With its grand acreage, abundant facilities and spectacular views across the Jamison Valley, the Fairmont Resort is the perfect place to stay in the Blue Mountains when you want to just getaway and relax.
Around 90 minutes west of Sydney and high up in the mountains, the Fairmont – or the Fairmont Resort and Spa Blue Mountains, MGallery by Sofitel – is one of the most multifaceted places we’ve ever stayed at.
The Fairmont represents a bewildering array of entertainment options, all built to cater to your particular reason for coming to stay.
It’s a luxury romantic escape, but it’s also ideal for families.
It’s an alpine lodge and the 19th hole for its own Leura Golf Club, yet an opulent spa retreat too. It’s an amazing wedding venue, but also has great conference and corporate event facilities.
It’s an incredible fine-dining destination and sultry subterranean whiskey tavern, but it also has an adventure park, video arcade and pony-riding stables for the kids.
But unlike many places that try to be so many things at once, the Fairmont somehow manages it.
If ever there was a multigenerational travel destination, it has to be this resort.
Our romantic stay at the Fairmont Resort and Spa Blue Mountains
Our room – the Megalong Suite
We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the resort’s suites for Christina’s birthday, looking out south across the mountains and valleys.
This enormous room, with its separate dining-living area, had a lounge big enough to seat six and a dinner table that would sit four, but having the whole place to ourselves made our stay feel even more luxurious.
Our first-floor balcony gave us superb views over the expansive lawn down to the ponies, with the forest’s tree line showing the start of the high-wire treetop adventure park. Further south, we could see the escarpment of the valley filled with the blue eucalypts that give these mountains its name.
The terrazzo-clad bathroom, which is furnished with products from the resort’s Ubika Day Spa, extends all the way round to a deep spa bath. A separate door leads neatly into the bedroom and its extremely comfortable bed.
On warm days, you have the option of having the balcony doors open (there are fly screens) or using the smart zoned air-conditioning on.
During the winter months, you can reverse-cycle the air-con to heat the room or just press the button for a bit of gas-fired log fire heating.
A host of other little details and decorations bring that extra level of comfort and luxury that lesser rooms in other hotels lack, leave out or neglect.
The restaurants – Jamison’s, Embers and Misty’s
There are three main restaurants at the Fairmont. Jamison’s Restaurant is primarily the breakfast venue for the resort. Its replete buffet is well-stocked and views out from the terrace are lovely.
Embers Restaurant looks out through the gable’s glass wall at the trees and distant valley, and offers guests a range of well-made creations and classics for lunch and dinner daily.
But tucked away and seating only 20 diners a night on Fridays and Saturdays, Misty’s Restaurant offers an elevated experience both in its views and its cuisine; vistas of the Jamison Valley contend with the incredible plated artistry for your attention.
Chef Emilio Llausas crafts magnificent dishes like Christina’s entree; an ornamental seascape garden of Hamachi crudo topped with yuzu foam and decorated with seagrapes, tiny marine succulents, and scampi and lumpfish caviar.
We decided to go with the matched wines for the menu (especially as we didn’t have far to go to get home!) and it proved to be an excellent choice.
The Hamachi crudo has a surprising pairing: a curious Greek sparkling wine that has a slight anise back palate but which matches the dish well.
My entree of beef tartare is a beautiful, powerhouse of a dish – one of the best tartares I’ve had. Sat atop a layered beef-fat roasted potato cake and decorated with caper berries and puffed beef tendon, it’s a dish that’s clever, eloquent and deep.
Christina’s main of lamb two ways comes with crunchy roasted corn ribs, black garlic that gives a wonderful caramel flavour and tender lamb cutlet lollypops. Next to the lamb cutlets is slow-cooked lamb belly that’s tender and fatty, and coats the mouth deliciously.
It’s a playground of flavours and textures.
I have ordered the marron, which is both superbly tender and rich. On one side of the marron is a crab congee, which ramps up the richness and colour, while on the other side is a beurre blanc to really ramp up the umami of this ensemble cast.
Thankfully, a creamy, oaky yet sharp Chablis cuts into and dances with the dish’s richness while adding an extra ribbon of saveur.
We also order a side of white asparagus, which comes with a blanket of freshly made hollandaise and a virtual forest of saffron and a quenelle of black caviar.
We’re really too full for dessert, but it’s a three-course menu, so we feel obliged to stay. Plus the dishes are amazing.
Showing just what you can do with sticky rice if you’re good enough, Chef Emilio has created an entire landscape of tropical flavours with this dish. Freeze-dried lychee and lychee jelly pearls, sumptuous black sticky rice, coconut milk and mango sorbet – it’s a masterpiece.
Paired with this is a Mudgee wine – a sticky from Robert Stein Wines. It plays with the flavours and ends the mouthful with its own twist.
Finally – and our undoing – the dolce de lecce, with its polished chocolate top, sweet milky interior and crunchy base is rich and perfect on its own. But add to it a cherry sorbet and chocolate soil and it becomes the poshest Cherryripe you’ve ever eaten.
It’s more than we can finish between us, but it’s only because we’re so full. A remarkable meal.
The bar – Two Doctors Whiskey Tavern
At the entrance of the resort, this new bar – and something quite unique to the Blue Mountains – is the Two Doctors Whiskey Tavern.
This speakeasy palace is surprisingly spacious and has a lovely atmosphere, with a live jazz duo doing their thing on stage lit by a giant crystal chandelier.
The tavern embraces the bygone clandestine spirits sales era of the Prohibition Era and also combines the medicinal application of alcohol!
And on one wall next to the stunning gold-lit bar is a cage of the most impressive whisky collection we’ve seen. You can order a flight of whisky tasters that you can either order or let the bar staff to choose.
We put our trust in F&B manager and walking whisky encyclopaedia Dwayne Ninnis and were not disappointed in the slightest.
The bar shares its name with the distillery and its whiskey started by Dr Jerry Schwartz, who owns the Fairmont, and his friend Prof John Rasko. It’s a destination in itself and well worth a visit.
Two Doctors Whiskey will be available at the bar very soon too.
The facilities at the Fairmont
The Fairmont has an amazing range of things to see and do. We already mentioned golf, pony rides, tree-climbing, spa-ing and indulging.
But there’s also a fitness centre, large heated indoor pool, lagoon-style leisure pool, a video arcade, ball pit, cinema, miniature train, mirror maze, a tiny hedge maze, tennis courts, billiards room. There’s even a massive 500²m indoor ice rink.
And that’s before you even get to the concierge desk to ask about nearby bushwalks.
At every turn, you never know what you’ll find around the grounds of this huge sprawling property, but each curiosity is an exciting discovery of its own.