sidekick Andrew, they work in 24 hour shifts) facilitates making it the best experience possible. Both Nicky and Andrew are discreet and friendly, in fact a more fitting job title than butler would be ‘enabler’.

Four of us took the train up from Sydney recently and are picked up from the railway station by Nicky; with nine children between us, we are in need of a break.  Nicky quickly settles us into the large four-bed room on the first floor where we discover a welcome package of body lotions and chocolate. One side of this room looks down onto the Jamison Valley the other directly into the luminous green leaves of a giant oak. We head downstairs to settle into the deep comfortable armchairs in the conservatory for a bit of relaxation, aided by cups of tea and a selection of gourmet cookies. Although the house was built 1890s, it’s had sympathetic additions by Derek Russell of Delbuild; an architect who happens to be Nicky’s father. The conservatory is just that kind of light-filled room you keep being drawn back to.

Soon after, we take a five-minute walk into Katoomba to pick up some finger food for dinner, returning laden with goodies. Nicky arranges it beautifully and serves it to us before asking each of us to nominate what newspapers we’d like the next morning and which facial or massage we’d prefer the next day; all part of the BMGG package. We hit our beds early, talking well into the night, marvelling at how relaxed an evening can be when you don’t have to pick up after others, wash up and get prepared for the next day.

The following morning we are shown to the dining room where a table is laid with local produce; Nicky loves to champion local producers and included in the spread are Blue M Food Co jams and chutneys, Logan Brae apple juice, Whisk & Pin muesli and various fresh pastries. We are then shown the menu, which Andrew (our relief butler) will cook up. I can’t resist the avocado and bacon on sourdough with poached egg; the others go for a tomato, mushroom and fetta omelette and scrambled eggs. Yes, there’s a coffee machine and the lattes are café quality. We read the papers and eat our fill then linger… and linger… and linger, chatting and talking like we haven’t in years. We then each have an incredibly relaxing massages and facials in the treatment room while those who aren’t simply continue their tea sipping and reading in the conservatory.

Having utterly slowed down, we stroll into Katoomba, browsing the antique shops and having a wonderful railway ride down to the floor of the Jamison Valley at Scenic World - at a 52-degree incline, the steepest passenger railway in the world. On the way home we stop at The Carrington for an afternoon cocktail, very pleased with our selection of Blue Mountains experiences. I’ll be honest though, we were booked in for dinner at a local eatery but on the way back to the house, we decide to cancel. The thought of more downtime at the Lavender Majestic is too alluring. Nicky had said she finds the house itself a nurturing space and I think she’s right. Perhaps it’s a quality of sandstone or just simply that the house is given over to nurture, but there is a pervasive atmosphere of contentment and calm. After dinner, we decide to have a dip in the outdoor spa and then start singing our favourite 80s tunes (out loud, eyes closed, almost hitting the high notes and not caring one jot). In the chilled air, with fairy lights illuminating the garden, it’s magic. Andrew laughs and smiles through it all, before delivering our warmed fluffy dressing gowns as we get out of the water. He then kindly lights a fire for us, so we can watch a movie in comfort, before we retire to our fully tidied, curtains drawn, turned-down bedroom to read and natter some more.

After another delicious breakfast, all too fast, it’s time to leave. Andrew sees us off with a care package of leftover snacks, thoughtfully wrapped for our train journey home. Arriving back at Katoomba station after just a day and a half at Lavender Majestic we feel like different people. We’re content to be quiet, and are looking forward to resuming our lives and enjoying our children. The Lavender Majestic is the kind of place and BMGG the kind of experience that mothers, brides looking for a hen’s night venue, old friends from across the country meeting for a reunion or those celebrating a milestone anniversary dream of. It’s a truly restorative getaway that’ll leave every visitor with beautiful memories, closer friendships and perhaps a better perspective on what truly matters in life. 

Blue Mountains Girls Getaway; or call Nicky on 0412 884061.

Vanessa and her friends stayed courtesy of Blue Mountains Girls Getaways

Lavender Majestic Reviews

  • "It was just amazing and all of us had the time of our lives and we are already planning next year's!" - Jess, Lavender Majestic, April 2016
  • "...The Lavender Majestic is the kind of place and BMGG the kind of experience that mothers, brides looking for a hen’s night venue, old friends from across the country meeting for a reunion or those celebrating a milestone anniversary dream of. It’s a truly restorative getaway that’ll leave every visitor with beautiful memories, closer friendships and perhaps a better perspective on what truly matters in life." - Australian House & Garden, March 2015
  • "The complete indulgence of the Lavender Majestic—from its massages and facials to its bubbling spa, wide sun-dappled deck, and luxuriously comfortable beds—is one fond memory that you will linger over for years to come." - Business Director, December/January 2014
  • "That’s the beauty of this holiday house – you have the space and privacy to do what you want like a typical holiday home, but with the benefit of a host that prepares food, cleans dishes and leaves sweet treats to make the stay that extra bit special." - Australian Traveller, November 2013
  • "Sydneysiders have loved the mountain spa pleasures of the Blue Mountains for well over 100 years. Thoughts turn to warm fires, great company and indulgent pastimes, and that is exactly what Nicky Vaux offers with her stunning range of accommodation options and activity packages..." - Beautiful Accomodation Website, November 2011
  • "Dear Nicki, What a fabulous place...thank you for your warm welcome and superb hospitality, the weekend was beyond our expectations from the moment you greeted us to the day we departed. Your home is so full of warmth..coupled with every detail, thank you again, look forward to returning" - Josephine
  • "Our stay was one of pure bliss. Nicky ensured all our needs we met, and provided excellent service and hospitality during our stay. The home was welcoming, warm and it was the personal, thoughtful touches that made our stay. The house is spectacular and definitely worth a visit. Lavender Majestic is an amazing place to stay." - MonicaMAustralia on Tripadvisor Oct 2013
  • "The greatest benefit of Lavender Majestic is that someone is employed to make this gorgeous house clean, warm and cosy during your stay." - Tripadvisor May 2012
  • "Lavender Majestic was a total luxurious, pampered weekend - if you don't want to lift a finger and feel like a princess then this is the place to stay. The hostess was the most wonderful, warm and welcoming person anyone could wish for. The house was of sheer elegance but had a very homely welcoming way about it." - Tripadvisor Feb 2012
  • "I can't speak highly enough of Lavender Blue Mountains or our absolutely gorgeous host Nicky. We had a fantastic time and will definitely be heading back again. Rarely can you find a place that caters to so many different and unique experiences. The best way to describe it is as your holiday home that has a caretaker 365 days a year!" - Renee D on Tripadvisor Nov 2011
  • "Thank you Nicki, a perfect weekend from the smiling welcome to the turned down beds and chocolates and everything in between" - Judi
  • "What a wonderful house for a Girls Getaway - we had the best time - Total relax, will be back sooner rather than later" - Kathy
  • "Fabulous weekend thanks for all the little extras" - Robyn
  • "Dear Nicky Many thanks for a very memorable weekend. This concept is superb for all busy working Mums and I feel truly relaxed after a few days of pampering. Refreshed and ready to take on the world again" - Nicki
  • "Dear Nicki Fabulous house, wonderful welcome and super pampering. Loved the extras too (and the heated bathroom floor!)" - Jenni
  • "Thank you Nicki for a wonderful relaxing enjoyable stay. Thoroughly recommend it!" - Judy
  • "Thanks Nicki for a great stay, the house is beautiful, your service with a smile, the great breakfast ALL was great. See you next year" - Gillian
  • "Your home is very beautiful, it's lovely to be pampered in such stunning surrounds. Thanks for your kind attention I really enjoyed myself Ta" - Lynne
  • Thank you Nicki, we had a great time and you made it very special for us all - Beautiful ! Thank you so much for spoiling us" - Karen
  • "Everything we needed or wanted for our Girls Weekend was here. Thank you for creating such an indulgent and relaxing weekend. In fact we couldn't have relaxed harder if we tried! Warm fuzzies from Penny, Pieta, Kylie, Carin, Rowe and Dani" Sept 2013
  • "2012 great time had and now 2013 another wonderful experience at Lavender Majestic. Thank you for spoiling us Love Jodie x" July 2013
  • "This place is truly wonderful, had the most relaxing and happy place. The perfect weekend away thanks!" Chris 2013
  • "What a perfect weekend, thanks you guys. Truly magical :) thank you. Ifrat PS I'll be back!" 2013
  • "Thank you Lavender Majestic for making our Girls Getaway so relaxing and stress free. We had a beautiful weekend and will treasure the memories for a lifetime" Leanne 2013
  • "What a wonderful weekend. Felt very special - beautiful luxurious home full of character. Thank you" Sue 2012
  • "How will we go back to real life after all this luxury and bliss ! Thank you so much for a fabulous weekend" Nic 2012
  • "Such a wonderful 24hrs of luxury and pampering - we feel like princesses ! Thank you so much for spoiling us so well" Nic 2012

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