Melissa Hoyer experiences bush luxury

Spicers Sangoma Retreat.

By Melissa Hoyer, Channel Seven “Sunrise” commentator

There’s something truly wonderful about getting away from our ‘usual’ weekend lives and stepping into the beauty of the unknown. Well, not quite the ‘unknown’, but to an exquisite mountain escape that does, quite literally leave you refreshed, relaxed and treated so beautifully.

All of the above happened when a girlfriend and I spent a weekend at Bowen Mountain (that’s the mountain Spicers Retreats’ Sangoma Retreat is cocooned by).

In two nights we managed to completely abandon the stresses of everyday work and city life, and find serenity _ and so much more.

Sangoma, which by the way means healer in Zulu, is serious bush luxury. The eco-certified retreat has everything you desire and is located at the foothills of the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales.

It took us just over an hour to drive from Sydney’s CBD, but it took only a few minutes minutes to collapse into the relaxed luxury that Sangoma offers.

As soon as we arrived we were greeted by the divine General Manager, John, and told about our luxury ‘bush’ suite. But before discovering it, we had a little stopover in the cosy open plan lounge, complete with fireplace, a glass of chilled champagne, and a picture-perfect view of the multi-coloured cascading Blue Mountains.

Breathe Deeply. Relax. I was already in the zone.

On a clear day you can see a fine outline of Sydney – way, way, in the distance – but not close enough to think ‘aah, I’m In the city’. It was very liberating.

What I loved about Sangoma was the relaxed sanctuary that has been created. Every designer detail suits the setting, from the soft, cozy leather lounges that swallow you up; the artwork; the wood detailing; to the colour palette and the books. So, so many books that you will never run out of choices.

The emphasis on the interiors is definitely on combining nature and harmony with each of the suites having their own personality and all opening out onto exquisite private mountain bushland.

There is one suite – the Tent Suite – a hugely but perfectly proportioned one (like all of them) that even features an internal tent, so you can make like you are seriously glamping . . . but with the benefits of a 5-star retreat.

Sangoma’s attentive staff take care of everything for guests.

All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are served in the most divine dining area and as there are just eight suites, it is never over-crowded.

What is served up to us was sensational – organic, fresh and different four set course meals each night. The meal plan also changes every day. Everything is included in the price – unless you choose premium wines – so there is no hassling over what to order.

You can have an aperitif under the stars or near the pool in the summer or do the same in front of the lounge fireplace on colder nights. Which, in autumn and winter, is a natural attraction.

If you want, you can also just simply laze in your room, listen to the birds, smell the real scent of nature and eat the meals in the privacy of your own room. Your wish is Sangoma’s command.

Not long after we arrived, GM John took us on a tour to see the beautiful raw Avoca Vale Lookout, complete with a cane picnic basket of cheese and champagne. Very stylish indeed as we looked over this brilliant basin of mind-blowing bushland and breathed in the freshest of air. Bliss!

Later on the Saturday afternoon, the spa came a-calling, and both my girlfriend and I indulged in a seriously soothing massage. It was hard enough, soft enough and just perfect. It was as if the therapist understood my body. We both came out of our treatment blissfully serene.

In fact, while massages can often make you want to go straight to bed, this one re-invigorated us and we were we’re ready to take on even more extraordinary food that night at dinner. Whether fish, pork, sirloin, whatever, every dish was a pleasure to the senses,

I found Sangoma can be a number of things to anyone – a romantic retreat; a great weekend away with a great girlfriend or just a brilliant way to breathe in some fresh air and take some time just to ‘be’.

The service, food and suites are absolutely beautiful, beyond comfortable and when you do leave, you have that aching feeling that you really don’t want too.

I’m sure I arrived home with my jeans just a little tighter, but hey, who cares when you’ve been treated like a queen for 48 hours.

The thought of heading back to the big smoke wasn’t on top of our minds, but the trip home was a memorable one as we reminisced about spending two days of total ‘me’ time.

I’d be back there in a flash!

Melissa Hoyer stayed as a guest of Spicers Retreats. She is a lifestyle, travel and style writer, Editor at Large, speaker, MC and social media strategist.