Read our writer's views on this property below
Free of any little headaches, Melissa Gaudron does some grown-up relaxing.
Organising a sojourn north for a family get-together was a typically dishevelled affair of hasty emails, last-minute phone calls and endless lists. Things weren't going well: we were getting down to the final selection, weighing up the pros and cons of holiday homes versus cabin-style accommodation and tempers were fraying. Then the magic words were uttered: "Kids Club". Surely the only two words in the English language (other than George Clooney) that can make a grown woman swoon.
Before you could say: "Take my children. Please," we had signed in for a weekend at the loftily titled Australis Diamond Beach Resort and Spa.
On the mid-north coast about 20 minutes north of Forster, the newish Diamond Beach resort fronts a six-kilometre beach of the same name and is a type of upmarket resort you don't usually equate with the surrounding sleepy holiday towns.
Despite the high-end facilities, the area's famed laid-back spirit remains as we arrive to find the other arm of the family already in holiday mode: brother-in-law asleep on the lounge in front of the TV; kids frolicking in the inviting, resort-style main pool; and sister-in-law sunbaking poolside completing a crossword. She has managed to grab a day bed that really is a decadent, cushioned extravagance. It has me under its lavish spell and within minutes I, too, am snoozing, the stress of the city ebbing away.
Our families are sharing a three-bedroom beach house. It's all modern, sleek lines and, from the flat-screen TV to the fully equipped galley kitchen and hidden-away laundry, it's mod-cons all the way. Though the open-plan living rooms are light and inviting, we do most of our living on the balcony, with its views over the resort and surrounding bushland.
Though the Diamond Beach website declares the beach house sleeps eight, the oh-so-lovely staff reconfigure the rooms to easily accommodate the nine of us. Each couple ends up in queen-size beds in the upstairs bedrooms (both with en suites), while five children are cosily ensconced in the downstairs bedroom. The days ease into an easy rhythm of serious work at the beach, coupled with hours of toil by the pool. The resort itself is not overly expansive - guests can easily walk to the beach and to the resort's main facilities, including its pools, tennis court, gym, 3 Nippers restaurant and its best-kept secret: the day spa.
While it seems just about anyone with a massage table and a pair of joss sticks can set up shop and call themselves a "spa", Diamond Beach's Endota Spa is the real deal (don't let its shipping container-style exterior put you off). With the kids whisked away to Kids Club (yes!), my sister-in-law and I select the Endotarama treatment - an indulgent footbath, organic facial and 30-minute massage. After 90 minutes we emerge transformed: these guys know how to do bliss. We were raving so much, the blokes also booked themselves in for a relaxing massage.
Still on a high, we adults float on to dinner at 3 Nippers, where we're joined by the children. The restaurant's casual daytime bistro look has been transformed into a real dining room, with real people dressed up and eating grown-up food. What will happen when the children inevitably get bored and ratty over dinner?
Fortunately, the kids' meals come out quickly and, while the adults are lingering over their hearty meals and sipping their wine, the helpful staff hustle up some colouring-in books to keep the kids occupied. As if that isn't enough, staff then arrange lounges in front of a TV so the children can have their own private cinema.
We should not have been surprised by the meal: we had already been over-indulged by the big breakfast hamper (delivered every afternoon for next morning's consumption).
Similarly, we take up the offer of a barbecue pack for a night of alfresco cooking on the deck. As with everything else on offer, the catering team overdeliver (but in an OMG-there's-no-way-we-can-eat-all-that way. But then we do). The pack contains enough food to feed half of Forster. With the pool, the Kids Club, the nearby golf course, the
me-time indulgence of Endota spa, and the non-stop cuisine, what's not to love? And all packaged in a seaside setting. Throw in gorgeous George and it would be perfect.
The writer was a guest of Tourism NSW and Australis Diamond Beach Resort and Spa.
DIAMOND BEACH RESORT AND SPA
WHERE Diamond Beach Road, Diamond Beach, mid-north coast. Phone 1300 650 464, see resortretreat.com.au.
HOW MUCH Stay in a three-bedroom beach house from $229 a night, minimum two-night stay.
BEST THING The spa and sumptuous lounge bed by the swimming pool.
WORST THING The unpatrolled beach proved too wild and woolly for the kids (even for seasoned surfers) when we were there.
LOCAL SECRET Extremely affable local residents make up the bend-over-backwards-for-you staff.