24-Hour Room Service: Lilianfels, Blue Mountains, Australia

As a hotel, Lilianfels has had some very good press. Indeed chic magazines such as
Tatler and
Conde Nast Traveller have raved about it. Just metres from the edge of an escarpment in the Blue Mountains, two hours' drive from Sydney, it sits surrounded by eucalyptus forests. Dramatic, yes. But what nobody makes quite clear enough is that the hotel is also in a suburb of Katoomba. The effect is slightly surreal: on one side are wisteria-clad detached houses, on the other a dizzying panorama of peaks and forested valleys fading into blue-green abstraction.

As a hotel, Lilianfels has had some very good press. Indeed chic magazines such as Tatler and Conde Nast Traveller have raved about it. Just metres from the edge of an escarpment in the Blue Mountains, two hours' drive from Sydney, it sits surrounded by eucalyptus forests. Dramatic, yes. But what nobody makes quite clear enough is that the hotel is also in a suburb of Katoomba. The effect is slightly surreal: on one side are wisteria-clad detached houses, on the other a dizzying panorama of peaks and forested valleys fading into blue-green abstraction.

This luxury country house hotel is where posh Sydneysiders like to escape for the weekend, and the service was suitably smiley and efficient. There's a billiard room with full-sized snooker table, wood panelling and its own waiter to serve you single malt and Havanas (he'll also help you select from a fantastic list of Australian wines).

Then there's a split-level lounge festooned with enormous, Laura Ashley-style sofas and bookshelves crammed with country-house-type volumes such as Great Bird Migrations. It's rather odd cosying up with hot chocolate over a picture book when it's burning outside. Maybe rich Australians have a secret yearning for English weather.

The greatest thing about Lilianfels is the view. From the lounge you feel as if you could step over the edge of the escarpment and fly away, and there are spectacular walks to the Three Sisters mountains. Sadly, our "top floor room overlooking the valley" had a view of a large eucalyptus tree, with the valley view visible only through one corner window.

One final niggle. In this exclusive place, a gentle Monday afternoon Martini was interrupted by a conference. A Melbourne manageress was exhorting her employees to "embrace change" and "shift paradigms". Not quite the stuff of romance and wilderness.

Location, location, location

Lilianfels, Lilianfels Avenue, Echo Point 2780, NSW, Australia (00 61 2 4780 1200).

Time to international airport: by car, the hotel is two hours from Sydney but there are also numerous trains each day from Sydney Central Station to Katoomba. The journey takes 90 minutes and costs around £7 return. The hotel is a five minute taxi ride from Katoomba station.

Are you lying comfortably?

Our room was beautifully furnished, with antique wardrobes and a large, plush bed. The effect was a kind of Mediterranean Laura Ashley. The bathroom was big and marbled, with bathrobes you could happily live inside.

Room service food was delicious, with salmon sandwiches generously made and beautifully presented.

The bottom line

Valley view rooms start at AUS $350 (£140) per night. "Garden view" rooms (overlooking the suburb) are $315 (£125).

I'm not paying that

The Mountain Heritage Country House Retreat (00 61 2 4782 2155) also has spectacular views and rooms start at AUS $250 (£100) per night; it's cosy but less posh.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...