Two weeks ago, in much need of a change of scenery and a pick-me-up, I headed into the hills of Perth with my partner’s mother to the Fawkes House Country Spa Retreat for a mid-week getaway.
It was a lovely stay – and one we had badly needed! If you’re looking for a beautiful rustic country getaway, this is it.
I’ve never visited the Perth hills area much and I always forget how beautiful and stunning it can be. Fawkes House is half an hour’s drive out of the city, set amid lush green hills, farmhouses and stunning coloured foliage. The air was fresh and crisp, and we definitely felt like we were out in the country here! The views were amazing and there were lots of wineries and scenic driving routes within close reach. Lots of people tend to head down south to areas like Margaret River and Yallingup for weekend getaways out of the city, but Pickering Brook, with its gorgeous scenery, vineyards and quaint shops felt just like the South-West without us having to make the four or five hour road trip.
(Also, this might be the time to apologise for the poor quality of my photos – I forgot my camera so I ended up taking pictures on my iPhone. They could have been better, but the weather was also cloudy and grey and so unfortunately that made for poor lighting!)
Fawkes House is an adorable Federation-style little country house that was bought and lovingly restored and further developed by the owners, Caroline and Richard. They were away on holidays when we arrived, but there was another couple (friends of the owners) who were there to look after us and cook us all our meals. We were also greeted by the friendly resident cats, Lucy and Lilli! Now, they don’t look too friendly in the pictures below – I suspect they don’t take well to cameras – but they were really sweet, always twirling round our legs and rubbing up against our feet.
The grounds of Fawkes House were stunning. We were placed in the The Coach House, a mini cottage a short walk through the beautiful gardens away from the main house. The Coach House used to be, well, as you’d guess it, the old coach house, lovingly restored with the most adorable quaint country-style furniture and knickknacks. And we had our own private courtyard, with a stunning view of the vineyards across the road!
There was also a complimentary bottle of port complete with cut-glass sherry glasses and a selection of teas for our after-dinner imbibing pleasure.
My favourite knickknack in the cottage? These volumes of Practical Knowledge for All.
On our first day, we arrived just in time for the massage and facial treatments that were a part of the mother-daughter overnight package we had opted for. We dropped our things off at the Couch House and walked through the gardens to the spa to meet the ladies who would be doing our massages and facials. We’ve had quite a stressful time over the last several months, so it was heavenly to be able to lie down on a table and get pampered. The massages and facials were wonderful and they lasted a pretty good length of time too – most of the afternoon – and I have to say they were worth every penny.
Thoroughly relaxed, we headed back to our cottage where we spent the rest of the evening taking turns chilling in the spacious jacuzzi tub in the bathroom and sipping our complimentary bottle of champagne before heading to dinner. There was also a cheese and fruit platter, but we didn’t want to spoil our appetites before dinner!
We had already prepped Fawkes on the menu we wanted for our three-course gourmet meal that night so everything was in ready for us when we walked over to the main house. I had opted for soup for the appetiser and it was absolutely delicious. Next was salmon with a lemon sauce, served with steamed vegetables and potato au gratin. Here, we had no trouble at all polishing off our plates! Finally, there was dessert – we had both opted for creme brûlée, which though came out beautiful, was a little bit disappointing – the mixture was a little lumpy and too eggy and rough, and not at all like the smooth, sweet creme brûlée we were used to. The main high point, though, was the sweet burnt top – as I was already quite full from the rest of the meal, I opted just to eat the sweet shards on the top. Still, that was the only down point in a very satisfying meal that was obviously home cooked with lots of love by our charming hosts.
Stuffed with food and champagne, we headed back to our cottage to relax under the luxurious crimson throws while watching a little TV and heading to bed early. We both slept like tops – it must have been a combination of the relaxing massages, good food and fresh country air.
Stay tuned for the next post on our remaining day at Fawkes!