Stone Xi’an warriors stand sentinel at the entrance way to the enticing hideaway Dantosa Blue Mountains Retreat but really there should be a sign – “Warning! Addictive”.
Set amid the lush landscape of the Blue Mountains National Park, Dantosa isn’t a resort but it has all the comforts of one. It isn’t quite a holiday rental, though it was once a family home. It’s a compelling combination of the two that makes for a stay so relaxing and secluded that check-out time comes far too quickly.
There are two houses set within the retreat’s nine acres of largely European-style gardens. Dantosa House is the main building and has palatial living areas and a vast kitchen, while the charming Dantosa Cottage was the property’s original farmhouse.
Dantosa House has a large terrace overlooking the gardens and its living room stays cosy in winter with the help of a Norwegian wood fireplace and central heating. The four bedrooms sleep up to nine people and beds can be arranged in various configurations to accommodate families, couples, colleagues or friends.
A full complement of kitchenware, including a well-stocked spice drawer, makes preparing meals for large groups easy but local chefs will arrive to take charge of the kitchen if guests prefer to luxuriate than create.
Dantosa Cottage is smaller but just as comfortable, with three bedrooms sleeping eight people. Relax and enjoy glorious views from the patio and living area.
Both houses overlook over a gorgeous lake that’s used for summertime swimming and kayaking. A floating lake house that holds 20 people sits in the middle of the lake with windows on all four sides. The attractive timber structure is reached by a wooden walkway and is complete with sofas, a slow-combustion woodfire heater, high, sloping ceilings and a deck on which to relax.
While it’s tempting to do very little at all except take in the view, there are some experiences at Dantosa you really shouldn’t miss. Among the many things the property’s managers will happily organise for you are wine tastings (conducted by local vignerons in the property’s incredible underground, triple-vaulted brick cellar), massages in the lake house and cooking classes in Dantosa House’s enormous kitchen.
There’s also a tennis court for those who play and a gazebo for those who’d prefer to watch while sipping a G&T. Or why not meet somewhere in the middle? Set up a game of boules in the stunning gardens complete with old-growth trees, ponds and plants that provide colour all year round – a wall of purple hydrangeas in summer; the warm hues of the trees in autumn. In winter there is sometimes snow, adding a layer of white to the array of colours.
At nine acres, the sheer size of the property makes it an incredible spot for groups, whether it’s a family reunion, a corporate retreat, or a week of quality time for old friends. The two houses will accommodate a full contingent of extended family, or a cohort of colleagues for a midweek trip.
Bookings at Dantosa are exclusive – guests won’t see another soul during their stay and that’s part of the property’s appeal. It’s close to the busy town centre of Katoomba and Leura with their antique shops, bookstores and cafés, but it feels miles from anywhere.
It’s fitting that Dantosa sounds so much like santosa – a Sanskrit word meaning contentment. Dantosa should perhaps have its own definition: a feeling of deep peace and relaxation to be shared with others.