Some time ago I was sitting at the hairdresser’s when a Travel Agent I knew came in and sat down next to me to get his monthly short back and sides. While we were both having our hair cut (mine was prettier than his) we got chatting about holidays and one of the things he said to me was …
“When I go on a holiday I always try to ensure that the standard of accommodation we’ve booked is going to be better than what we have at home.”
And, while I know he doesn’t live in a luxury mansion or anything, I understood what he meant.
Too many times He Himself and I have booked into less than salubrious hotels or self catering accommodation and been disappointed, because quite honestly things just haven’t come up to muster for the price we’ve paid.
We’ve sat down, looked at one another and thought:
“This is our holiday – but why are we paying so much for something like this?” because we’ve realized that what we have at home is a whole lot more salubrious, pleasant to look at and more serviceable. Plus, at home there are beers in the fridge too.
It’s the memory of times like this when our tendency, like so many others in WA, has been to book a holiday in Bali for a bit of luxury at half the price.
But none of this applies to a tropical retreat in Broome, where I was fortunate to stay recently.
A Bali style resort in Broome
The Mantra Frangipani
I’ve found out that you don’t have to fly all the way to Bali to get Balinese style because I’ve just been lucky enough to visit Broome where I stayed at the Mantra Frangipani, a resort that’s within an easy walk of Cable Beach.
To give you further bearings, The Mantra Frangipani is within a 15 minute walk of the popular Zoo Bar, and I know this because after a gourmet meal that included scallops and pork belly we walked back to the resort talking and laughing about all sorts of things including living overseas, and the saucy tales we’d heard from some Broome locals earlier about the infamous weekly wet T-Shirt competition held at the Roebuck Hotel.
Blue pools and palm trees
Had I been staying at The Mantra Frangipani for a bone fide holiday, I would definitely have been totally slug-like and slothful and not moved from poolside, because there are two temptingly blue, temperature controlled swimming pools surrounded by tall palms, and bamboo that rustles in the breeze.
After two Matso’s Ginger Beers I’m sure I heard those tall bamboo grasses whisper: “Lie by me, love me, go swim in the pool – the one with the flowing waterfall.”
Ohhh, I have to go back for longer. This resort just screams “Relax!” It’s got to be good for you.
There may not be a restaurant at the Mantra Frangipani, but the rooms are well equipped and spacious with cooking facilities that are clean and modern – in fact you’ll more than likely be rushing out to buy some fresh sea food or steaks in order to cook up a storm on your outside barbecue, in the pretty palm filled front courtyard of your ground floor apartment.
One of our party, the talented Mr Jasper, displayed awesome culinary skills and cooked us prawn and beef kebabs with Aioli dressing, followed by savoury pancakes, followed by succulent steaks with green beans and tasty sautéed potatoes … followed by lemon merinque pie – Phew, he’s a keeper!
He really showed us what could be achieved in the self catering stakes if you put your mind to it.
We really enjoyed dinner al fresco on that sultry, tropical night with the stars shining above, and a harvest moon rising in the sky. With everything we needed around us in the apartment it felt like being at home in a private courtyard, but better, and with champagne and wine cooling in the fridge it was comforting not to have to worry about designating a driver to go anywhere.
And then, after a good night’s sleep on great big beds in our own spacious apartments Mr Jasper prepared us breakfast by the pool the next morning. How good is that?
Yep, definitely recommended as a stress buster and the antithesis to rushed work morning breakfasts at home.
After that it was a back to the apartment to get ready for excursions which I’ll write about in another post.
12 things you’re gonna love about the Mantra Frangipani
- The spacious apartments, and the big beds.
- The tropical décor reminiscent of Bali resorts.
- The outside showers which come complete with Bali statues, and you might occasionally be lucky to see little green tree frogs – they won’t harm you and are part of the Kimberley environment.
- Your own portico entrance leading to a Bali style courtyard filled with tropical plants and trees.
- Not one, but two swimming pools.
- The landscaped tropical gardens complete with lily ponds.
- The washing machine hidden away in a cupboard, along with iron and ironing board (not that you’ll need to do much ironing in casual Broome).
- The well equipped kitchen, including a dishwasher … Who wants to wash up on holiday?
- The attention to detail; big wooden mirrors, huge bedside lamps, an easy to read alarm clock by the bed, and an in-room safe.
- Air conditioning, and a fan above the bed … Bliss
- A place to hang and dry your towels and fluffy beach towels (supplied).
- Free Wi-Fi.
I had a chat to Michelle Spinks, the General Manager, who is friendly and helpful and runs a ship that is professional and yet easy going. She exhibits a discreet and yet professional presence, looking after people’s needs, booking tours when required.
“The Mantra Frangipani is a lot different to a city hotel. It’s much more relaxed,” she said. “And you’ll find that Broome is like an island. You can’t go anywhere unless you’re thinking ‘long distance’ so all you have to do is chill out and kick back, or maybe book some local tours around Broome.”
Of course Broome is the southern gateway to the vast Kimberley, so the other option is to book a longer tour along the famous Gibb River Road into the outback.
Michelle’s Top 11 Things to do in Broome
- Go beer tasting and have lunch at Matso’s Brewery – try their Mango Beer, Chango (Chilli and Mango Beer) or Ginger Cooler
- Take a Camel Tour
- Have a ride on a Hovercraft
- View the giants of the sea and go whale watching (in season)
- Visit Willie Creek Pearl Farm
- Enjoy the ‘Staircase to the Moon’ (in season)
- See the dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point
- Take a trip to the Horizontal Falls
- Drive to Cape Leveque
- Chill out on a Sunset Cruise
Top Tip from Michelle
“What I suggest to guests is to hop on the town bus at 6.30 am – it stops right outside the hotel – and go to Gantheaume Point to see the dinosaur footprints. Then in the cool of the morning you can walk 5kms along Cable Beach to the car park and catch the next bus back to the Frangipani or go into town. The town bus costs just $10 a day and you can hop on and off at numerous places. You really don’t need to hire a car in Broome.”
- There are a total of 62 one, two or three bedroom apartments available at the Frangipani.
- The hotel is on Millington Road, the airport is about 5km away – a 10 minutes drive.
- Cyclone season is from November to April.
- It’s only about a 10 minute walk from the hotel to several cafes, restaurants and Cable Beach.
- The Town Bus stops right outside the hotel.
Find the Mantra Frangipani
For Bookings and Information:-
- Broome is a short 2 hours 35 minutes flight from Perth or a 2398km drive north! Qantas offers 25 flights each week to Broome from Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney on Boeing 737-800 and B717 aircraft. Our flight was comfortable, lunch was served and there is more legroom than on the budget airline carriers. The Qantas Lounge at Perth domestic airport is a draw card for business passengers wanting room to relax or work prior to their flight – there’s also the benefit of free Wi-Fi , refreshments, magazines and newspapers.
Disclaimer: Jo’s trip was courtesy of Mantra Hotels and Qantas.
I’d love to know if you’ve stayed at a Mantra Hotel or have a favourite holiday resort? Why not share your experiences with us in the comments?
If you’d like to read about how to create a Balinese themed garden, pop over here “How to Create a Balinese Garden without going to Bali”.
Oh, and please don’t forget to read the next post on ZigaZag which will be all about why Broome “Rocks and Pearls,” as a destination.
Until next time,