Taste of Salt evokes a pool of memories
Toddler tantrums aside, northern NSW is a great spot to relax, writes Renae Robinson
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).