Ashleigh Sharman takes in the crisp air of the Blue Mountains’ Blackheath and discovers wellness personalised at Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges.
Travel beyond the typical Blue Mountains tourist destinations of Katoomba and Leura, pass through Medlow Bath and you’ll arrive at Blackheath. A quiet, sleepy kind of suburb where the air is crisper and nights are cooler, Blackheath welcomes Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges.
Sprawled across 28 acres, and adjoining the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, one of the newest ventures from the Escarpment Group delivers a quintessentially European sensibility with its manicured grounds and sweeping bush land surrounds — all for the enjoyment and wellbeing of guests, personalised of course.
For wellbeing and wellness at Parklands Blackheath adheres not to a mantra of yoga at dawn, green smoothies at brunch and bone broth for tea, rather it is about an individual experience of fulfilment, relaxation and bliss, with no two experiences alike.
“The client journey truly starts at the reservation process and all aspects of wellness are incorporated on a case by case basis,” group spa manager, Roxanne Campbell explains.
“We can deliver whatever a client desires from a personalised chef, cooking classes and private yoga lessons to detoxifying spa treatments, champagne high tea and a guided garden visit. We don’t sell packages yet, for the moment it’s about a one-on-one experience.
“Our guests are looking for a complete getaway and our reservations team are tuned into this. Personalised services have become such a luxury now so it’s a concept we are trying to develop,” says Roxanne who recommends a three-day stay to enjoy most of the experiences on offer.
As you turn into the sweeping Parklands drive you’ll be forgiven if you think you’ve arrived at a grand English country estate with its garden cottages, cobbled paths, conservatory-style dining areas and cosy main house fitting into the bush landscape and draped in the regions trademark misty mountain air. There’s even a duck pond to encourage a meditative mood perfectly balanced by the serene artwork that adorns the walls and crackling fireplaces that keep guests in hibernation mode.
And this is the very heart of Parklands, striving to balance in each guest a sense of calm and serenity with activities that truly nourish the soul, enliven the senses, pamper and restore the body.
Having already transitioned existing Escarpment Group spas, at Lilianfels and Echoes, to the Kerstin Florian range, Roxanne admits being most excited about creating the treatment menu at Parklands — transforming the upper level of the main house to a sanctuary of tranquillity.
“Kerstin Florian ties in well in regards to our philosophy of wellness. From nutrition to spa treatments, we know all elements of wellbeing suit our client base and Parklands gives us the space to really show that off,” she says of the ‘inspired wellness’ that the Kerstin Florian brand promotes through outer beauty and inner health.
Parklands Spa treats guests to a range of holistic spa rituals including facial and massage therapy, hand, foot and body treatments, and curated spa packages in addition to a selection of exquisite soak therapy treatments. These algae, mineral and herbal wellness baths enriched with dried herbs, flowers and essential oils are a Parklands signature guaranteed to warm, relax and refresh after a day exploring the mountain trails — and the perfect way to sample some of the bounty of the Parklands kitchen garden.
An exciting addition to the community of Blackheath, Parklands’ organic kitchen garden follows the vision of the late Thomas Kerslake (the property’s full-time gardener from the late 19th century). Garden beds covering an area of 4000 sqm feature various fruit orchards, rose gardens, compost area and workshop that provide seasonal fruit and vegetables not only for Parklands but other Blue Mountains properties within the Escarpment Group — this vision forming part of the property’s reputation, history and commitment to sustainable luxury tourism.
“Parklands has such a rich history and the gardens alone have an immense reputation so there are a lot of curious locals about who are excited to re-experience the property and we are seeing a 50/50 split of new and local guests,” says Roxanne who adds that this reputation, added to the property’s carefully prepared individual experiences, requires unique training.
“We conduct extra inductions with staff to reinforce our vision that it’s all about the guest — even more so than they are used to when working in a luxury environment. Even though it’s a smaller team there more workshops, more spa trainings. Seeing guests more frequently, owing to a lower guest to staff ratio, the service-element of what we do can greatly affect daily wellbeing.”
Parklands acknowledge that wellness and wellbeing cannot be defined by others; rather they are a personal endeavour towards inner contentment. Whether indulgence is sought by way of fine wine and food, hours spent at a spa day or simply being still amongst nature, it is this individual experience that allows guests to experience a slice of the good life that the area was once so famous for.