The Oaks Ranch: Lux Nomade Visits the Spanish Mission Style Boutique Hotel on the New South Wales Coast
A Spanish Mission-style, Palm Springs-inspired boutique hotel on a kangaroo-studded golf course in a quiet coastal corner of New South Wales isn’t an often-seen concept, but if The Oaks Ranch is anything to go by, it’s an idea that could catch on.
Down an (appropriately) oak tree-lined driveway in the quaint coastal village of Mossy Point, the recently renovated hotel is a new – and distinctly unique – addition to the south coast’s burgeoning hospitality landscape. While the trend of the renovated roadside motel is a welcome one, there’s something special about waking up to the sound of birdsong, walking barefoot to dinner across the lawn, and watching a family of kangaroos waking up to the day as you pull the curtains on far reaching views of uninterrupted green. This – along with the magnesium swimming pool, excellent on-site restaurant, and across-the-board attention to detail – is what sets The Oaks Ranch apart.
While the fourteen-room establishment now has all of the designer hallmarks of a boutique hotel, its name derives from its former function: a working ranch and base for the stock people who tended the surrounding estate. Now, the resident animals on the property are more limited, with just a few horses and two rescue donkeys calling The Oaks Ranch home. Nods to its origins are also seen through the Spanish Mission style architecture which has been retained: whitewashed archways, exposed timber beams and a thick, stucco-clad exterior.
We visited for a one-night stay, and though it was short-lived, it left us feeling the way you’d hope to feel after a holiday: well-slept and well-fed and completely detached from reality.
It was late afternoon by the time we arrived, the sun already casting its buttery glow across the paddocks and bushland that form the views beyond the restaurant and pool deck. The pull of the view distracted us from checking in, and by the time we got back to the reception desk, two glasses were waiting for us: ice cold with a house-made lime infusion and garnished with rosemary picked from the garden.
After dropping our bags in our room – one of fourteen, masterfully designed by interior architects Partridge Daniels, complete with a double-showered bathroom, king-size bed and floor-to-ceiling windows occupying one wall – we made our way to the pool area for a swim and sunset cocktail.
The decision to use magnesium rather than chlorine in the pool is a reflection of the team’s thoughtful approach, which is also made abundantly clear through everything from their genuinely warm hospitality to the immaculate presentation of the space: pillows perfectly plumped, magnesium-enriched towels folded neatly on the sun loungers. As always, it’s the little things: the Leif bath products filled to the top, the Cultiver bathrobes, the Maison Balzac glassware and the complimentary minibar stocked with fair trade chocolate (Tony’s Chocolonely’s finest). But there’s also an undeniable energy to the place: an established dynamic that’s often absent from new hotels.
“I think it’s because the owners care so much: they live in Palm Beach, but they’re here all the time, and it’s an idea they’ve been working on for years,” Josh Tyler, the hotel’s General Manager, tells us over breakfast.
Two well-balanced margaritas kept us entertained until dinner, which is served in the hotel’s outdoor-indoor restaurant. A celebration of the south coast’s local produce, the menu at Arlo is seasonal and seafood-heavy. We ordered raw tuna with ponzu and bonito, tempura king prawns, oysters, pan-roasted cod and crab croquettes, which were buttery and served with a black garlic aioli so good that we ordered more to eat with our salad. For dessert, we shared a rich chocolate and orange clafoutis (baked French flan) and then walked the less-than-a-minute journey across the lawn to bed.
A swim in the pool was the perfect pre-breakfast activity, though if you’re more of a runner, the grounds stretch across 300 acres – backing onto the Tomaga River in the northwest.
As with dinner, breakfast is served indoors or outside depending on your preference. The morning was cloudy but warm, so we picked a table by the pool and ordered plates of chilli scrambled eggs which arrived quickly and (joyously) adorned with jewels of black garlic aioli.
After breakfast, we had time for a quick round of golf on the hotel’s 9-hole golf course, which is just the first iteration of what is set to develop into an extensive course designed by world-renowned golfer Greg Norman. We shared the course with a community of kangaroos, who appeared entirely unphased by our presence and limited skill level.
Though the views from the hotel’s grounds are dominated by rolling hills and bushland, it doubles as a coastal hotel – with Broulee Beach within five minutes drive. After a final goodbye to the team and the donkeys, we jumped in the car and headed for a surf. We’d used Turo – the global carsharing app that launched in Australia in late 2022 – to find a vehicle that would match our weekend in terms of overall indulgence levels, and it was an excellent (if a little excessive) decision. The app is super intuitive, and it’s hard to believe that this kind of format – essentially the Airbnb of cars, with a considerable portfolio of luxury vehicles available to borrow at the click of a button – hasn’t been around for years. Zipping down the coast in a high-spec Audi, sunroof open to the sky, added to the narrative that this was more than a night away, but a certified holiday.
And that’s what The Oaks Ranch seems to offer: an escape from reality. The surreal synergy of concepts coalesces with the kind of beautiful harmony that can’t be fabricated or even planned, and the evolution of the space isn’t stopping here. Over the next few years, the owners plan to open twelve additional hotel rooms and a series of self-contained villas, with the events calendar for the next twelve months already filling up with weddings and team retreats. I’d recommend getting in before the sun loungers fill up, and the kangaroos leave in search of golfers with more impressive aims.
For more information and bookings visit https://oaksranch.com.au