Magenta Shores Resort, The Entrance North review: Choices down to a tee

Read our writer's views on this property below

Sports and pampering are par for the course at this stylish central coast resort, writes Ruth Duncan.

JUST minutes from our villa, the 18-hole traditional links-style championship course beckons. Just minutes in the other direction, the beach beckons. And then there's the tennis courts. And the indoor and outdoor pools. And the day spa. What's a family to do first in the lush surrounds of a central coast resort?

First, we slow down and browse our villa stay. A bottle of wine and gift pack await us as we note the bathrooms, ultra-modern kitchen opening on to a large dining and living area, upstairs and downstairs verandahs with tables and chairs, flat-screen TV and iPod docking station.

The villa's main bedroom is huge, with a king-size bed and windows overlooking the golf course, gardens and beach. There's another flat-screen TV in the main bedroom, too; later, we realise we can watch TV from the oversize bath-tub here.

The villa's second bedroom has a queen bed; the third bedroom has two singles. The garage has internal access, there's a well-equipped laundry and the villa has clever touches, too: a torch hung on the laundry wall, handy when walking back from the beach at night; a large umbrella; and a clothes horse for the wet swimming costumes.

The resort has studio guest rooms as well as one- and two-bedroom villas with views of the golf course and a thriving golfing community. Golf buggies are used to whiz guests around the resort to various facilities and activities.

So, is it to be the golf? Tennis?

A bike ride? The gym and steam room? A swim or the sand?

My husband plans to indulge in most of the above and the children head for the resort's playground but my choice is the Mii Spa.

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Five treatment rooms, a couples' suite, Vichy shower and spa garden await a browse before I opt for a luxurious 80-minute Aroma Fusion massage and facial. It's all so wonderfully relaxing.

After a swim with the children, we head into The Entrance for a delicious and well-priced seafood lunch before stopping to admire the pelicans. They are fed every day at 3.30pm by volunteers at the water's edge near the children's play area.

The play area and nearby fun park include a jumping castle, merry-go-round and mini-car ride at weekends and during holidays. It's excellent value - $10 buys your child six rides.

Back at the resort, the in-house restaurant, Barretts, has a fine-dining menu that includes treats such as twice-cooked duck, lentils du Puy with warm carrot and orange salad; a good vegetarian selection; and options for children. The resort also has a more casual dining option at Swales, while its Shallows Bar serves excellent cocktails until late.

Especially useful after a "hard" day on the greens is the takeaway/room service option provided by Barretts. Villa kitchens are well equipped if guests want to cook; having meals delivered is a bonus.

Once our children are in bed, we sit on the verandah and, later, enjoy a DVD from the selection provided.

Next morning, another buffet breakfast is followed by a game of tennis, then swimming in the pool, followed by a walk to the beach. Later, relaxing on the verandah, we agree we'll be back here in summer.

I would go back just for that spa treatment; my husband still wants more time in the sun; and our children have plans for those sand dunes near the resort - big plans.

The writer was a guest of Magenta Shores and Tourism NSW.

Trip notes

Where

Magenta Shores Resort, Magenta Drive, Magenta, The Entrance North. (02) 4352 8100; mirvachotels.com/quay-west-resort-magenta-shores.

Getting there

Take the F3, turn off at the Tuggerah Interchange (The Entrance-Wyong exit), turn right at the top of the exit ramp and continue to Wyong Road, then turn left on to the Central Coast Highway (The Entrance Road) and stay on it through The Entrance North to Magenta Drive.

How much Studio guest room from $179 a night; three-bedroom villa from $289 a night.

Style statement Chic meets the beach.

Perfect for Families, golfing weekends with friends and girls' pampering weekends.

Take the kids? Absolutely.

Don't forget Sunblock, swimmers and a big appetite.

A shame about The signage around the resort; it needs to be more prominent.

Kudos Friendly staff and excellent facilities.

Find more Magenta region accommodation at Stayz.