A Stylish Stay: Soul Cottage, Gerringong
As we race toward April, the cooling nights are a visceral barometer of Autumn’s impending arrival, and a snappy reminder to squeeze out the last drops of summer with a much needed mini break out of Sydney. Cue the most perfect coastal escape at The SOUL Cottage - an all-seasons pop up ‘home hotel’ which is the ideal halfway point for our planned family Canberra/Sydney meet up.
Disappearing from work a few hours early on a Friday is rewarded with a relaxed drive out of the city, surely a good omen for the epic amount of chillax we have ahead of us. Like a magpie I’m easily distracted by shiny things and it’s a task to keep eyes on the road as the urban streetscapes give way to stunning ocean views and the hyper green hills of Kiama and beyond to Gerringong. Despite the visual distractions, we arrive safely and manage door to door in a shade under two hours, our Canberra co-hort only moments behind. SOUL is conveniently located just off the main street of Gerringong, with beach, parks, cafes, bakeries and supermarkets all within walking distance. Best hide your car keys, they’re useless for the next few days.
The savvy-sister property of insta-famous SOUL of Gerringong, the cottage is just over the fence, channelling every last style cue from its big sister property. Don’t be deceived by size implications that the label ‘cottage’ might invoke, however, as this little getaway has maximised every inch of its pretty footprint. Shielded from the street by a generous white gate, the property in all its glory is revealed as the gates crack open; an anticipatory squeal leaving my lips as the perfect frontage and garden are laid before us. Neat as a pin and not a leaf out of place, The SOUL Cottage embodies every inch of what we love about homestays… faultless attention to detail, a sense of welcome, personal touches and let’s not forget - the great big bloody welcoming platter of local goodies and sparkling awaiting our arrival. This property, however, has upped the ante with its magazine-cover-shoot readiness and impeccable styling and decor.
Bags quickly shuffled in to delegated rooms, we hurriedly activate holiday mode - in one mere moment corks are popped, shoes kicked off and a collective sigh signals the beginning of a whole lot of nothing. Glasses clink; here’s to the perfect weekend.
Gathered around the kitchen island, we finally take a moment to admire scale of our surrounds - open plan living/dining/kitchen and stunningly high vaulted ceilings adding to the generous feel. You could easily host a dinner party on the island bench alone (and all-out tabletop boot-scoot should tequila guide you down that path) thanks to its oversized proportions. However, SOUL has certainly got socialising front of mind with an ample indoor dining table and additional outdoor area providing more than enough entertaining options. Add to this the outdoor fire pit (and we hear whispers of a soon to be installed swimming pool) - and you kind of get the picture that staying in and enjoying family and friend time at SOUL is a top priority. It’s an all-in locale, providing more than enough social zones for guests to come together - or equally enough nooks to escape in for some solace when the gas-bagging, wine and heated familial debates about the state of today’s politics get all too much. My pick was the outdoor swinging cane chairs as the perfect spot to take in fiery sunset skies in absolute peace.
Retreating to your room is equally blissful as each bedroom is fully equipped for escapism - with luxe Cultiver linen adorning each bed, topping off what is possibly the best hotel mattress/pillow combo my well-travelled head has ever met. Add to this the in-room flat screen TVs, stunning bohemian touches, well loved plant life and in the case of the master - a Pinterest perfect ensuite bathroom... you’ve nothing more to want.
The weekend quickly passes by with minimal heartbeats - hours of lazing and catching up are punctuated by quick trips down to nearby Werri Beach for dips in its divine natural ocean pool, and a jaunt up the road to the fabulous Hill eatery for perfect fish n chips. It’s an almost painful realisation as Sunday sneakily creeps around and it’s time to part ways with our lovely abode. But we leave with solace in the knowledge that SOUL’s trademark ‘coastal luxe’ style is coming with us - fork for fork, pillow for pillow... the entire home is completely shoppable. Yes, you heard me. It’s no happy coincidence that SOUL boasts such a carefully curated selection of decor, furniture and textiles - all the handiwork of owner and leading interior designer Simone Mathews. Simone is hugely generous with sharing her holiday-at-home style - so no matter which little detail you fall in love with - from the Hawaiian Mint Tea to the gorgeously oversized beach towels right through to the lovely brass cutlery - all details are generously provided on the website.
As we do the trip in reverse, waving goodbye to the green rolling hills of Gerringong and back toward the city for another week ahead, we’re feeling recharged, refreshed and somewhat excited about recreating our own little slice of SOUL at home.