Wild Luxury’s two stunning homes offer a getaway that falls somewhere between a luxury hotel and a vacation home

We’ve all had this thought when booking a vacation: should I stay in a hotel or an Airbnb-type accommodation?

And both have their pros and cons. You have the opportunity to stay in a fabulous home in a remarkable location that you otherwise could not afford. But, if you book a hotel, you won’t need to cook your meals, you can most likely join a yoga class or similar, and there’s some sort of activity boss that organizes daily distractions. Wild Luxury tries to be both of these things.

“It takes humble Airbnb to the next level,” said Kim Ellis, co-owner of Wild Luxury. Large format. “It’s a new category of accommodation that sits somewhere between a vacation home and a luxury hotel.”

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It does this by offering what usually comes with a hotel – a concierge, a chef to prepare meals, a fitness instructor and tour guides – but also a house.

Wild Luxury has two properties – both in Sydney and both impressive. Crane Lodge is located approximately 40 kilometers from the Sydney CBD at Palm Beach, among lush gum trees and not too far from the peninsula’s beautiful beaches and other luxury homes. The bright, contemporary home features five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a yoga deck, pool, cedar hot tub, and fire pit. There are views of both the Pacific Ocean and Pittwater.

The second property, just as well equipped, is only accessible by water. Calabash Bay Lodge is on the beautiful waters of Berowra and to reach the house you drive to Berowra Waters Marina (about 60 mins from the CBD), park your car and the Wild Luxury Concierge will be waiting for you with a boat.

You pile your things on board and are escorted home via an easy 10-minute boat trip north along Berowra Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River. If you want the rockstar treatment, you can always book a seaplane to get there and back.

Large format stayed in Calabash and the modern lodge has four well-appointed bedrooms with comfortable linen bedding, an open-plan living area with a living room (with a TV with all streaming providers, mostly free) and a kitchen with everything you will need and more. We’re talking two ovens, two dishwashers, a wine cellar, elegant dinnerware, a sparkling water tap, the list goes on.

There are windows for days, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of the river. You can also watch the boats go by from the immensely deep tub in the upstairs bathroom.

Then there are the things outside: a terrace with lounges, a dining table and a barbecue for entertaining, and a small yoga room with its own terrace (you can have a local instructor stop by for a lesson ). At both houses, you can also hire a massage therapist or private chef to cook a meal for your crew.

Local chef Manuel Affarian of Secret Dining, who lives upriver, comes over to cook us a three-course dinner while we read and relax. We had chosen the menu before we arrived, and it comes with an interesting conversation from Affarian. And above all, we don’t have to do the dishes afterwards.

If you are staying at the Calabash Bay Lodge, it would be remiss of you not to also book lunch at Sydney’s neighboring dining establishment, the Berowra Waters Inn. Like the lodge, it’s only accessible by water – the restaurant’s boat will pick you up and take you to the elegant sandstone lodge where chef and owner Brian Geraghty and the team serve up a parade of well-received dishes. executed and extremely tasty accompanied by perfectly matched dishes. wines. Think raw mackerel with horseradish and kombu, Wagyu with punchy Hollandaise sauce and energetic desserts by one of this country’s most exciting pastry chefs, Lauren Eldridge.

Back home, the property has its own private jetty and comes with an easy to use boat that you don’t need a license to operate. You can explore the creeks and beaches – continuing north until the creek becomes the Hawkesbury River or returning to Berowra to admire the intriguing houses that line the river. The house also has kayaks, paddle boards and fishing rods.

The concierge can arrange a kayaking trip to the creeks that meander off the river, and it’s as relaxing as it is fascinating to explore the area. Southern Cross Kayaking organizes trips all over Sydney and plots a route around Calabash Bay. It’s a four hour paddle, and Cindy Budai and John Stefas help us spot birds and other sights. The trip includes a delicious morning tea on one of the beaches.

Berowra and the Hawkesbury River also have spectacular national parks, many with aboriginal sites created by the Dharug and Guringai peoples. Head up the hill behind Calabash and you’ll find the remains of a Federation-era sandstone hotel, the building of which was abandoned when a plan to build a bridge over Berowra Creek never came to fruition. That’s a good thing – it means today that the area remains a glorious pocket of nature very close to the city. And with Wild Luxury, those of us who can’t afford to live here can experience it in style.