Michelle and Tom Bishop, who seem to know everyone within a half-hour radius, opened Bangalay Luxury Villas in September. Set between the beach and the Shoalhaven Heads Golf Club, Bangalay is a new complex comprised of two two-bedroom and 14 one-bedroom free-standing, self-contained, serviced apartment-style villas and the four-bedroom Holiday House next door.
Bangalay is a 40-metre stroll from Seven Mile Beach at Shoalhaven Heads, a sleepy holiday hamlet on the south coast of NSW. Shoalhaven Heads is 20 minutes' drive from Nowra and Gerringong and 15 minutes from Berry. And if you are driving an electric vehicle, there are charging stations in the car park.
A boardwalk links the 16 villas to the swimming pool, which is shaded by a huge blackbutt tree and adjacent to the open-air bar-restaurant at the eastern end of the property. Designed to be distinctly "Shoalhaven" and blend into the surrounding bushland and beachscape, the garden beds are shaped like sand dunes and nascent native trees line the boardwalk. Artwork reflecting the local flora enhances the regional character.
Spacious and light-filled, each villa has a north-facing deck with huge chairs and a view of the golf course or a garden. There is air-conditioning, ceiling fans, a fireplace, laundry, fully-equipped modern kitchen with stylish crockery and trendy cooking accessories, a large shower room with under-floor heating, a TV in the living room and in each bedroom and wireless internet.
The on-site bar-restaurant Bangalay Dining is run by chef Brent Strong, whose wife was days away from going into labour during our stay, and who was entitled to have his mind elsewhere. Nevertheless, he tells me of his love for the local fresh produce and botanicals. Strong, a local product himself, who learnt about botanicals at Adelaide-based Restaurant Orana, forages and cooks with coastal wattleseed, Illawarra plums, bunya-bunya pinenuts and quandong, to name a few. Shoalhaven-sourced beef and fish are enhanced by the botanicals, as well as native herbs and florals. Strong's passion translates to the plate in the signature tasting menu ($85), which is excellent. The vegetarian tasting menu gets the thumbs up from my wife, who suffers that affliction. A separate bar and room service menu is available, while the more than respectable wine list makes for a relaxing, sea breeze-enhanced afternoon. The a la carte breakfast is also good and best enjoyed in your sandy bathers after a morning swim.
With its proximity to Gerringong, Berry, the galleries and street art of Nowra and a host of other south-coast towns and beaches, as well as cellar doors in this emerging and unique coastal wine region, this is an ideal base from which to explore the eclectic Shoalhaven. Visit the engaging Raj at Silos Estate and try its rosé, lunch with a view at Mountain Ridge Wines and take a bottle of something appropriate to Jim Wild's Oysters at Greenwell Point.
This upscale accommodation offers a quiet beach-holiday vibe and adds a top-notch restaurant unique to the area.
Rooms from $330 a night. Reception can assist with in-room spa treatments, golf tee times, surfing lessons and beach horse rides as well as suggest local itineraries. See bangalayvillas.com.au; visitnsw.com
Walk to the beach and return to a comfortable room via an excellent bar-restaurant.
The shower room, while modern, would be better with a bath, more bench space and a larger vanity.
Mal Chenu was a guest of Bangalay Luxury Villas and Destination NSW.