Tumbling Waters Retreat executive chef Thierry Molimard is so highly regarded for his fine cuisine it even recently attracted a visit from Australia’s Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.
Mr Molimard is French and learned his craft in Europe.
At Tumbling Waters he uses all his experience and knowledge to do everything from menu design, purchasing, staff rostering and supplying meals of the highest standard to guests attending weddings and many other events in the cliff top function rooms, accommodation guests in many of the six units overlooking Stanwell Park and members of public who can dine in the upper level restaurant at weekends.
And when he is not in charge of running the functions his wife, Rosemaria Molimard, fills that role while he looks after patrons enjoying what could arguably be the best fine dining view in the world.
They have previously filled similar roles on private yachts travelling the globe but no matter where he is Mr Molimard gets his greatest joy from designing and cooking new and varied meals every day made from the freshest top quality produce.
It is a creative process that has seen him impress the most discerning food connoisseur.
And when he does that is when he finds his job most satisfying.
Fortunately for business owner and boss Sonja Keller he does that every day and his food is one of the many key elements that makes Tumbling Waters such a quality experience for guests mainly from Sydney.
Mr Molimard said having the job he had at Stanwell Tops was the best job in the world because it had the best of everything.
“The beautiful surrounding and serene breathtaking view over the Pacific Ocean you get to experience from Tumbling Waters Retreat made the transition to get back on land easy,” he said.
“Also Tumbling Waters Retreat being a small boutique hotel means I can offer a fine dining experience and a more personalised service which I highly value.”
Mr Molimard said the key to his success and growing popularity among Sydney visitors was preparation.
He said it was also great having such a good and supportive boss in Mrs Keller who let him put his own personality and passion in to everything he does.
Tumbling Waters Retreat certainly has the wow factor and is arguably the most stunning venue on the South Coast, it is a sure way to impress your guests or the one you love.
The boutique retreat is becoming a popular international wedding destination venue, with couples travelling from as far away as the UK and Russia to experience the unique setting that Tumbling Waters has to offer.
Perched on the edge of the escarpment, the beautiful private gardens are perfect for garden ceremonies and photography.
The venue features a modern sandstone lodge with dance floor, 360-degree ocean and rainforest views that are scenically breathtaking, along with luxury accommodation. It is often referred to as a one stop wedding destination with all-inclusive wedding packages to suit all budgets.
The award-winning French executive chef Thierry Molimard will ensure your evening is filled with exquisite taste sensations and with the opening of the new restaurant “Dining on the Edge” every Friday and Saturday night you now have even more opportunity to sample the exceptional cuisine.
A visit to the restaurant is the perfect way to experience the style of service that certainly makes Tumbling Waters a venue in league of their own.
The ambience and quality cusine is perfect for special occassions. You can watch nature at play as the evening unfolds with canapes and a champagne cocktail followed by a five-course degustation menu … a sure way to impress the one you love.
If you want to make a weekend of it, Tumbling Waters has accomodation in the form of four Luxury Ocean Suites and one Bath House Cabin designed for couples.
No matter what the occasion Tumbling Waters will ensure you an event to remember and are the experts at intimate social celebrations with class and distinction that make a real impact.
The inspirational destination is perfect for conferences, business functions and day workshops.
Overlooking the rainforest and ocean the function room is available to hire from $550 per day and wireless internet is provided.
Conference packages are available and can include home baked delights for morning and afternoon tea and a selection of gourmet lunch options. It also includes all day tea, coffee, mineral water, orange juice and mints.
With Christmas just months away, a sure away to treat your staff to something extra special this festive season is to bring them to Tumbling Waters.
The retreat has some great Christmas corporate luncheon packages available
The best adults-only getaways
NEED a well-earned weekend escape? A special romantic retreat? Or perhaps just a break from the kids? The good news is that Australia is home to some of best luxury adult retreats in the world. So why not treat yourself – and your partner!
NEW SOUTH WALES
Tumbling Waters Retreat
This multimillion-dollar retreat sits on the edge of the Illawarra escarpment. The luxury ocean suite with private balcony, marble bathroom and castiron tub give you little choice but to surrender to some serious relaxation. The Bath House Cabin offers the definitive romantic experience. It features its very own hydrotherapy tub and private steam room – you’ll be glowing when you leave. A swim in the infinity-edge pool to savour the stunning panoramic views or a walk along the beach or Royal National Park will get you in touch with nature.
Dawn steals the show
Plush rooms, excellent food and spectacular views can make you feel like a movie star, writes Peter Vincent SUNRISE isn’t a time that couples serious about their weekend R&R will usually contemplate; not those without children anyway. But that’s what time my partner is woken on the first morning of our weekend away. When I say “woken”, I mean shoved awake – by me. My reason was the rare chance to witness a sunrise over the ocean, visible from our bed at Tumbling Waters retreat, perched on the clifftop high above Stanwell Park, south of Sydney. Wake up, babe! Wake up! Sun’s coming up.” She lifts her head briefly but the reply is unprintable.
Anyone watching the sun slowly peek over a vast, glassy sea while wrapped in fresh, plump hotel linen feels like a movie star. The real star at Tumbling Waters, however, is the mesmerising ocean view, framed to the north by the hang-gliding spot atop Bald Hill (at the southern edge of the Royal National Park), to the south by the lush canopy of Mount Mitchell and directly below us by Stanwell Park beach. Tumbling Waters opened for business in 2002 but has recently been improved by the addition of a restaurant. The site has quite a history. It was a lookout when real estate pioneer Henry Halloran developed Stanwell Tops BO years ago as a retreat for Sydney escapees. In the years before current owners, Sonja Keller and Andrew Bergmann, bought the 1.21 hectare property, it fell into disrepair, although the view was still sought after byvisitors to the Garden of Peace – a communal meditation centre on the site. Fast forward, though, and Tumbling Waters is a boutique couples’ getaway, with dining and massage services. It’s also handy to local pursuits, such as bushwalking and horse riding, and the excellent beaches of Wollongong’s northern suburbs are within reach. It’s also little wonder that Tumbling Waters is garnering a reputation as a tranquil and spectacular wedding reception venue, with four suites and a bathhouse (with steam room and spa) providing accommodation for a bridal party. Tumbling Waters offers a terrific four-course “private dining experience” as an optional extra for all guests. Ours was a genuine fine dining experience lasting three hours. Coffee and port are part of the deal, which at $125 ahead is on the pricey side but worth it. Our second day is spent exploring the rugged and beautiful coast leading to Wollongong, with a tasty lunch at the Scarborough Hotel – where bench seats near the cliff edge afford yet another gorgeous ocean view. Back at Tumbling Waters, we settle in for some serious downtime before heading home.
Sanctuary in the forest
Perched on an escarpment with sweeping ocean and bushland views, Tumbling Waters Retreat could sell itself on its views alone.
However, they have gone to great lengths to ensure that everything at this secluded retreat an hour south of Sydney caters for couples.
Take the baths. There are , of course, the bathtubs in each suite – made of marble, and big enough for two.
Then there’s the private bath house, which also features massage facilities, a steam room, and hydrotherapy tub for two.
And let’s not forget the infinity-edged pool which is perched on the edge of the escarpment and offers panoramic views.
Romantic dinners are another house specialty.
While the glass-walled dining room offers more of those amazing views, the chef can also organise gourmet hampers or special chargrilled dinners in your suite, in the cliff-edge gazebo or other scenic spots on the property.
Tumbling Waters’ location in the middle of the Royal National Park makes for a range of seductive day trips. From pristine swimming holes and isolated beaches to spectactular clifftop walks, there are plenty of picture perfect outings within easy distance.
Tumbling Waters Retreat – Stanwell Tops NSW
Get out of the big city and breathe a sigh of relief when, just an hour later, you arrive in paradise.
As you drive through the front gates of Tumbling Waters Retreat and catch a glimpse of the view of the beach below, your stress will literally dissolve.
Stanwell Park provides a gateway to Wollongong’s Grand Pacific Drive, which hugs the coastline south, featuring the new Sea Cliff Bridge. After a soak in the huge cast iron claw foot bath, you can relax on the balcony and take in the amazing views. A true delight is to dine in the gazebo, which is perched on the cliff edge.
Awake the next day to the sound of the waves and an audience of birds. Then make your way through the grounds to the infinity pool and spend the day lazing on a sun lounge. There’s also a steam room and spa, where you can finish your stay with a relaxing massage before heading back to the big smoke.
Romance Rating: A perfect escape for honeymooners and new couples.
The Daily Telegraph
With my birthday beckoning, swapping a night at an Asian city restaurant for a two-day escape on the South Coast seemed an ideal decision. Especially when the address was Tumbling Waters Retreat, at scenic Stanwell Tops. The journey took less than an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD, yet the atmosphere couldn’t have been further from city life.
Tumbling Waters is a tranquil luxury retreat not only for romantic couples, but for friends wishing to to spend quality time away from the frantic city life. Once you drive though the gates leading to the five-star sandstone establishment, you are greeted with a friendly bark from the resident canine, Bailey.
The suites are sumptuous, from the piped music and gently burning aromatherapy oils to the chilled bottle of complimentary champagne on the private terrace. And the ocean views are far reaching. The suites are spacious, airconditioned and feature polished floorboards, a marble bathroom with a tub for two, a chic yet practical kitchen, CD and DVD player and cable TV. There are some hidden surprises that only a sticky beak like me would find.
It didn’t surprise me to hear that Sonja, the hostess, spent many years flying with Qantas as a cabin services director. If this had been a long haul flight, it most certainly would have been first class. The attention to detail was exemplary.
It wasn’t long before the city was far away from my thoughts. Maybe that was something to do with the couple of hours I spent in the private bathhouse. A relaxing detox in the steam room and a refreshing dip in the hydrotherapy pool followed by a full body massage left me in perfect shape to prepare for dinner. There’s also an outdoor pool and spa for those wishing to bask in the sun.
Dinner started with champagne and canapes on the terrace, followed by a gourmet seven course meal in the glass walled dining room. The restaurant is fully licensed and also offers stunning views of the Pacific.
Should you wish to venture out, there are some beautiful beaches, waterfalls, secluded freshwater swimming holes and a choice of walking trails. For the more adventurous, take a Harley-Davidson drive along the scenic coastline, or for a real adrenalin rush, try tandem hang gliding from Bald Head. Horse riding, abseiling, golf, surfing and fishing are all within minutes of the retreat. Stanwell Park also offers a variety of quaint cafes and antique shops.
Reviewing luxury accommodation for this annual issue might seem like a dream assignment, but be in no doubt – it’s more trouble than it’s worth. I leave home a happy and content puppy, I return wanting to transform my whole life.
A few years ago, I was ready to drag the hubby and kids to a bohemian artist’s garret in Kangaroo Valley; then I had my heart set on a small alpaca farm in Robertson. And now, well… Stanwell Tops here we come.
I’m not sure how Andrew Bergmann and Sonja Keller (and baby Yann) would feel about leaving their multi-million-dollar sandstone retreat perched on the Illawarra escarpment overlooking the bush, the Pacific Ocean and the hamlet of Stanwell Park – but small details like that never stopped me from fantasizing before.
Everything about Tumbling Waters makes you want to leave home. The sublime view, the magnificent sandstone building, the luxurious appointments, a bath neither of you want to leave, the free champagne, the artworks, the private patio, the subtle smell of essential oils wafting through your suite, the expansive gardens, the ornamental pool and waterfall. Then there’s the thought of an in-house massage or hydrotherapy bath in the soon-to-be-completed “treatment” rooms.
I’d still have to make my own breakfast (everything is supplied in a chic kitchenette) and I’d be forced to eat out every night (there’s a dining room used currently for functions only, but it will be up and running for weekend guests early 2004) – but they are sacrifices I’m prepared to make. Ten minutes’ drive and I’d br bodysurfing at Stanwell Park, the most northerly of Wollongong’s northern beaches; 40 minutes on the train and I’d be at work.
Not that work really features in this grand plan: I plan on doing not much at all when I’m living at Tumbling Waters. I’ve just got to convince the other half that, this time, I’m really serious.
Sydney Morning Herald
Weekends Away – June 28,2003 by Kate Duthie
The trouble with visiting somewhere beautiful is that I tend to get very attached very easily and decide, impulsively, that I will move there and make it my permanent home.
This last happened in the Victorian town of Beechworth where, rather than simply enjoying my 24 hours there for what it was – a relaxing break in beautiful surrounds – I informed my city-loving husband that we should quit our jobs, sell our house and move there. We would open a bed and breakfast and fill it with successful, amusing guests. We would ski at the snowfields in winter and take leisurely bike rides in summer. (Back in Sydney, a life in a small country town seemed ridiculous. As if we could ever live away from the ocean.)
But it has happened again. This time I have fallen for Stanwell Park, the idyllic beachside community at the southern edge of the Royal National Park. Here we could have the small-time life, the city close at hand and that all important ocean-frontage.
My dreams are fuelled further by the fact that only an hour earlier we were fighting traffic on Parramatta Road; now we’re looking down at my future home town from high up on the expansive deck at Tumbling Waters, a couples only retreat at Stanwell Tops. We’re patting the owner’s dog, Bayley, and gazing across the Pacific from our vantage point at the edge of the Illawarra escarpment. Beside us the Lawrence Hargrave Stream tinkles into Tumbling Waters’ mineral pool then flows dramatically over the edge into the ocean.
Bayley was the first to meet us as we turned into the gravel driveway on Saturday afternoon, our mouths gaping at the view beyond the sandstone lodge. His barking brings the friendly co-owner, Sonja Keller, to the door and soon she is shaking hands and leading us away from the main building, where the three one-bedroom suites are all occupied, to the separate sandstone Candlestone Cottage that will be our home for the night.
More a large room with en suite bathroom than a cottage, Candlestone has polished wooden floors, white walls, a huge bed dressed with rich, dark dlue damask and red cushions. Two capacious blue armchairs flank a coffee table in front of sliding doors that lead to a private deck with ocean views through the gum trees.
A television, VCR, DVD player (DVD’s can be borrowed from the library) and hi-fi sit in a cabinet facing the bed, and a small marble-topped cupboard in the corner houses the fridge, food, cutlery and crockery supplies. In the fridge we find sparkling wine and chocolates, plus our breakfast supplies of fresh bread, muffins, jams, milk and yoghurt. There are also a selection of teas, fresh coffee, a plunger, toaster and microwave. It seems nothing has been overlooked.
The bathroom is particularly inviting with its polished marble tiles, cast-iron bath built for two, enormous shower and two fluffy white bath robes hanging from a hat stand. The entire cottage is spotlessly clean and the stereo’s plinky plonky music, coupled with the waft of recently burned essential oils, make it a very relaxing space.
It’s after 2pm so we head of to poke about in Stanwell Park, four kilometres down the hill, before it gets dark. We join the locals at Ruby’s Revival Cafe for apple, parsnip and thyme soup followed by a long walk on the beach. It’s a gorgeous day and we envy these people their real-life version of SeaChange.
As the sun starts to set we’re drawn back to our cosy cottage. Before long George Michael’s on in the bedroom, the wine cork has popped, the bathtub is full and we’re up to our necks in bubbles and face packs. Later, wrapped in robes, we sink like Lilliputians into the armchairs and graze the saturday papers. We spend the evening watching DVD’s drinking wine and eating Thai from a local takeaway recommended by Sonja (the retreat’s restaurant is still awaiting council consent).
The next morning is sunny but chilly, giving us the perfect reason to turn up the heat stay snuggled inside with our generous breakfast supplies. Once the sun warms the day, we’re out and at it.
After a few minutes’ drive we’re on top of Bald Hill, hopping to spot some of the migrating whales that swim past between June and August. Famous for it’s stunning views down the coast towards Wollongong and beyond, Bald Hill is also historically significant. This is where, in November 1894, Lawrence Hargrave changed the coarse of aeronautical history by scrambling aboard a column of box kites and flying his contraption for five metres.
The flying theme continues as we join daytripping bikers and families spilling out of cars to watch hang-gliding enthusiasts run towards the cliff edge then gently lift into the air, buoyed by the warm currents.
From here we begin the journey home along the gorgeous road through the Royal National Park, stopping to walk the stunning coastal path, pull into strategically placed lookouts and visit the tiny hamlet of Otford.
Mmm, Otford. Now that’d be a nice place to live.
Establishments featured in Weekends Away are visited anonymously by Herald writers, who pay their own way.
The Daily Telegraph
April 8,2003 by James Shrimton
You wake to the screeching of cockatoos in flight. Then you step out on to the balcony to confront the dawn and one of those panoramas of which you could never tire: the ocean, forests, a village, birds foraging for breakfast in the trees.
The only sound – apart from the cockies – is the rolling surf 275m below the Tumbling Waters Retreat on the cliffs at Stanwell Tops.
Opened last year, the retreat is billed as the Wollongong area’s first five-star accommodation, 30km north of NSW’s third largest city and an hour’s freeway drive from Sydney.
As a romantic hideaway, Tumbling Waters would be hard to beat. Designed as a sanctuary for couples, it comprises three elegantly-furnished suites in a sandstone lodge, plus a separate sandstone cottage nearby.
Owners Sonja Keller and partner Andrew Bergmann (who live upstairs in the lodge) selected the sandstone themselves from a quarry at Bundanoon. Other features include polished floorboards, and the marble bathroom has a tub with room for two.
Champagne is on ice for arriving guests. Also in the kitchenette are ingredients for the next day’s DIY breakfast – cereals, eggs, bacon, yoghurt, bread, butter, tea and coffee.
Dinner in the restaurant can be served on request, but there are other options, such as cooking your own meal in your suite or on a barbecue or visiting one of several restaurants within easy reach of the retreat.
Lounge rooms have TV with both DVD and VCR players and a choice of 72 films. Binoculars are also thoughtfully supplied to give guests a close-up view of the flora and fauna which can include passing whales and dolphins off the village of Stanwell Park.
The birds flying over Tumbling Waters are sometimes joined by hang-gliders from their nearby Bald Hill launch pad.
In the retreat’s gardens are an ornamental “horizon” (wet-edge) pool, flowers, bushes and trees and wildlife including the cockatoos, rosellas, parrots, kookaburras, plus bearded dragons and other lizards. There’s also a large, friendly black bitzer and a sign at the entrance reads: “Our dog Bailey barks – he just wants to play ball”.
Sonja and Andrew don’t envisage increasing the retreat’s accommodation but hope to add a 10x4m pool with spa, steam and massage rooms in a now-disused building, as well as a 38-seat restaurant.
The property was first developed in the 1930’s by Henry Halloran, who planned to build a palatial hotel on the site. That never came to pass – some local residents opposed it and many other projects introduced over the years – and the land, under various owners, became a place for meditation (complete with hippies), a healing centre and popular picnic and lookout spot.