Have you ever been witness to sibling rivalry? Do you have personal experience with it? I know I have. In fact in my family it is ever present and will probably always be there. To me it’s often a good thing, making us strive that little bit extra to rise to the top, not in an aggressive or unpleasant way. More from a sense of pride and wanting to be the cream of the crop.
The story about to unfold is also about a sibling rivalry of sorts, although it takes its form in the shape of two luxury hotels in the totally gorgeous seaside village of Mollymook. Bannisters by the Sea and The Pavilion on the South Coast of New South Wales are situated within 800 meters of each other and while they’re owned and operated by the same company, they definitely have that sense of sibling rivalry. For example, big sister “Bannisters” is seen as the more stylish and educated over little brother “Pavilion” who, while still oozing a style and charm of his own, has a little capricious edge about him. A little fire in the belly, let’s say.
The two love each other no doubt, but it’s evident that both have their own bravura and energy. This is also very evident with the staff that drive each location. Always happy to talk up the merits of either property, they are loyal to their own and have great pride in making theirs the one to visit. Hoping that should you venture to the other side you will return to them post haste.
This is where I play the devil’s advocate, because I got to visit both and I found that as with most brothers and sisters, they both had plenty to be proud of and plenty of reason to be blowing their own trumpets!
So, as I now take on the persona of the favourite uncle, I’ll give you my take on what makes my pseudo nephew and niece so loveable.
Sitting proudly on the Mollymook headland, Bannisters by the Sea has undoubtedly got the prime position, with views out to the horizon and north up the coastline. She is all about class and sophistication, but still manages not to be over the top with her airs and graces. You can still be relaxed when you visit her but you’ll want to be seen to be fitting her form.
Her rooms are spacious, diverse and super tasteful, with nature looking right back at you from the surrounding bush and ocean views from you balcony. Being a fashionable girl, she typically has friends with similar style and this is why one of her BFF’s Collette Dinnigan has spent some time hanging with her and has designed and decorated penthouses that are a definite stand out. If you want top shelf then you must take a peak.
She loves to accommodate R & R as well and this is executed very nicely around the trademark infinity pool with a cocktail in hand or maybe a delicious gourmet pizza from her pool bar and kitchen.
If you want to take that relaxed vibe to another level then she will want you to spend a little time in her day spa with its retreat rooms and wonderful Hamman steam room. She does know how to pamper people.
Dining with her is a real treat and Rick Stein at Bannisters restaurant it a must-visit when you stay. I love that, once again, like her whole demeanour, there’s no overcomplicated offerings here. It may be a five-star dining experience but you certainly feel welcome and the atmosphere lends itself to not being pompous or stuffy at all. Great produce served simply, and Rick and the team do that ever so well. Just really yummy!
I won’t go on anymore as I don’t need to be seen as favouring her too much. So, let’s run the rule over her little brother.
Now, there is no doubt about it, this guy thinks he is pretty cool. The fact is, he is! He has a swagger, an unpretentious manner in the way he’s seen and esteemed. The Pavilion has such a laidback presence that it’s hard not to fall in love with him. He hangs out about 500 meters from the surf, his rooms have this relatable beach-chic feel while still delivering a contemporary and up-to-date experience. And he has the coolest top deck pool that hangs over the streetscape like he’s saying ‘here I am, come and play’!
You’ll definitely want to hang out in his Rooftop Bar and Grill as it’s not only a sweet, relaxed environment to hang and catch some rays in between a swim or a bite to eat from the menu packed with Mediterranean-Australian mouth-watering pleasures, but you’ll also find a terrific array of craft beers and creative cocktails to satisfy your thirst. Now, here’s where he takes it up a notch just to show big sister that little brother has got it all going on. He has a really cool Sunday session on the rooftop that says ‘here’s cheers to the weekend had’. Here he loves to entertain the growing mix of locals and visitors alike with live music from 4pm. The combination of sweet tunes, swaying palms, relaxing lounge chairs and a food and beverage menu that is class without complication you’ll be hard pressed to think about Monday!
Who is my favourite? Well that’s hard to say really, and I don’t want to get scrubbed from the Christmas list. So, I’ll just have to keep visiting them both and show that Uncle will always love them both equally.
Best you do the same and then you can tell me who’s your favourite!
The Bannisters siblings are an easy 3 hour drive from Sydney airport, 2 and ½ hours from Canberra, and under 2 hours from Wollongong. Drop in and say gidday.