A New Kind of Bed & Breakfast

What do you think of when someone mentions a Bed & Breakfast?
For many, it conjures up memories of tiny rooms with uncomfortable beds and a shared bathroom across the hallway. I spent 6 years as an information consultant at VisitBritain in their Sydney office helping people plan out their self-drive holidays around the UK stopping at B&B’s and just knocking on the door to get a bed for the night. Unless it was peak season in the Lake District or a special holiday date such as May Day there was no need to even book in advance. The UK has so many fabulous B&B’s, and a few less that wonderful ones too!

These days Bed & Breakfasts are different, especially here in Australia. Your room may still be within a home, or sometimes a cottage in the garden, but it will be kitted out with all the mod cons you need including a wonderfully comfortable bed fitted with high quality sheets worthy of a 5 star hotel stay, and an en-suite bathroom equipped with rain shower heads and oversized spa baths. Your breakfast will either be a self-make breakfast where you are given all the supplies and a kitchen area to make your own gourmet start to the day, or it may be the 3 course chef-made version with a cooked-to-order delight that would make even the best hotel buffet breakfast look minuscule.

Why stay at a Bed & Breakfast?
Recently while travelling solo to and from Port Macquarie to work on  my regional arm of JEN Travel, I have discovered these bed & breakfast gems. As a female, travelling alone can feel isolating and sometimes daunting. When staying in a bed and breakfast, I feel safe in the home of someone else, comforted by the sense that I am not alone. I don’t feel the isolation of a stark and lonely hotel room. And the best part? I meet other guests whom love travelling and owners that are passionate about the area they live in and can teach you lots of tricks on where to go and what to see while you are there.

Ana Mandara Luxury Bed & Breakfast – Settlement Point, Port Macquarie
Ana Mandara Luxury Bed & Breakfast is a truly 5 star property situated opposite the still waters of the Hastings River. Port Macquarie’s only 5 star Bed & Breakfast is hosted by Leo and Jennell, a couple who clearly adore what they do, and will go above and beyond to ensure you have everything you need to relax and enjoy your time on the Mid North Coast. Leo’s previous life as a Chef is evident in the incredible breakfast that just keeps coming. Sitting looking out towards the water, occasionally you may spot one of the local dolphins bobbing their heads out to say hello. Three courses that fill you and leave you not wanting or needing anything further until well into your day of sightseeing. In the evenings you can sit by the fireplace in Winter while sipping on a glass of your favourite wine, or in Summer you can relax in the huge spa on the deck overlooking the river. Jennell keeps a close eye on the extra touches like the personalised note in the room on arrival and the candles on the bath so you feel like you can relax the instant you get to your room. Whether it be a corporate getaway to plan out your next 12 months of the business with your management team, a couple wishing to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary celebration, or a honeymoon – Ana Mandara is an adults retreat that sets the bar high for Luxury Bed and Breakfasts in Australia.

Anchor’s Boutique Bed and Breakfast – Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie
Anchor’s Bed & Breakfast at Lighthouse Beach is just 7 minutes drive from the centre of Port Macquarie, yet quiet and refined. It is a 4 star property that definitely earns it’s ratings with a premium service offering. Owners Candace and Mike Foy are friendly and vivacious, happy to help you as much as you need. Candice knows how to care for every guest, and it is the little extras like the personalised welcome note on the bed, the quality soaps in the bathroom and the beautiful decorated shared lounge area opening out to a gorgeous tropical garden that help you realise how amazing this boutique accommodation is. Plentiful breakfast supplies were available in the kitchen and I was able to make a yummy breakfast each morning alongside a fresh pod coffee before a full day of work meetings. In the afternoons, I could easily walk to the beach for a stroll along Lighthouse Beach spotting a couple of whales in the distance. There were always homemade treats available such as banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. The beach is just two minutes walk from the house and the local shops of Lighthouse Beach are even closer, where I had a great lunch at Bittersweet Cafe. There is another cafe next door called Inside Out which serves fantastic coffees and has some cool boutique gifts such as leather handbags and locally made jewellery. You may think you only need one night here in Port Macquarie, but I can definitely recommend extending your stay for 2 or 3 nights to get the best out of the beautiful area that surrounds Anchors B&B.

The verdict?
For me, I was staying for business. I felt comfortable, safe, and happy. Both of these bed and breakfasts have much to offer the traveller to Port Macquarie be it for corporate or leisure reasons. Whether you stay one night or five, Ana Mandara and Anchors are fine examples of how accommodation in the Bed and Breakfast Industry here in Australia operates. They are both highly commended properties for visitors to Port Macquarie and I can personally vouch for their high attention to details and level of service. Staying in a Bed and Breakfast is a real and authentic experience, it makes travelling solo a delight, and has gifted me friendships that will be lifelong. Can’t wait to take my husband along one of these days when we get a weekend off our kids! Happy travelling, Jen

Jen stayed at Ana Mandara Luxury Bed & Breakfast and Anchors Bed and Breakfast at her own cost. This is a real and honest review of these properties. To make a reservation at your next B&B stay, get in touch with Jen by emailing jen@jentravel.com.au