Taste of Salt evokes a pool of mem­o­ries

Tod­dler tantrums aside, north­ern NSW is a great spot to re­lax, writes Re­nae Robin­son

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - Short Break Kingscliff -

THE last time I went to Kingscliff, I stayed in a mo­tel, across the road from the beach, with a swim­ming pool in the front yard. To my sis­ter and I, it was lux­ury.

My 14-year-old self, then, could not have imag­ined the com­forts of Pep­pers Bale Salt, one of a suite of Mantra Group prop­er­ties clus­tered in a fancy devel­op­ment on the coast just south of Kingscliff proper.

And my al­most-two-year-old daugh­ter – who chose that week­end to en­ter the tantrum stage – had, well, not seen any­thing like it in her life.

From re­fresh­ing cold tow­els and sweet minted fizzy drinks (her first) on ar­rival, to a take-home scented can­dle in the room and cheese and an­tipasto plat­ter wait­ing in the fridge, to the pil­low menu, heated swim­ming pool, choice of nine nearby restau­rants, walk­ing and bik­ing tracks, chil­dren’s play­grounds, su­per­mar­ket, surf club and the pa­trolled Salt Beach, it was cer­tainly a step up – and each in­duced tantrums upon any at­tempt to leave.

And yet, as I drove into Kingscliff, I was pleased to see a mo­tel and old-style hol­i­day apart­ments and very pleased in­deed to see not one but two car­a­van parks right on the beach, as was the bowls club, ad­ver­tis­ing bingo on Mon­days and Fri­days. A lit­tle fur­ther along the coast, where the homes start to re­sem­ble a McMan­sion hous­ing es­tate, we en­tered the Mantra em­brace.

One of the high­lights is the Golden Door spa, with its ex­ten­sive menu of in­dul­gence.

I opted for a hot-stone mas­sage – the best mas­sage I have had. But don’t be late, as I was, or you’ll miss out on the lounge and com­pli­men­tary steam and spa. And the staff clearly dis­ap­prove. I en­listed the help of a lo­cal friend to act as babysit­ter, but sit­ters can be ar­ranged through the re­sort.

Al­though it’s not a fam­ily-style re­sort, my tod­dler was treated with great kind­ness by the el­e­gant host, man­ager Ibrahim Saad.

The house­keep­ing staff and those in the in-house Sea­son res­tau­rant were also brim­ming with gen­eros­ity to­wards small peo­ple.

At Sea­son, the new­est eatery at the re­sort, the spring goat loin with gnoc­chi and veg­eta­bles and red­cur­rant jus was de­li­cious but the chicken and veg­eta­bles from the chil­dren’s menu did not go down well with Miss Al­most Two, who was con­soled with a packet of crayons by quick-think­ing – al­though per­haps not far-sighted – wait­staff. She pro­ceeded to draw on ev­ery­thing but the paper pro­vided.

She proved a bet­ter cus­tomer the fol­low­ing morn­ing at the buf­fet break­fast, where the streams of peo­ple kept her en­ter­tained, al­though there was some wait for a high chair.

Saad sug­gested a break­fast bas­ket be de­liv­ered to our room the fol­low­ing morn­ing. Don’t be vague about what you would like to eat if you want to avoid some se­ri­ous overindul­gence – we re­ceived two

LAP OF LUX­URY: Bangalow’s main street (above) and a suite at Pep­pers Bale Salt (right).

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