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Hotel Highlights

  • Stefano Manfredi's chef's-hatted restaurant – New Italian, home-grown produce
  • Waterways, beaches and walking trails of the Bouddi National Park
  • Self-contained villas and suites set in lush English gardens

Overview

RUNNER-UP: BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

Foodies flock to Stefano Manfredi’s famed nouveau Italian kitchen at the Bells at Killcare hotel, a quick 90-minute jaunt from Sydney. Just past the English-style gardens and refined manor house, you’ll find traditional Australia while surfing the beaches and hiking the trails of the surrounding Boudi National Park.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Bells at Killcare with us:

A Bellini each in the bar

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Bells at Killcare

Exclusive Smith Award offer

Facilities

View Gallery
Bells at Killcare Hotel – Central Coast – Australia

Need To Know

Rooms

25, including suites, villas and cottages.

Check–out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $295.45 (AU$318), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include Continental breakfast. Dinner packages are also available for Sunday nights.

Also

The beautiful woven blankets are made exclusively for Chrissie Jeffery in India and are available to purchase through her Sydney interiors treasure trove, No Chintz, which has two store outlets.

At the hotel

Day spa, gardens, free WiFi throughout, DVD and book library. In rooms: iPod dock, flatscreen TV, CD/DVD players.

Our favourite rooms

All Bells’ boudoirs are set away from the Manor House amid eight acres of pretty English-style gardens, secluded from the gastronomic bustle of the restaurant. The two Two-storey Spa Cottages make you feel even more independent, with their upstairs bedrooms, double spa baths and French-windowed balconies. Get north-west facing number 10 for sleeping off lunch in the afternoon sun, or opt for a King Spa Suite with a spa bath.

Poolside

The shimmering turquoise swimming pool is flanked by sun-loungers and umbrellas. Change facilities and lockers are at hand for a quick switch into swimwear.

Packing tips

Marcos-loads of shoes: loafers for lunch, flipflops for the beach, walking shoes for the National Park trails.

Also

Food-lovers, get your gourmet on with a cooking class (bi-monthly) and garden tour (offered daily), or attend one of the hotel's monthly wine dinners.

Children

Bells’ accommodation is best for grown-ups, but kids are allowed in the restaurant.

Eco‐friendly

Food waste is recycled for the 50 chickens that call Bells home; there's an organic kitchen garden that services the restaurant and tank water is used outside.

Food & Drink

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Bells at Killcare Hotel – Central Coast – Australia

Hotel Restaurant

The grand main dining room, overlooking the gardens, is the spiritual heart of Bells at Killcare. Vivid blues, strong stripes and shell motifs create a relaxed coastal feel, smartened by white linens and stylish banquettes. The veranda is great for larger parties while the Garden Room offers a secluded, private space inside. But you’d be happy eating chef Stefano Manfredi’s food anywhere – robust duck and pork ragus, pan-fried veal, home-made gelati and antipasto plates that would feed a family. Italian heritage is overlaid with rigorous local and organic product sourcing, such as Hawkesbury River oysters.

Hotel Bar

As well as a super-extensive Italian wine list, Bells serves many of the best regional Australian wines. The glass-walled, temperature-controlled wine cellar is a key feature of the restaurant area, but quaff the stuff in the Chesterfielded bar or more comfy, literature-lined library, where a replica First Fleet rigger takes pride of place. Suitably, Bellinis are the house cocktail.

Room service

Antipasto platters can be enjoyed in your room – just order in advance.

Smith Insider

Dress code

TM Lewin shirts and RM Williams moleskins for lunch; a pair of stretch pants for afterwards.

Top table

Pick a table on the veranda, but any of the windowside tables for two will do if it’s too hot or cold to be outside (number 23 is lovely).

Local Guide

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Bells at Killcare Hotel – Central Coast – Australia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

To justify further gourmet indulgence, fossick around Bouddi National Park or any of the nine local beaches. Bushwalking maps are provided and tasty picnic hampers, backpacks and guides can be arranged. The more adventurous can swim or surf at Killcare Beach, charter a yacht or go whale watching.

Local restaurants

Local favourite Yum Yum's Eatery (+61 (0)2 4360 2999; www.yumyumeatery.com.au), at 60 Araluen Drive in Hardys Bay, has gentle water views and a smart, simple menu – a great place to slum it after the foodie delights back up the hill. Try beer-battered barramundi or king prawn linguine. Nearby The Fat Goose Restaurant & Bistro at Hardys Bay, 14 Heath Road (+61 (0)2 4360 2345; www.thefatgoose.com.au), serves burgers, seafood and kangaroo if you really want to savour the local flavours.

+ Enlarge
Graceful Central Coast gardens

Bells at Killcare

107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights, Central Coast, NSW 2257, Australia

Located on the Bouddi Peninsula on the New South Wales’ Central Coast, Bells at Killcare is a 90-minute drive north of Sydney.

Planes

Sydney Airport (www.sydneyairport.com.au) is serviced by an array of international and domestic carriers. From there, it’s a scenic 100-kilometre drive to Bells at Killcare.

Trains

Woy Woy Station is 10 minutes away from Bells and is serviced by City Rail (www.cityrail.info). From Central Station in the city centre, take the North Shore and Western Line. The journey takes approximately 70 minutes on the express train or 90 minutes stopping at all stations en route. From Woy Woy, catch a taxi from the rank at the front of the station to Killcare Heights. The drive takes about 20 minutes.

Automobiles

You can get a taxi to Bells or hire a car at Sydney Airport. The Central Coast is about 100 kilometres north of Sydney. Take the Pacific Highway and exit at Gosford.

Other

The FantaSea Palm Beach Ferry Service (www.palmbeachferry.com.au; +61 (0)2 9974 2411) operates daily. The ferry departs from Palm Beach and stops at Wagstaff where passengers bound for Bells must alight. Bells offers a complimentary transfer from the Wagstaff wharf, however this service needs to be pre-booked. It is also possible to get to Bells by sea plane. Sea Planes Sydney (www.seaplanes.com.au; 1300 732 752) charter flights from Rose Bay to Booker Bay. The 30-minute flight provides a bird’s eye view of the stunning Northern Beaches north of Sydney and once you have made your water landing a boat will be waiting to take you to Killcare Wharf. Here you will be met by a driver for the 15-minute drive to Bells.

Reviews

View Gallery
Bells at Killcare Hotel – Central Coast – Australia

Anonymous review

by Sarah Thomas , Roving reporter

This review of Bells at Killcare in Central Coast is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand. Large white capital letters jutting from the blue wall of the reception area at Bells at Killcare grab you on arrival and command: ‘RELAX, UNWIND, ENJOY.’ It leaves you in no doubt as to what’s expected of guests here. There’s nothing Mr…
Read more

Bells at Killcare

Anonymous review by Sarah Thomas , Roving reporter

This review of Bells at Killcare in Central Coast is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.

Large white capital letters jutting from the blue wall of the reception area at Bells at Killcare grab you on arrival and command: ‘RELAX, UNWIND, ENJOY.’ It leaves you in no doubt as to what’s expected of guests here. There’s nothing Mr Smith and I can do but step up to the mark.

It’s not a tough job, of course. There’s the place itself, with graceful central manor house and English country estate-style gardens. We’re led to our room, a king suite, although ‘suite’ is a rather misleading term. It’s more a diminutive cottage with a spacious living and bedroom area, an iron fireplace resting on exposed brickwork, a fully equipped kitchen and an enormous bathroom with an oversized spa bath. Sydney designer and textile goddess Chrissie Jeffrey is behind the decor, which features a crisp mix of nautical blues, whites and beiges alongside elegant antique furniture, chic rattan and sumptuously comforting fabrics and cushions. Bliss.

Mr Smith and I head directly to the big veranda with a cafetière of chef Stefano Manfredi’s rich own-brand coffee, and within a few moments are already getting stuck into the wall instructions that greeted us on check-in.

It doesn’t take long for our thoughts to shift to dinner because, first and foremost, this destination is renowned mostly for what it serves on a plate. With Manfredi, an acclaimed chef at the helm, the award-winning restaurant here has made this quiet spot on the Central Coast a point of pilgrimage for foodies. His menu is a robust take on Italian cooking, backed with considered flavouring and a strong emphasis on local and organic produce.

And then there’s the wine. Owners Brian and Karina Barry have long been names in the nearby Hunter Valley wine industry and have brought their expertise to an extensive and encyclopedic wine list that offers the best from Italian and local vineyards, with staff only too happy to talk you through the choices.

Decision-making over dinner itself isn’t too troubling. It’s a simple menu that lets the ingredients speak for themselves and inspires snap ‘I want that!’ decisions. There’s an antipasto of meats and oysters, but Mr Smith and I get straight into the primo courses: crisp pork cheek with mushroom ragu and sweetly buttery spinach and ricotta gnocchi. For secondi we try the grass-fed beef rump and roast rabbit with veal sweetbreads – both are boldly flavoured, hearty portions.

But it’s not all about gorging yourself silly or sitting on your behind at Bells we discover – there’s plenty to do. The picture-perfect setting of Hardys Bay, a typical Australian coastal village complete with fish and chip shop, is just a few minutes down the road. The sweeping views here treat us to an eyeful of the many small islands, bays and waterways that weave around this part of the coast out to Ettalong Beach and Daleys Point. On the other side of the peninsula is Killcare Beach, a big open crescent marked only with a surf club at one end. We walk across the peachy-coloured sand and enjoy the pounding of the waves. As Killcare is nestled on the edge of Bouddi National Park the lure of bushwalks also offsets any conscience about indulging in Manfredi’s dishes and the Barrys’ wine selections. We spend a couple of hours traipsing the six-kilometre Maitland Bay Circuit, one of the many walks suggested on a map given to us on check-in and dotted with beautiful views.

Calories burned, back at Bells we settle down on the Manor House terrace, overlooking the grounds with a couple of sundowners, enjoying the dying daylight, peacefully huddled among the fat navy-and-white cushions on the lounge. Marita, one of the many friendly and attentive staff members here, has come to see if she can bring us anything. She tells us that this small haven gets many visitors from all over the world and lots of weekenders from the city. ‘It’s only a short drive from Sydney,’ she says, ‘but you could be anywhere.’ She’s absolutely right. Although Bells is firmly planted in the middle of some of the Central Coast’s best beaches and bays, it’s rather unique as a coastal resort in that you can’t actually spy the water. The sea is just a few minutes’ drive away and the nautical decor throughout doesn’t let you forget your coordinates, but the leafy privacy afforded here also makes it a country retreat that is truly about getting away from it all. ‘We’re anywhere and nowhere at the same time,’ sighs Mr Smith, ‘and it feels heavenly.’

With the flush still in our cheeks from all that salt-air-kissed strolling, we head to the inviting embrace of the main dining room. The blue-striped walls (another fitting seaside touch) and larger-than-life mirrors are especially seductive when teamed with chic chandeliers and flickering tealights. Pre-dinner drinks are soon in our clutches, and we flop into the large Chesterfield sofas in the cosy bar, olives and crumbly caper-and-parmesan biscuits to hand. Home-made simple-but-delectable bread is our next treat, along with an olive oil that’s so deliciously light and flavoursome I’m tempted to drink it. As romantic as the setting is, it’s the menu of two courses and a glass of wine for AU$39, served as a special offer on Tuesday nights, which has us enraptured. Salt cod soup gets both votes as does roast pork belly with savoy cabbage and chestnuts. Hey, it may be corny, but when our waiter, Hayden, brings our dishes, it’s the line he delivers with them that captures our sentiments about Bells at Killcare in a nutshell. ‘Enjoy!’ he smiles.

 

The Guestbook

Reviews of Bells at Killcare from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

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