Star of the Sea, Terrigal review: Highly inclined to stay put

Facilities galore ... the penthouse balcony.
Facilities galore ... the penthouse balcony. 

Read our writer's views on this property below

A Terrigal beachside resort has so many temptations it's impossible to tear yourself away, writes Angie Kelly.

A SERIOUS case of real estate envy descends on us as we put our bags down and survey our house-size penthouse apartment overlooking the ocean at Terrigal beach. As we stand in the doorway taking it all in, we're already doing mental calculations on whether it would be doable to sell up in Sydney, get a new job here and just move in.

The three children with us run about in a race to see who can grab the best of the five bedrooms. They needn't have bothered running as it turns out all the sleeping quarters are impressive - flatscreen TVs, balconies and one bedroom with an en suite bathroom, which the two teens instantly claim.

The Paviliion Pool.
The Paviliion Pool. 

Meanwhile, my husband and I have found the huge master suite on the ocean side of the apartment, over in another wing, far, far away from where the rest of the gang is already arguing over who gets first pick of what's going on the huge plasma TV in the media area outside their bedrooms.

Apart from its sheer scale, the penthouse's interiors are a bonus for those fond of '80s-style decorating. There's something about an expanse of marble floor, glass dining tables and raised corner spa baths that will always remind me of Christopher Skase and the signature look of his Mirage resorts. And with that decade-defining, bigger-is-better philosophy also at play here, it feels supremely indulgent and faintly amusing at the same time.

But there are enough modern touches to temper that decade-of-excess design aesthetic: pretty lighting, plenty of remote technology, oversized plush modular sofas, fashionable textured wallpaper and neutral colours.

But for all the showing off this luxurious apartment does indoors, its best asset is to come. We slide open the terrace doors to find - as real estate agents might put it - multiple relaxation zones. Translated, that means you can fit a lot of people out here. We estimate you could entertain 20 comfortably.

There are two table settings, both for eight - one under cover and one in the sunshine; a funky outdoor L-shaped lounge area and a six-person outdoor spa tub.

We've turned up on the first hot weekend of spring - Saturday promises 27 degrees - and we're excited. The beach and resort pool are calling. Looking over our penthouse railing to the lush gardens, central pool and bar area below, my husband proclaims the design an architectural triumph: the four buildings, containing 52 apartments, have been cleverly built into a hill without being an imposing presence either from within or from the street.

It's the hill where the former Catholic church and primary school - named Our Lady Star of the Sea - stood until 2002. With the area's growing population, demand for places was growing and the school didn't have any space to expand. So after selling their piece of coastal paradise to developers for $11 million, the church moved and built its new school at nearby Erina Heights, making way for the upmarket Star of the Sea resort, which opened in 2004.

There are 40 three-bedroom apartments, 10 with four bedrooms and two with five bedrooms in the secure gated complex, which has facilities galore. There's a gym, an indoor pool, a tennis court, squash court, snooker room and barbecue area but the main activity is around the central pool, cafe and bar area.

You can get coffee, breakfast, lunch and cocktails here - and you can swim to the counter to get them. Bob, the manager, is never far away and is full of tips on dinner options, instructions on how everything works and, as a former school sports teacher, advice on how our seven-year-old can improve his forehand.

After showing us around some of the resort's luxurious ocean-facing apartments, he tells us they're regularly booked by the same people.

Out the back entrance and down the hill, the main street and Terrigal beach are a five-minute walk away. Everything from casual cafes to upmarket dining options, beer-garden fare and ice-cream shops are on your doorstep. We had planned to take a trip to nearby Avoca beach but the temptation to stay put proves too great. Saturday afternoon at the beach, a wander around the seaside shops and watching the ocean on the terrace back at the apartment is entertainment enough.

Sunday morning is spent in the outdoor spa before breakfast at a local cafe and another day mucking around in the sunshine.

If only all weekends were like this.

The writer was a guest of Tourism NSW and Star of the Sea.

Trip notes

Where Star of the Sea, 8 The Esplanade, Terrigal, (02) 4385 7979, staroftheseaterrigal.com

Staying there Five-bedroom ocean-view penthouse: $4800 a week; weekends (Friday and Saturday) $3200 (with Sunday free); mid week for two nights (plus two nights free) $2200 (outside the school holidays).

Three-bedroom garden view: $1800 a week; weekends $900 (with Sunday free); mid week (pay Monday, Tuesday, get Wednesday, Thursday free) $900.

Style statement Retro luxury with modern touches.

Don't forget Your charger, there are no in-room phones.

Shame about The strange bed of painful-to-walk-on pebbles in the courtyard outside the main bedroom leading to the spa.

Kudos Unbeatable location; room service from the pool bar and special delivery deals with some local restaurants make eating fuss-free if you don't want to cook.

Take the kids You bet.