Luxury House Review – Bay Keepers Cottage, Jervis Bay

Our definition of luxury holidays has changed. Its more than simply a lovely hotel room or thousand count bedlinen (though we do love both!) Many brands do a good job on the physicality of a stay but miss the other elements which create the feeling of luxury. Perhaps that’s why Supercalla Private Properties is unique. It’s the newly launched brainchild of Bede Hunt, a doyen of local and international luxury hospitality brands including the oh so exclusive Spicers Sangoma Retreat. Business and life partner Rob Glenn is the creative and design lead having been commissioned by the worlds top fashion brands including the likes of General Pants.  This a power duo who know style, design and how to make you feel a million dollars!

Pre Arrival: We receive a welcome email asking questions from the type of pillows we like, to the kind of milk we drink so that our stay is individually crafted. Hello luvva! A week before we leave, we get another email with logins to a hub which shares everything about our stay from getting into through the front door to how to operate the oven.

The Journey to Jervis Bay

Our holiday starts the minute we get in the car. Bede has sent through our ‘Private Itinerary’ which is a curated journey in collaboration with Kristy Franks . We peruse our beautiful six page program. First stop is Berry.

The Berry Tea Shop – We are told to ‘ask for Paulina’ at the Tea Shop. So mysterious, so exciting! We arrive and the town is humming.  The tea shop is as cute as a button. Shelves are lined with beautiful teapots, decadent tea cups and rows of loose leaf teas that evoke calm, healing and even promise to make you feel ‘All Woman’ and just a bit more darn sexy!! A stunning overhead floral display along with table & chairs dotted around the socially distanced room entice us to stay longer. The lovely team invite us to stop for a cuppa and scones but instead we opt to take them on the journey onwards after purchasing a more than a few teas. The surprise is an additional bottle of mulled wine.

Jim’s Wild Oyster Farm – These guys are pretty famous and it’s been on our to do list for a while. We are told to ‘ask for Sally’, funnily enough we have already been chatting over FB. Sally greets us with her fabulous smile as we pull into the oyster farm. Set on the edge of Crookhaven River, Jim’s Oyster farm has been in the family for generations. Dad Jim has won a number of ‘fastest shucker’ competitions and the winning aprons are hung up as trophies in the main room. Sally shares how their rock oysters are spawned, developed and grown into the 3 year old’s we are about to eat. We have a newfound respect (guilt) for these beautiful molluscs and those who care for them. Sally teaches us two ways to shuck and voila! Behold! A joyous glistening plate. The Kristy Franks experience means that there is a surprise bottle of Louis Roederer. We head to a table outside by the river and order a kilo of QLD King prawns and lunch is done. Champagne, oysters, sunshine, water – could life get any better?

Bay Keepers Cottage

Arrival – After 15 years of travel writing I can tell you this bit is never good. This is how it often goes, “Where are the keys? I dunno, did you read the email? Which email? Where is the location of the key box? Do you have the code? I can’t find the box. I am putting the numbers in but it’s not working. Do you have their phone number?” and so on. Arrival can be a brutal relationship killer. The Supercalla experience is different. Like Mary Poppins, the ever stylishly dressed, handsome Bede appears and is waving to us from the balcony.  We find ourselves in a happy emotional land of cartoon dancing penguins. Bede helps us with our luggage, up the stairs and into the house.

The Welcome – At best, most welcomes are a card which says hello. Not here. Bede has already made his way to the kitchen and is opening a bottle of champagne and pouring glasses for us. We like this – Yes, very much. This is a luxury hotel experience but at an Airbnb. Bede guides us around Bay Keepers, pointing out its quirks, the special spots he loves such as catching the afternoon sunset on the wrap around balcony and the firepit at the back of the garden. We are literally falling in love with this place in anticipation of it all. The attention to detail is everywhere.

Location – Bay Keepers is on the south side of Jervis Bay. This may not mean much but it’s where you want to be. Within a few minutes’ drive are the big supermarkets, but also the hub of Huskisson which acts as the capital city of Jervis Bay. Other locations look close on Google Maps, but the reality is a big round trip journey from the coast to motorway and back into the coast again. There isn’t a coastal road to connect the beaches. The house is set up on a hill. It’s what Mosman must have looked like years ago – headlands and greenery. It’s a little bit like staying in a forest with views to the sea.

The House – This is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. One of the bathrooms is accessed from outside. Our stay coincides with one of NSW biggest storms in 50 years. WE ARE NOT GOING OUT. So, it’s worth noting that it suits a family with children or very considerate couples who are all willing to share a bathroom. No ensuites here.

Main bedroom with doors onto the balcony

Bedrooms – Attention to detail is everywhere. On a chilly evening, we pick up one of the stylish throws to bring into the lounge… its WARM! Woo! Electric blankets have already switched on so you can get into your deliciously warm bed whenever you like. Beautiful bedlinens, towels, our personalised pillows, bathrobes and even hotel-style slippers are all here.

Appelles toiletries, artisan bath salts and ooooh that bath

Bathroom – The bathtub might be from a different era, but we love it for good reason! Its deep, long and was created when bathtubs were just that, indulgent. Locally sourced range of scrubs, salts and soothing botanicals are in eco jars, along with candles and long stemmed matches that just say… “relax we have you”. We run a bath and delight in the delicious roar from the rain pounding the tin roof. Full size Appelles Apothecary toiletries create a hotel-like shower experience the next day.

We could spend hours more on that sofa…

Lounge – This is the hub of the house. It’s everything you want your cottage stay to be. Exposed brick walls, black and white rugs, red timber and white walls. We spend hours on the comfy sofa, ogle at the stylish armchairs and rest our feet on the ottoman. A bookshelf with goodies from books, magazines and curated games such as Monopoly and Taboo means that whilst a top spec TV packed with streaming brands like Netflix it is never used. Even things like lighting are perfect, You can read your book but it’s not at the cost of romance or a harsh glare.

Kitchen and dining area

Kitchen and Dining – This is where Supercalla experience explodes! After a few glasses of champagne not only can we not drive, we don’t want to go out. Normally that would mean scrambling to find a halfway decent takeaway. Here, the kitchen has been stocked like a Simon Johnson providore. The fridge has beautiful organic produce such as Nic and Erica Dibden’s Tilba Jersey cream milk and yogurt, though to Eden Valley smokehouse salmon and streaky bacon. The pantry has things like potato and ham soup, Heinz baked beans, tuna, quinoa, and pasta. A stylish range of teas from The Berry Tea House and Nespresso means you are sorted.

Dinner by Mills+Franks – Now this is off the charts cool! Not only are we loving the handwritten blackboard welcoming us to Bay Keepers but we have our own private dining experience ready to go! A stylish personalised menu reveals dinner for the night (instructions on the back), printed with our names and it starts off with Jim’s Wild Oysters, onto mains of crab linguini and finishes with petit fours. Every course is matched to a different bottle of wine, which is in the fridge. Now we feel like a TV chef. Everything has been portioned, chopped and is fresh. Sourcing is from local farmers and producers around the region. This is Ready, Steady, Cook on sustainable steroids. Needless to say we finish off the Mumm, down the oysters and within 10 minutes dinner is on the table. GOOD- night!

Veranda & Garden – We would love to share our experience with you but we entered into a different type of lock down as gales raged and storms hit. In fact this made it all the more perfect. We have a beautiful warm home that we want to shut out the world from. We could have enjoyed the fire pit, the lovely gardens or lounged on the day beds on the wrap around balcony. We didn’t. Did we care? – Nup!

The Verdict

They say its not the destination but the journey, but this holiday starts a lot earlier than getting into our car.

We are Addicted to: We didn’t rent a house, we had an experience. This was five-star service end to end from the amazing journey down south in our car to the welcome and the thoughtful touches everywhere. The house is styled beautifully. Sustainable in its approach. Artisan led.  Its classy, confident and oh so homely.

To get us more Addicted: Work in progress like a fireplace are all on the horizon but that’s its charm – it’s been lived in, loved and renovated. Access to another bathroom inside the house would be awesome but structurally hard to do. So, have it to yourselves if you can, like we did.

Supercalla Private Properties Bay Keepers Cottage, Vincentia
Mills + Franks and
Kristy Franks – for a design your own experience trip
The Berry Tea Shop, Shop 1/ 66 Albert Street, Berry
Jims Wild Oysters, Lot 2/170 Greens Rd, Greenwell Point
Daily Addict Dining Guide to the South Coast

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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