On the edge of the beautiful Jamison Valley in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, the Fairmont Resort & Spa is one of the best places to get away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney and enjoy the magical peace and quiet of this picturesque area.
While the Blue Mountains is well-known for being a great place to visit in winter so you can experience the cosy warmth of the open fire and the stunning mountain views, it’s still an amazing place to get away from everything during the warmer months. Because the Fairmont Resort & Spa has so many outdoor facilities, it means you can enjoy a stay here in the warmer weather and keep your fitness up at the same time. Plus, being located in Leura has a lot of side benefits because this has to be one of the most charming upper-mountains villages you’ll find.
It was on a warm-ish weekend in October when I drove the 90 minutes from Sydney to the Fairmont Resort & Spa to enjoy a weekend of fresh mountain air and delicious, chef-cooked food. Instead of the sparkling, warm spring weather I envisioned, it was foggy and rainy most of the weekend, but somehow it was all still very enjoyable.
When we arrived, a porter came out and helped us with our bags and we bundled ourselves into a warm double room with views of the valley. In a bid to beat the rain, we raced down to reception, grabbed some tennis racquets and hit the courts.
Next, we went to the arcade where my son played on the video game machines. We had to pay for tokens to play but it was nice to be able to play these games without a crowd of other people around us.
After that, we raced back to our rooms, grabbed our swimming gear and hit the indoor pool. The water was a nice temperature and I noticed it didn’t have that chlorine smell that many indoor pools can have. There’s room for those who want to do a few laps and for the younger ones who want to play around, so this was a great way to spend an hour or so.
Has COVID affected a luxurious weekend away?
There are quite a few changes to a nice weekend away – because of the new COVID regulations which resorts need to follow. Of course, it’s best for everyone that these COVID-safe practices are practiced but if you’re not prepared for the changes, it can get quite annoying. For any indoor activity at the resort, we had to check in with hotel staff and fill in all the information on our phone and submit it. This can get time consuming on a busy weekend and there are often queues but the Fairmont did have enough staff to cover it most times.
The restaurants within the resort have to be particularly strict and unless you book ahead, you’re simply told where to go for each meal. So if you want to eat your dinner in the iconic, main restaurant of the Fairmont which overlooks the Jamison valley, with tables positioned around the fireplace, then you’ll need to book ahead. Because of COVID, this particular restaurant can only seat half as many people as usual and so it gets booked out quickly.
We were told we had to eat our first evening meal in the adjoining restaurant. The views here were nearly as good but for our dessert, I asked could we move to the main restaurant and the waiter was able to organise this for us. So if you care about which restaurant you eat in, book ahead!
There are other small but irritating ways in which COVID creeps in to your stay. We couldn’t find our bath robes in our room when we decided to go for a swim at the pool. We went down to the pool and enjoyed our swim anyway. One of the hotel staff saw we had no robes and she asked for our room number and rang reception so they could drop some in to us. This was very nice of her but the regulations are now that unless robes are specifically asked for, they’re no longer supplied.
As well, after our swim we went back to our room to have a cup of tea and we could only find paper cups in the cupboard next to the fridge. A cup of tea never tastes the same out of a paper cup so I rang reception and they brought a couple of cups up but if you don’t ask, the standard now is paper cups!
These small things are only niggling but they can add up. The first morning it was a shock to go down to breakfast and realise that luxurious smorgasbord breakfasts are now a thing of the past! The friendly staff provided us with a fruit platter and gave us a menu to order from but this is still something we all have to get used to. Remember the days when you could wander down the aisle, looking to see what other delicious morsel you might add to your plate? Well, those days are gone for a while but the food is still delicious.
It’s obvious the Fairmont is not to blame for these changes in operation and while they can be annoying, these changes are necessary right now and if you’re prepared for them, it will be that much easier. It is reassuring to know the Fairmont is taking all the right precautions for COVID and here’s a list below of the extra procedures they’ve added to ensure everyone stays safe.
Steps the Fairmont Resort & Spa is taking to make sure you stay is safe
- All linens are sanitised in high-temperature wash
- Face masks required for staff in public areas
- Floors marked for social distancing
- Hand sanitiser available to guests and staff in all public places
- Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
- Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
What else can you do when you’re at the Fairmonnt Resort & Spa?
The Fairmont Resort & Spa has a huge range of leisure facilities suitable for both adults and children. For young people, there’s a train, a garden maze, climbing adventures, pony rides, merry-go-round – the list goes on. For adults, there are these and many more including the Ubika Spa facility which offers massage and other therapies.
Because of COVID-19, there are a few of these facilities which are closed and these include the spa and sauna. But the library and billiard room, golf course, tennis courts, basketball court and boutique shop are all open now.
What was the weekend like overall?
We found the Fairmont’s
staff were helpful and friendly at all times. Our waiters were especially friendly and helped us with any special requests we had. Our room had two big queen beds in it which was more than enough for two people so no problems there. The bathroom had a bit of a 70s feel to it with the shower in the bath so if you want something a bit more luxurious, ask about what else is available.
The wide-screen TV was great but there was no HDMI cable supplied so we weren’t able to stream content from our own devices. This would be a helpful addition because everyone wants to watch their own shows these days. The wi fi was good and it’s free if you’re an Accor Hotel member.
Be prepared for ‘four seasons in one day’ at the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains tend to get a wider range of weather conditions so be prepared for ‘four seasons in one day.’ We had foggy, rainy weather the second day of our stay but despite this, we had a great time. Because the resort is in Leura, when it started raining, we decided to check out the local village shops and they were a treat! We enjoyed an amazing home-cooked lunch at one of the local cafes and explored some unusual shops, finding some treasures and trinkets to take home.
While there are walks you can do right from the resort itself, because it was rainy, we decided to do a walk up near Blackheath which was more protected from the rain. The views were still foggy but the air was fresh and clean and it was just exhilarating to get out and about.
Fine dining at its best
In the evenings, we dined at the Fairmont’s restaurant and the food was outstanding. This was fine dining at its best and we enjoyed every minute of it. Our breakfast was included and it was great as well. Of course, we missed the smorgasbord but that’s life right now.
So if you’re wanting to get away from Sydney for some clean air, exercise and a dramatic change of scenery, this could be your solution. We had a lovely break and enjoyed our stay. This is a very family friendly hotel but at the same time, you can find your own place of solitude and have some time to yourself.
COVID-19 regulations are changing all the time so you can check what facilities and services at the Fairmont Resort & Spa are open by clicking here.
(The writer of this review of the Fairmont Resort & Spa stayed at her own cost.)