The Australian Blue Mountains make a perfect weekend getaway (or even day trip) to escape the bustling city of Sydney. We left the warm Cronulla beaches to drive a mere 90 minutes west to what felt like a different country. The day we left for the Blue Mountains saw snow flurries and subzero temperatures at night (-2C). Luckily our accommodation choice, the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, provided us the opportunity to bundle up by a fire with a hot chocolate (or wine for us parents).
The Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains won a 5-star rating with my kids from the get-go. The front desk handed the girls stuffed welcome ducks at check-in with the hotel logo embroidered on their feet. What a nice souvenir from our trip!
There was a homely and warm look to the resort lobby creating a relaxed feeling. The large fish tank instantly drew the girls attention away while I made a beeline to the back windows for my first glimpse at the Blue Mountains.
The resort overlooks the Jamison Valley and features large glass windows to allow for breath-taking views throughout the day.
The Blue Mountains are correctly named based on the blueish color they give off. We learned on our trip that the dense forest of Eucalyptus trees release tiny oil droplets into the atmosphere. The blue appearance is said to be a result of the Eucalyptus oil combining with water vapor and dust particles to scatter rays of light. Up close everything looked pretty green to me but I could see the blue haze in the distance!
We selected a standard double-bedded room during our stay which felt plenty spacious for our family. I noticed the color palette was similar to the lobby relaying the same cozy feeling. The rooms featured all the basic amenities you would expect in a hotel of this caliber but I would not necessarily say it WOWed me. It was suitable for our weekend getaway though and the abundance of recreational activities gave us plenty of reasons to get out of the room.
There were both indoor and outdoor pools on site to accommodate all seasons. The outdoor pool offered comfortable deck space for lounging and a view overlooking the lake. The frosty temperatures and unheated pool on our visiting weekend left us with only the indoor option.
The first thing I noticed about the indoor pool was the lap lane reserved for exercise. Always a competitive swimmer at heart! The building that housed the indoor pool featured high ceilings causing room temperatures to be a bit chilly for my liking; however, the water was comfortably heated. If you are like me and cold by nature then I recommend the hot tub and sauna as a better place to warm up and relax after several hours on the trails.
The main hallway to the right of the front desk had several rooms that caught our attention.
- The Library displayed an assortment of books and magazines as well as family friendly board games.
- The model train room was a kid favorite and they insisted we stop on each trip to and from our room.
- Lara’s of Leura boutique shop directly off the lobby looked to have a nice selection of clothing and accessories but I did not get a chance to browse.
- The Billiards room requested adult only access so we did not go in but I did see a large pool table while passing.
The children’s entertainment zone can be found downstairs near the pools. They had two playrooms set-up: one designed specifically for toddlers and another larger area with a climbing structure. There were coin operated interactive games but with a minimum $2 per game price tag we avoided these when possible. The kid-friendly zone included a ping-pong table, mirror maze, and small bowling alley.
The Blue Mountains have an abundance of excellent walking tracks and outdoor activities perfect for daytime but the evenings seem to provide little for entertainment. We were thankful for the resort’s evening activities especially the large theater playing complimentary movies. The daily movie schedule can be acquired from the front desk or found posted near the theater. During our stay they played popular animated movies like “Find Nemo” as well as movie classics like “Forrest Gump”.
There were multiple dining options available within the resort but the front desk suggested the Embers and Jamison’s Restaurants are best suited for children.
Jamison’s Restaurant – This restaurant serves breakfast buffet every morning and dinner buffets on weekends. The breakfast was pretty typical to what you would expect from a hotel buffet including hot foods, assorted breads, cereal and healthy choices like fruits, yogurt and smoothies. The live station provides a way to personalize your breakfast order with the Chef whether it be an omelette, poached or fried eggs. We especially enjoyed the tea and coffee selection available in the morning while the girls had their choice of juice. The opportunity to gaze at the Blue Mountains while sipping my morning tea was an added bonus.
The theme of the dinner buffet is based on the weekend night. Friday evening offers more of a classic buffet including hot meat choices, vegetables, salad bar, kid-friendly options, and gourmet cheese. The highlight for my kids was the desert bar including cakes, cookies and ice cream with a variety of toppings. Saturday evenings serve a Seafood buffet but we selected a different option on Seafood night (not my favorite kind of food).
Embers – This restaurant is located downstairs off the lobby and has a casual feel. The large fireplace and piano music created a nice ambiance.
The girls were each given a kids pack with 3D glasses and activity books. They needed it too because the food service was slow resulting in my husband missing part of the All Blacks/Wallabies Rugby game. He was not a happy camper and the kids were tired by the time we finished. The buffet is a much faster option for those visiting with family. They did attempt to rectify the situation by apologizing and bringing complimentary fries after realizing our food had not arrived.
The next morning the girls participated in the pony rides which are held on site at a small stable and riding arena. This is an extra cost but for $10 per child we felt it was worth it. My girls always jump at a chance to ride on a pony. The resort requests that you register the kids at the front desk to secure a spot. They each took a turn riding for 5-10 minutes guided by a trainer.
There were several other activities like Fairmont Express train rides, merry go-rounds and mini electric cars. These each come at a small cost and we were not available to try any of them. They offered Segway rides along the back of the hotel. These came at an additional cost as well and a schedule of times available for these activities can be found at the front or concierge desks.
The garden maze is located before reaching the horse stable and is complimentary. My girls ran through it in a matter of seconds but still something to do while waiting on pony rides.
The sprawling grounds hosted plenty of trees, manicured gardens and beautiful lakes.
Not traveling with kids? Or need a break from them? I hear you! There are plenty of adult activities available at the resort too! The Leura Golf Course, known as the oldest golf course in the Blue Mountains, can be found directly across the road from the Fairmont Resort. The picturesque views of the Jamison Valley can be seen during a round of golf. Tennis Courts are on site as well and complimentary equipment can be checked out from the front desk.
Or maybe you would prefer to the relax. The Spa allows you to choose from a variety of pampering treatments throughout the day. On Saturday and Sunday mornings work out the sore hiking muscles with a Yoga class.
The Lounge is the perfect place to grab a happy hour drink or even an afternoon coffee. Sitting on comfy chairs in front of the warm fire was the perfect spot to watch rugby! Go All Blacks!
Look at Andrew getting me a drink. He’s a keeper!
The resort has a kids’ club available for an additional cost during school holidays to give caregivers a break during the afternoons. The childcare option is set-up for ages 4-12 and the cost is $25 per child for a 2 1/2 hour block of time. We did not get a chance to take advantage on the weekend we visited but I read they keep them entertained with a slew of activities.
Check out Scenic World for a top tourist spots or simply ask a trail map from the front desk for the free walks directly off the resort. There are waterfalls and unique rock formations like the Three Sisters (seen below) that can be found a short dive down the road.