Bliss ... Singo's beach pad.
At Killcare Beach, Kate Cox discovers the omnipresent adman's shack is a sure-fire winner.
SO WHAT'S it like to be archetypal entrepreneur John Singleton? Well, having spent a weekend in his self-titled beach house, surrounded by his family photos and personal knick-knacks, I reckon I'm qualified to answer. Bloody marvellous.
Naturally, the house's interior is lovely: laid-back and beachy but tasteful and luxuriously chic at the same time.
And, of course, there's the location: right beside the Killcare Surf Club and as close as one can get to what I believe is - having spent 20 consecutive summers there - the best holiday spot in NSW.
Think national park, pristine sand, gentle waves, a couple of cafes and restaurants within a five-minute drive and not many tourists. Bliss.
Set over two spacious levels, the John Singleton Beach House has three double bedrooms, although the grand one upstairs - with walk-in wardrobe, study and a private deck overlooking a waterfall that can be switched on and off - perhaps deserves a loftier title.
There is another room with a groovy bunk bed designed to hold four children, plus a pull-out bed.
There are two kitchens and enough glasses, cups and serving platters to feed and quench the thirst of many guests - preferably on the enormous deck upstairs, by the rustic wooden bar and barbecue, perhaps catered by celebrated chef Stefano Manfredi and his team from nearby hatted restaurant Bells? While you await your exclusively prepared meal or hamper - maybe a rabbit ragu, perhaps local oysters - you can watch the world and the waves from the deck's swinging seats or recline on the extra-long couch.
There's a stocked pantry and fridge - but stocked as if your mate Singo has left a few things behind, rather than in a premeditated, clinical manner. (In the main fridge: one bottle of Hahn Premium beer, half a jar of olives, two half-cases of Fever Tree tonic water, some nearly empty jams, a sliver of butter and a lovely bottle of pinot gris from fellow millionaire Bob Oatley.)
The house has two lounge rooms and many plasma TVs - including two in one room, apparently so Singo can have the races on at all times and it served well for our child-adult programming differences. In honour of our omnipresent host, we did watch one of Singo's horses come an exciting fifth in last month's Cox Plate.
There are five bathrooms. Hang on - make that six - I just discovered a little one by the garage. And is that an extra house at the bottom of the garden? Yes: a self-contained studio cottage with all mod cons.
With its mix of privacy and shared spaces, the John Singleton Beach House would make a great getaway location for a large, meandering family. A bit like Singo's, really; he has seven children from six marriages (one de facto) and is mates with most of his exes.
Speaking of Singleton - and it's hard not to - his noggin is everywhere. On the mantelpiece, with his squeeze, Yvette Hartman, and former boxer Joe Bugner. On the wall are also multiple framed pictures: there he is in rugby league garb; and over there, all blonde locks, overflowing wine and charisma in a three-piece '70s suit. Then there are the images of sunny smiles with his children, and is that his father at the beach? My advertising executive friend - who coincidentally used to work for Singleton - finds all the family happy snaps a bit weird. But I like it - it adds a warmth to the place.
And I really love the cool artwork and artefacts: driftwood, sticks and coral turned into beautiful sculptures, glass bluebottles, a huge retro surfing mural and painted surfboards.
Natural beauty comes in the form of a spectacular sunrise - seen from bed. It doesn't get better than that.
The writer was a guest of the John Singleton Beach House.
The John Singleton Beach House, Beach Drive, Killcare Beach. Bookings through Bells, (02) 4360 2411, www.bellsatkillcare.com.au.
Take the Woy Woy exit from the F3, then follow the signs to Woy Woy, Kincumber and Killcare.
From $1000 a night midweek; $1500 a night weekends (minimum two-night stay), plus compulsory cleaning fee of $500. Daily housekeeping $250 a day. Linen and loads of towels included. Sleeps up to 12.
Bush meets beach with lashings of distinction.
The ultimate group getaway.
Board games to play by the big fire if the weather turns bad.
A shame about
The absence of takeaway/delivery menus — maybe everyone eats at Bells every night? And where are the coathangers, Singo?
No warning signs or instructions: you feel like a guest rather than a tourist.
Take the children?
Yes. They'll love their own chill-out zone downstairs.