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“Since opening in 2005, Gaia Retreat & Spa has won more than enough accolades to establish itself as Austalia’s leading & most renowned boutique lifestyle retreat.”

The View From the Bottom Of The Hill

The Gaia Retreat & Spa journey begins with an easy 30 minute drive north from Ballina airport or a half-hour drive south from the world renowned Byron Bay. The retreat (click here) is nestled just a stone’s throw off one of the endless winding roads of the breathtaking Bundjalung Country hinterland, on quite possibly the most gorgeous 25 country acres in Australia.

We flew in early to Ballina at around 8:30 in the morning after waiting for the bags and hiring a car (a must if you intend to get around). As we were checking in at 2 we decided to drive past the retreat and go on straight to some quick sight-seeing so we began the very lovely trip up the highway towards Byron Bay.

After attempting to capture some Instagram worthy photos we decided to try our luck for an early check-in. So back we went to Gaia but this time we decided to go the scenic route; a lovely drive through sprawling hills, luscious greenery and historic towns.

Check’n In

It is hard to describe the feeling that you get from the moment entering this absolutely beautiful property, it’s not something you can really pin point, there is this serene energy that sweeps over the entire 25 acres. As the car pulls up and you step out and see the magnificent view of rolling hills, the farms, the uninterrupted blue sky and the greener than green lawns from the retreats’ clearing, you really have a bit of a pinch me moment. (The photos do not do it justice to how beautiful this place really is)

The View From The Top Of The Hill
Gaia

Getting to the reception you need to walk down a brick path through overhanging tropical trees and ferns of all varieties to an oversized wooden door with different ornaments to either side.

Gaia's Front Door

The reception is lofty with lots of different orange and gold hues and many, many different seating options that continue out onto an outdoor verandah. The entire setting has a very balinese feel to it. (note the reception is now undergoing a major revamp thanks to hail damage it attained in late 2017 and will be closed from Monday 12th March for a month or so).

Inside Kukura House

After a brief check-in we went and grabbed our bags back from the car and wheeled them down to our room. For us this was quite easy, but for an elderly person or someone who’s packed a lot, this might be a little difficult. I’m sure though if you asked one of the staff they would gladly help.

The Room

Komala Villa 3

We stayed in the new Komala Villas. It was a spacious split-level one bedroom suite. The upper level consisted of a very generous bathroom with double shower and double vanity on the left, a central king size bed and a seperate gorgeous free standing bath on the right.

The bottom level was made up of a lounge area and kitchenette inside, while the outdoor living area had a large deck, day bed & saltwater plunge pool that faced the north-east of the property (perfect for early morning dips).

Food & Beverage

Well where do I start. If I had to describe the food that was presented to us in just three words, Divine would be the first thing that springs to mind, Delicious would be the second and Nutritious would come in equally second.

Gaia Organics

In every dish there is a huge emphasis on fresh, seasonal & local produce. The meals I had were literally garden to plate type of meals ( I’m happy to say I actually picked the radishes that were used on one of the nights from the veggie garden). Every meal we ate were balanced, light, colourful and beautifully presented and so so fresh.

A bit of a quirky point of difference that the Gaia Spa & Retreat offers is that there is no set menu or menu at all for that matter. Each meal is inspired by the seasonal produce and tailored around everyones specific dietary requirements that is gathered at check in. The team lead by Chef Dan accomodate and tailor each meal around every type of diet you could think of; Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Pescatarian, FODMAP are all catered for.

Chef Dan & I

We ate breakfast and dinner here both days and could not fault anything that came before us. Check out the visual deliciousness to see what we ate.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana
Pear Frangipani Tart

Every week Chef Dan also holds a cooking class which I highly recommend. It’s a great way to learn, watch and discover new flavours to eat.

Pool & Gym

Our room (Komala Villa) had it’s own plunge pool so we didn’t venture down to the main one which is located at the Day Spa.

The retreat also has a million different activities to do (tennis, meditation, yoga, gym, boxing, tai chi to name a few) but once again we ran out of time to participate. Everything is optional, so how much or how little you do is up to you, it’s your retreat, your experience.

Yoga & Meditation

Day Spa

In addition to winning the worlds leading retreat in 2016 & 2017, Gaia has also won the worlds best day spa three years running, so coming here you would expect a world class treatment and to put it very simply that’s what I got.

Talking purely about the treatment both myself and my partner received (his was a deep tissue massage & mine was the Gaia Deluxe) they were one of the best, if not the best massages we ever had.

Gaia Spa & Wellness

Yet another reason to fall in love with Gaia Retreat is their organic skincare range Retreatment. Full of incredibly powerful ingredients and essential oils to help nourish and rehydrate your skin. It’s just another little something that adds that little extra class to Gaia Spa.

Pros:

  • Some of the friendliest staff I have come across in my travels
  • Food was amazing
  • The massage I had was amazing
  • Breathtaking view
  • Very relaxing

Cons:

  • If I was really picky… actually nope I don’t have one
Maybe One Of The Best Views In Australia

Overall:

The incredible energy that radiates from the grounds of Gaia Retreat & Spa transcends you to a place of pure bliss. From the friendly, hospitable staff to the nourishing food and the exquisite views, your stay will be unforgettable.

Gaia Retreat & Spa
933 Fernleigh Rd, Brooklet NSW 2479
02 6687 1216

Kx
Disclaimer: My stay at the Gaia Retreat & Spa was provided complimentary for a review on the Krumbled website. All opinions/views or thoughts are not influenced and are my own.
Have you stayed at Gaia Retreat & Spa before? Have you treated yourself to the Gaia Day Spa? If you have any experiences or questions please feel free to drop me a line below!!!

“Most Sydney-siders wouldn’t be familiar with the Primus Hotel. Soo without further ado I will introduce you to this (not so little) hidden gem.”

Primus Hotel Sydney

The unassuming entrance of the Primus Hotel (click here) is located at 339 Pitt Street. Originally home to Sydney’s Water Board HQ. Undergoing a complete restoration, this 1930’s heritage building has had a breath of fresh life put into it. Showcasing the 1930’s art deco era at its best.

In 2008, the Water Board relocated and the two year restoration commeneced. This massive task was undertaken by Chinese hoteliers Greenland International Hotel Group or (GIHG) and architect design firm Woods Bagot.

Check’n In

The Lobby At The Primus

As we pulled up, we were a little confused what to do with parking. The bell boy had gone inside with other guests just before, so we were left on the busy path trying to get our bags out. 

Hoping the car would be alright we walked in through the discreet frontage (and to my surprise a rather expansive check in area). A different bell boy was quick to attend to our bags and grab the car.

The lobby features eight original scagliola columns. The restoration of these eight-metre-high pillars has been a feat on its own. (There are only two men in the world that have the artisanal skills to complete such a job). The striking ruby red columns beamed above the marble floors, finished off with the glass brick atrium ceiling.

The Room

There are 172 rooms at the Primus. All rooms feature a dark masculine decor, from the carpet to the oak cabinetry. Breaking up the dark tones are subtle gold geometric trimming, plush pillows and lush robes.

We were in the deluxe suite, and as the name suggests it was spacious and accommodating for those needing a little extra space, ideal for business travellers.  

The bathroom was extra spacious with seperate bath, extra large shower and double marble vanity (that had insanely good lighting).

Dual Marble Basins

The art deco theme is carried throughout but reversed, with elegant white “brick like” tiles contrasted by black tapware and finished off with amenities by Appelles.

Appelles

Food & Beverage

For me, I had a bit of a hit and miss in terms of food (in room dining that is). The first day I checked in I was ravenous so immediately went straight for the in room dining menu. I opted for the fish of the day (which was barramundi), it was fresh and cooked well, accompanied by broccolini and fries.

The Barramundi

The second day, we wanted to suss out the ‘cheat meal’ options, and ordered the Wagyu burgers and fried chicken. For me, this meal was inedible. The burgers were not waygu, there were two fillets on top of each other and felt as if it had been pre cooked and the texture was off. The fried chicken was bland and cold and very grey.

Pool & Gym

Level 7

One of the hotels biggest draw cards would have to be Level 7. Once a test rifle range during the Second World War, it has been completely revolutionized to be an exclusive rooftop pool and bar. Fitted with blue and white striped lounges, being quite literally an oasis in the middle of the city, with drinks on hand and in the warmer months being absolutely sun drenched.

There is an outdoor pool located on Level 7, and is heated for those wanting to have a dip during Sydney’s cooler months.

The gym is quite small and underwhelming, but does the job.

On Level 7

Pros:

  • Glamorous art deco décor
  • Level 7, perfect for a cheeky afternoon drink and dip
  • Extremely spacious
  • Prime city location

Cons:

  • In room dining was a little off, I would opt for one of the many great nearby restaurants (or via ubereats etc)
  • Valet parking is an option, however quite pricey

We checked in early, and it must not have registered to other staff, as I had not 1, not 2 but 3 staff members come in after one knock to do quality checks and mini bar checks. Being all the way in the bathroom, they entered far too quickly!

At The Level 7 Bar

Overall:

The Primus Hotel is a surprisingly gracious hotel, with so much to offer. We will definitely be back for another staycation!

Primus Hotel
339 Pitt Street, Sydney, 2000
+612 8027 8000

Kx
Disclaimer: My stay at the Primus Hotel was free of charge. All opinions/thoughts are my own.
How good is the location! If you have stayed at the Primus before and think I have left something out or have a question, drop us a line below!!

“The Olsen has made a name for itself as a hot spot for celebrities and athletes”

The Olsen

Perched above Melbourne’s prestigious Chapel Street, the Art Series’ trendy 229 room boutique hotel The Olsen (click here) has made a name for itself as a hot spot for celebrities and athletes. The hotel offers chic accommodation, drawing inspiration from renowned Australian artist John Olsen. The refined charm of Olsen’s artwork throughout the hotel balances the energy and charisma of Chapel Street seamlessly.

The Olsen hotel is located in the heart of South Yarra on Chapel Street. A swift 30minute cab ride from the airport, The Olsen is in the midst of one of Melbourne’s main tourist destinations with a myriad of cafes, restaurants and shops at its doorstep.

Front & Centre At The Olsen

The Room

We stayed in the ‘Deluxe Studio Suite on the 7th floor’. Our North facing room overlooked the thriving hustle and bustle of Chapel Street. The neutral and earthy tones of the room were highlighted by the abundance of natural light that is let in by the oversized window, giving the room that ‘very comfortable, home away from home’ feel about it.

The room area itself was quite cleverly thought-out, with floor to ceiling mirrored walls and wall-hung plasmas that free up a lot of ‘leg room’.

The room also boats a lounge area, a fully equipped kitchenette with quartz bench tops and a semi private bathroom, which is separated by a screen-printed glass mural.

The Bathroom At The Olsen

Food & Beverage

Being located on Chapel St the hotel has an abundance of dining options at its’ doorstep. Spoonbill is on the ground floor next to the lobby while Two Wrongs (click here) & Smäk (click here) are around the corner.

Pool & Gym

The pool area is situated on the first floor; the pools deep blue mosaic tiles, sandstone pavers, lounges and deck chairs give a somewhat ‘European’ feel to it. The pool is half undercover while the other half hangs off the side of the building, with glass flooring that allows you to see pedestrians walking underneath while floating above them, which is something different.

At one end there is a spiralling staircase that leads up to 2nd level to another lounge area. Honestly the 2nd level is a little lack lustre but on a sunny day you can certainly unwind on one of the oversized sofas/lounges. There is also an oversized novelty chessboard that makes the area a little more playful.

The gym isn’t anything flash, it’s a stock standard hotel gym with a few running machines, bikes and free weights up to 20kgs.

Then Overhanging Pool
Semi Open Pool

Pros:

  • Beautiful Art
  • Stylish
  • Pool Area
  • Location
  • Spacious Rooms
  • Very Accommodating Staff
  • Hotel Restaurants

Cons:

  • Air Con Needed Repair*
  • No iron in room (there normally is)

The air con was working at about 50% when we got to the room, I brought this to the attention to the concierge on our way out to dinner on the first night. Someone came up to fix it and when we got back to the room, the room was nice and toasty but after waking up the next morning there was a slight layer of dust on the glass table, so I think it was due for a service.

Overall:

The Olsen brings a touch of class and finesse to Chapel Street, the location is central to everywhere and I would definitely stay here again.

The Olsen
637-641 Chapel St,
South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9040 1222

Kx
Disclaimer: My stay at The Olsen was provided complimentary from the art series hotel group in exchange for a review on the Krumbled website. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Have you stayed at The Olsen before? What’s your favourite hotel in the Art Series Chain? Leave any questions or comments below.

“My night at one of Sydney’s Dog Friendly Hotels, Pier One was fantastic”

Our humans decided for Christmas to spoil us with a night out on the town at Sydney’s dog friendly hotel Pier One (click here) to relax from a very stressful 2017 and let me tell you, it was paaaawfect!

The day started out waiting for our masters to finish work (like usual) we then made the leisurely trip into the city were we got to look and growl at everything. We parked at the rocks and had a lovely walk around and under the harbour bridge where we had to stop by every 2nd person to get patted and pampered…. naturally 🙂

Hang’n at the ‘The Dogue’

From here we made our move to the hotel room for some R & R. We stayed in Pier One’s ‘DOGUE’ room, which was sooo nice. They really looked after us. We got our own separate beds, squeaky toys, more jerky than we could ask for and a couple of relaxing Neem Miracle sandalwood misters. We were in heaven.
We checked in around 4pm, and the music downstairs at the bar was already pumping and the mood was very festive. We ordered room service from The Kerrigan and indulged in some brisket and pork ribs. After all the festivities and food we were exhausted, one more brisk walk so we could do our business and that was us for the night.

We woke up so early because we were so excited to explore the hotel some more. Our humans took us quickly downstairs so we could do our morning business, then it was back up to the room for some more pampering. We got to run around and play with our new toys some more then it was time for us to hit the town and get some puppychinos.

On our way down to get our breakfast we tried to convince our humans to take us for a bike ride, but they needed to get to work. So we had a quick run around again, said hello to some friendly people unpacking some trucks with what looked like bacon. We then helped pack the car (full of all of our new toys thanks to Pier One) and headed home.

Thank you Pier One for making us feel so special and VIP, we can’t wait to visit again!

Smooches xx

Herc & Hector (woooof)

Where to stay in Australia

“Overlooking Sydney’s glorious Circular Quay and Harbour, The Pullman Quay Grand offers spacious and refined accommodation in arguably one of Sydney’s most sought after locations”.

Boasting neighbours like the Opera House, The Rocks, The Botanical Gardens and within moments of Circular Quay’s ferries and train station, The Pullman Quay Grand (click here) is the envy of most of the hotels in Sydney.

Out Front Of The Pullman Quay Grand

Check’n In

Entering either from Macquarie Street or from the walkway below, the lobby is understated and simple with the friendly staff greeting you as you come and go. Rebadged under the Pullman brand in 2012, the hotel has become one of Circular Quay’s five-star hotels.

The team also prepared a bottle of champagne on arrival which was quite unexpected but was lovely nonetheless 🙂

Veuve & Clicquot Was A Nice Surprise

The Room

With 68 spacious one and two bedroom suites, the rooms feel slightly more like an apartment than a hotel. We were in the One Bedroom Harbour Suite that boasted a fully equipped kitchen, living room and dining area, laundry, large bathroom with spa tub and balcony looking straight out onto the glorious Sydney Harbour.

More Like An Apartment Then A Hotel Room

While the décor itself is quite simple and somewhat basic, the overall feel of the suite was elegant and understated. The kitchen in particular is what suggests that the suite is an ideal choice for longer stays or families, with its’ marble bench tops, oven, stove top and all the cooking equipment needed.

Food &  Beverage

The Pullman has 24 hr room service and is home to Quay Dining and Hacienda.

Breakfast Spread At The Pullman Quay

You can read more about Hacienda here and more about Quay Dining here.

The View From Hacienda Is Great For Afternoon Drinks
Charcuterie At Quay Dining

Pool & Gym

The Pullman Quay Grand ticks all the amenities boxes with its’ indoor heated pool, sun deck, spa, sauna and gym.

The Sauna

Overall

The Pullman Quay Grand is a great hotel, being central to everywhere in the city and having some of the best views of Sydney Harbour has to offer.

Pullman Quay Grand
61 Macquarie St,
Sydney NSW 2000
+612 9256 4000

Kx
Have you stayed at the Pullman Quay Grand before? What did you think of the view? Leave any questions or comments below.
Disclaimer: My stay at The Pullman Quay Grand was provided complimentary for a review on the Krumbled website. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

“The iconic and historic 100-year-old Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo has been yet again transformed. This time into the quintessential The Ovolo Hotel”

The View

The iconic and historic 100-year-old Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo has been yet again transformed. This time into a tantalizing and quintessential hotel The Ovolo. Part of the Ovolo Hotel group (click here), the all inclusive hotel focuses on giving back to its customers in a playful (yet seductive) and up-market way.

Located on the fringe of Sydney’s CBD and amongst some of the city’s busiest restaurants and cafes, the once wool exporting hub (for most of the 20th Century) is now home to one of Sydney’s newest and exciting hotels.

Quirky At The Ovolo

Check’n In:

Unlike its historic teal trimmed Edwardian façade, the interior of the hotel represents a more futuristic and playful vision, with it’s sassy artwork, bright neon lights and charismatic charm. Walking up the stairs into the foyer, the mesmerising 86kg Swedish clock designed by Humans Since 1982 immediately grabs your attention.

Past the check in counter, there is the Lo Lounge. The Lo Lounge is where hotel guests can relax, unwind and refuel with complimentary tea, coffee and snacks throughout the day and between 5-7pm they can indulge in free drinks (house wines, beer and spirits) and a more extensive snack menu at the bar.

The Lo Lo Lounge

Everything is included when you stay at the Ovolo, even down to the free self service laundry, free wifi, smart TV/ipad system in room, happy hour and your very own tote. The 100 room hotel has a very unique feel to it, with every room slightly varying from the floor plan, making every stay completely different.

Food & Beverage:

Sitting right below the hotel is a plethora of Sydney’s best restaurants. China Doll, Otto & Kingsleys just to name a few are at your doorstep.

The Room:

I stayed in the CityVoo Loft room. Although loft’s are not my favourite kind of room, this one was quite cute and quirky. It had a nice expansive living area that looked out to the city and water. Upstairs, there was the bedroom, cupboard and bathroom with clean lines, mischievous connotations everywhere (including the Proper in the bathroom!)

Pros:

  • Great all inclusive hotel
  • Quirky and playful
  • Great location
  • Gym & Pool area

Cons:

  • The room was slightly dirty, I found a few hairs in the bathroom, bedding and also on the floor
  • Slightly noisy from the below restaurants (but hey, who is complaining when you have the culinary delights such as Aki’s and China Doll at your doorstep?)
Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Overall:

My stay at The Ovolo Woolloomoolo was extremely fun and enjoyable. The little touches and inclusions really make you feel that you have gotten your bang for your buck.

Ovolo Woolloomoolo
6 Cowper Wharf Roadway,
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
02 9331 9000

My stay at Ovolo Woolloomooloo was provided complimentary for a review on the Krumbled website. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Have you stayed at any of the Ovolo Hotels before? Did you like the quirky touches as much as I did? If you have any comments or questions please leave them below.
K x