The veil of mystique is being lifted on one of WA's premier properties

Opportunities are rare to snuggle into the same sheets as a pop star of the likes of Lady Gaga, but there is one home in regional WA recently opened to the public where it is possible to lie in the bed of the monster mother.

Hidden 20 minutes out of Albany, Maitraya is perched on a cliff overlooking the Southern Ocean and surrounded by uninterrupted swathes of blue, green and yellow.

The ocean, softly folding onto the beach below, is framed by relentless hills. It is the sort of scenery that immediately calms and takes you a million miles from wherever you don't want to be.

During the right time of year, whales, including mothers and their calves, frolic in the protected bay. A photo in one of the bedrooms proves a school of nine dolphins also once played there.

Maitraya is the dream home of the late Albany businessman Paul Terry, who spent years deciding on the location before buying 500 acres of shrub that took two years to transform into the secluded haven.

Paul barely enjoyed the property before dying in a plane crash in 1993 but his wife Joan and their children remained there until five years ago, when it was sold to another West Australian businessman, Rick Fenny, who also owns Ocean Park Aquarium at Shark Bay.

Joan was reluctant to leave the magical site and it seemed her late husband was not pleased with the idea, either. She believes each of the potential buyers, who came from all over the world, pulled out of their offer because Paul, who is buried on the property, interfered.

Until one day in 2007, Joan dreamed of her old friend Rick and coincidently ran into him the following morning after his daughter bought the house next door to her in Cottesloe. The coincidence was too great and she convinced him her husband wanted Maitraya to be passed into his care.

Since accepting Joan's pleas and buying the property in something of a whirlwind fairytale, Rick has transformed it into a luxury retreat hired for special occasions and getaways.


Lady Gaga escaped there after her 2010 Australian tour. Her farewell message epitomised those of many who have visited Maitraya: grateful for the blissful experience and reluctant to leave.

She was so relaxed she was inspired to write two new songs on the house piano, where a framed photo and message from her now hangs above.

The main bedroom, with French doors opening over the Southern Ocean, has been unofficially named after the popstress.

"She was priceless," says Shane Gardner, who managed Maitraya with his wife Kaye for 25 years until last month.

"We probably saw a side of her that a lot of the world don't. She can cook. She had a party and even her bodyguard enjoyed himself for the first time in six months. He said 'Shane, I don't even have to worry, people don't even know she's here'."

The Chinese men's basketball team also recently holidayed there while families have hired the six-bedroom house for family reunions and corporations have held staff bonding trips.

The stunning backdrop is also fast becoming a popular wedding venue, with endless photo opportunities: at the gazebo, around the lagoon, amid blossoming fruit trees, on the private beach or overlooking the entire estate.

The house is architecturally designed, with the bedrooms, a formal lounge and sprawling kitchen running the perimeter of the house, and a glassed atrium and indoor pool and spa as the central focus.

Outside, Maitraya has what could be called a palace for chickens, such is the size of the coup. It's surrounded by fruit trees and Rick has plans to plant every one imaginable.

There's a helipad and miles of greenery to wander or water to play on, while 20 metres below the private beach beckons.

Even deep in the night Maitraya is a stunning place, its remoteness allowing the beams of hundreds of stars to litter the sky.

Set kilometres from the closest township, Maitraya has remained unknown to most but Rick is hoping to change that.

"It's been kept a secret with a bit of mystique because it was a private home," he said.

"I wanted to do the opposite. It's one of the premier properties of the world, of WA, and I wanted to open it up for others."

The writer travelled as a guest of Maitraya Luxury Private Retreat.


Getting there

Albany is about five hours' drive from Perth, or SkyWest operate regular 1 hour and 15 minute flights from about $330 return.

Staying there

The entire Maitraya residence for up to 16 guests starts at $3750 per night. Sections of the house can be booked separately.

The entire property can be exclusively booked from $4010 per night.

Wedding packages start at $4500 without accommodation or $9500 for two nights accommodation for up to 16 guests. Catering is not included.

The property's cosy Aviator Cottage also can be booked for a romantic getaway, engagement proposal or anniversary from $420 for two people for two nights.


Phone: 08 9361 9044



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