Smiths Beach Resort hotel review
Perched on the cusp of the Margaret River region, Smiths Beach is one of Western Australia’s best-kept secrets. Tucked into the dunes behind the beach, Smiths Beach Resort let the cat out of the bag when it opened. Now, fresh from a soft refurb, the member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World is bringing a new kind of style to the humble Aussie beach holiday.
Traveller: Lisa Perkovic
Room: Three-bedroom ocean view villa
Address: 67 Smiths Beach Road, Yallingup, Western Australia
Date: July 2020
Best for: Those looking for a serious dose of beach chic without sacrificing the quintessential Australian holiday beach vibe. Spend the day getting sandy feet and salty hair at one of the world’s most dramatic coastlines before returning home to deep baths, fine dining and five-star views.
The Signature factor
Located inside Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, step out the front door of your villa, head out in any direction and you’ll hit landmarks. Across the road is the iconic namesake surf break, head left or right to hop onto the region’s famous Cape to Cape walking track along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge, Canal Rock’s Instagram-famous walkway is a 40-minute hike south and the Injidup Natural Spa another hour along.
A study in laid-back luxury, Smiths is designed for couples or families looking to base themselves well away from the rat race without losing the luxe life. There are ‘beach shacks’ – standalone cottages – but the real showstoppers are the one-, two- and three-bedroom ocean villas tiered back from the beach so that they peek out over the dunes.
Sand dunes, sunsets and surf. That’s what makes up the 180-degree view from our villa and it’s breathtaking. The villa lets that vista do all the talking. Gone is the heavier, darker furniture that competed with the horizon. New low line lounges and sleek outdoor furniture blends right in, so you can curl up with a book or take a bottle of wine outside and either way, soak up your surroundings. A single swivel chair right by the fire lets you choose to look in for conversation or look out for some contemplation. The entire look is chic, with dove greys and soft creams blending right into the polished concrete floors and Nordic wood. You’d think this property was fresh from an entire facelift, not just some new furnishings – thanks to the clever work of Perth-based designers Mobilia.
The three-bedroom villa gives you plenty of space to spread out – with two bedrooms and laundry downstairs, and upstairs the master bedroom and open plan kitchen, dining and living room. The master looks out at the back of the hill, so you’ll spend most of your time soaking up the view from the lounge, or on the substantial balcony. In summer, opening up the floor-to-ceiling balcony doors and firing up the barbecue would be the way to do it, in winter we turn on the fire, open a bottle of wine and send up for food from Lamont’s Restaurant downstairs.
The four-bedroom beach house is almost on the beach and soaks up the views from multiple balconies. Winter nights in front of the fire, perhaps hosting a wine and cheese tasting for the group as part of the resort’s new Signature Experiences, would be bliss.
On my plate
Lamont’s Restaurant is the domain of legendary WA chef Kate Lamont. The awards are numerous and the dishes are packed with local produce from the region. Light dishes like grilled halloumi, caramelised eggplant and goats cheese gnocchi are a welcome break from the region’s beloved decadent degustation menus, and the breakfast Wellness Smoothie will get you ready for an action-packed day. Operated separate to the hotel, it’s a shame it didn’t get a bit of the beach-chic up styling the rooms have received, but the food certainly still hits the spot.
I wish I could take home…
Fresh baked blondies and brownies piled high at Lamont’s front desk each morning are a temptation I probably shouldn’t have at home – on holiday they make the perfect mid-morning hiking snack.
Bring the wine to you during a brand-new four-hour Wine Masterclass hosted by local certified wine educator and winemaker Charlotte Newton. The Signature Experience is tailored to the group’s wine interests, from novice to wine connoisseur.
With the Margaret River region on your doorstep, there’s plenty of cellar doors and restaurants to keep you wined and dined. The resort can organise tours, but you don’t have to drive far to hit award-winning wineries.
In winter, there is no greater joy than returning to your villa after a few hours out foraging – pick up a fresh loaf of bread from Yallingup Woodfired Bakery, some oil, a few local cheeses and a bottle of wine, turn on the fire and enjoy.
It’s all about the view, but the master bedroom looks straight out at the road through the property. Lazy mornings in bed would feel less guilty if the view was in sight.
There was a hot tub or heated pool to soak weary feet after a day’s hiking. Villas look tantalisingly down on the outdoor pool but alas it’s too cold for a dip.
The final verdict
If you’re looking to bliss out at the beach, then this is the Western Australian spot for you. The new look and feel has really upped the ante, and with more to come, this spot stays on the return to visit list.
Where to find it
A three-hour easy drive south of Perth puts you firmly in Australia’s South West and on the beach. The resort is five minutes away from quaint shops and cafes of Yallingup. A car is a must, especially in winter when the ocean is far too fresh for the faint-hearted.