It was not just coronavirus that sent me running to the hills for self-isolation – my need for time out had been mounting for a long time before the world ground to a slow spin. It was a coincidental opportunity that presented the chance – and that’s surely what life is all about.
For years I’ve worked with one of our region’s most highly awarded hotels. I have so many stunning photos of Spicers’ lush gardens, luxe nooks, talented chefs in gleaming kitchens and day spa sanctuary that I could write a book. When they told me they were closed to guests, and staff were redeployed to grounds-keeping because of restrictions, I offered to share all my images as posts and blogs online to keep their story fresh and remind past guests how special this resort really is.
In turn, they needed some caretaking – and so I moved into an empty hotel to ‘take care’ of us both.
Just imagine. When would the world pivot so dramatically that an often booked-out, five-star retreat would be closed, except to me? I can give only one other example that did not stop the whole world, but certainly mine. After 9/11 I was stranded in Ireland, jobless and poor. The very palatial Ashford Castle was near my family’s farm, usually an enclave for the rich and famous but decimated by the slump in American tourism. I booked into the only room I could afford, heavily discounted, slept in an antique bed and I learned falconing – earning the trust of a huge and dangerous bird. It was my first insight into the world of luxury travel.
This past, blissful week I was sequestered in my Spicers Tamarind eco-cabin with a wood fire, cocoon bath overlooking a floral garden, a huge range of streaming choices, chef’s takeaway Thai food some nights, and my tree-surrounded deck that was frequented by birdlife and a ponderous possum. There were just two staff to wave at as I walked the rainforest pathways and discovered herb and native gardens I’d never noticed before.
I read and slept, improved my firemaking skills, worked every day by laptop, and posted with passion about the experience of staying here that everyone can soon enjoy again. I mostly did all this in my stylish Spicers bathrobe. I reset my inner clock and stopped looking at one. I was present and breathing deeply.
As the doors to our hotels reopen, I urge every Sunshine Coaster to make the most of the local stays we have to enjoy – they will need you and you deserve it.