Ocean View Villa

Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia Book from AU$1,200

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Charming timber and stone beach house with magnificent ocean views, just 50 minutes' drive from Sydney (sleeps 6-8)
Built as a beach house in the 1940's, when Palm Beach was fast becoming the summer retreat of choice for smart Sydneysiders, this villa gets top marks on all counts. The location: high on a hillside overlooking the ocean, with bone-shaped Barrenjoey Head dividing Palm Beach from sheltered Pittwater. The grounds: an acre of native bush with no immediate neighbours, hiding a beautifully located pool and heated spa. And the style: a smart exterior of slate grey weatherboard, white woodwork and stone landscaping.

Interiors are a successful blend of Art Deco detail and Scandinavian simplicity, with nautical and Indonesian touches on blindingly white walls. There are plenty of original features - period lights, a flamboyant fireplace, built-in dressing tables in the 4 bedrooms - but this is no time capsule; you've all the mod cons you could wish for, from WiFi to washing machine. Perfect for families and groups of friends - you'll not want to leave.

Highs

  • Stunning vistas from the best end of Palm Beach
  • Delightful 1940's details installed by the original bon vivant owners, David and Mickey McNickel (he later lost the house in a poker game)
  • The swimming pool and hot tub perched on the side of the hill
  • The outside spaces - terraces, balconies, sundeck, garden, BBQ area
  • Only five minutes walk to the beach
  • Be as active or lazy as you want: lots to do in the vicinity, but it's also a divine spot to sit and do nothing

Lows

  • As you'd expect in an old beach house, some of the rooms are small (but well laid out)
  • No ensuite bathrooms - one bathroom upstairs, one shower room downstairs
  • 2 week minimum stay over Christmas & New Year
  • Very popular in high season - book ahead!

Best time to go

'Palmy', as it's known, is stunning all year round and is renowned for its surfing. In the summer (Nov-March) the suburb can get crowded; in winter (May-Sept) it is blissfully empty, as residents retreat to their Sydney homes and tourists stay away - but swimming at that time of year is only for the heartiest types.

Our top tips

We loved the boutiques and homeware stores in Palm Beach and Avalon - bring plenty of credit, and space in your luggage!

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Villa
  • 4
  • Self-catering; restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

On the top floor are 3 double bedrooms. All of them are light, sunny and very simply decorated, with white walls and ceilings, white counterpanes, and seagrass matting on the floor. The master bedroom has French windows opening onto its own balcony overlooking the sunbathing deck and Barrenjoey Head. The bed is kingsized and there is a colourful woven armchair and a built-in 1940s dressing table and mirror, as well as a floor-standing fan. A saucy nude hangs over the bed. The second kingsized bedroom has the same white linen and plump pillows, fitted furniture, ceiling fan and TV, and looks serenely out over the pool to the ocean beyond. The third has a queensized bed and is smaller, but has its own small balcony overlooking the pool.

Downstairs, off the kitchen, is a bunk bedroom with an old liferaft on the wall and lovely pre-war photos of Palm Beach. It too overlooks the Ocean and pool. All bedrooms have built-in cupboards and good storage.

The main bathroom is above the kitchen, with a bath and shower done in original Art Deco blue tiling. The downstairs bathroom, off the kitchen, doubles as the laundry room and has a shower only.

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The pure white kitchen runs off the hall, its white appliances and crockery offset by Indonesian pots and masks. Fully equipped with fridge freezer, oven, microwave, and a laundry room next door with washing machine and dryer, there's all you need for a comfortable stay - including bottles of Moet and Chablis in the fridge on arrival!

Take your pick where to eat. You can have breakfast in the kitchen - there's a small table with refectory benches - or on the sun deck overlooking Barrenjoey Head (beware the cheeky rainbow lorikeets who will cadge food from you!). For lunch, there is a BBQ area on the shady side of the house, with table, chairs and a gas-fired grill. Or inside there's a table for 6 in the open plan living-dining room, with great views over the ocean.

There are plenty of delis and grocery shops around; the nearby suburb of Avalon is renowned for the quality of its food shops.

But don't work too hard in the kitchen - there are excellent cafes and restaurants in Palm Beach, Pittwater and Avalon. We particularly liked Barrenjoey House; others nearby include Ancora, Beach Road, Prontos Cafe and Jonah's (the nearest, at about 800m). A list of recommended places with contact details is in the house. You can also arrange dinner party catering for that special occasion.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Microwave
  • Oven
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk down to famous Palm Beach - the steps are just across the road - for an early morning swim, a walk or a picnic lunch; it's also a mecca for surfing
  • Its a 1/2 hour hike to the Victorian Barrenjoey Lighthouse which thrusts above the bush to command views west over Pittwater to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and north across Broken Bay and the mouth of the Hawkesbury River
  • There's a very good 9-hole golf course on the Pittwater side of Barrenjoey Head
  • You can go sailing on the Pittwater side of the spit
  • Keen walkers will love the extensive Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, a classic mix of sandstone, bushland and water vistas, which also hides Aboriginal engravings; either drive round to the other side of Pittwater, or get a boat across
  • Make the most of your pool, balconies, terraces, sun room, shady garden and hammock; if you need help relaxing, book a masseuse

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Sailing
  • Surfing
  • Swimming

Kids

Children are welcome and will love scrambling around the bushy garden, the pool and trying to stay in the hammock. The house is less suitable for toddlers given the steep slopes below. Older kids who like watersports and exploring National Parks will enjoy the local area's attractions.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

There's a bunk room for kids downstairs

Babysitting:

Available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

  • High chair
  • Microwave

Kids Activities on site:

  • Fenced pool
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Foxtel multi-channel TV

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Close to Palm Beach
  • Pittwater has sailing
  • Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park has picnic, boating and fishing plus great hiking
  • Sailing Club
  • Surf School
  • Sports Centre with facilities for soccer and tennis

Families Should Know:

The pool and spa pool have safety gates around both

Distances:

  • Airport 1 hour
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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Rates for Ocean View Villa