“They really didn’t skimp on anything,” my friend Monica said. We were staying in the Hilltop Cabin at Logan Brae Retreats in Kanimbla, a town in the NSW Blue Mountains. We were both lying in bed and had just discovered the flat-screen TV on the wall to the side of us could be rotated to sit right in front of us.
Earlier in our one-night stay, we’d noticed the bathroom’s heated toilet seat, a massive stereo placed conveniently next to the stone bath, on which you could play a Logan Brae Retreats’ Spotify playlist, and firewood already in the indoor fireplace. The fire only needed to be lit, which we did after an afternoon of lounging around the cabin.
“My vision for Logan Brae Retreats went beyond mere accommodation, it was about enveloping our guests in a transformative sanctuary,” says Asia Upward, co-owner of the property, along with her husband Sam Edwards. “I aimed to create an atmosphere that was nothing short of extraordinary. Achieving this required meticulous planning, blending my childhood dreams with thoughtful details and playful features.”
Logan Brae Retreats all came about when Upward decided to turn a converted machinery shed, on the 100-year-old apple orchard grounds in Blackheath where she lived, into an Airbnb. Almost overnight, it became one of Australia’s top three most wish-listed Airbnbs. It was this achievement that became Upward’s driving force, empowering her to follow her passion for creating enchanting spaces for guests.
When the opportunity arose to acquire the Kanimbla property in the Blue Mountains, complete with three cabins in need of extensive rejuvenation, she didn’t hesitate. Today, Logan Brae Retreats includes the original stay Machinery Shed, the Woodlands Cabin, the larger, family-friendly Lodge and the Hilltop Cabin, where I stayed.
The Woodlands Cabin is midway up the mountain, while the Hilltop Cabin is perched at the apex, with the highest point in the area. Both are exclusively for adults and accommodate a maximum of two people.
Upward says she gave the two cabins a substantial overhaul to bring them up to modern standards and create a space she could wholeheartedly share with others. The process involved many months of builders on-site revamping the exteriors and interiors.
“One particularly challenging task was relocating the bath, a task that pushed the limits of difficulty,” she says. “My partner Sam and I personally took on the formidable task of constructing the stone fireplaces, investing not just time but also our physical effort, including our fair share of blood, sweat and tears. Every element of these spaces required tremendous commitment, making it a true labour of love.”
Upward says she personally handled the interior design and described it as a process of creative problem-solving. She says working within the existing parameters presented a unique set of challenges that required innovative solutions.
“One example is the introduction of pink sinks, which stemmed from the need to update the granite stone bench top,” she says. “Instead of replacing it, I decided to work around it. The pink sinks not only modernised the space, but also allowed the natural beauty of the granite to shine through, creating a harmonious blend of the old and new.”
Another interiors feature worthy of calling out, in my opinion, is the choice of sheets. I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels for my job, and these were by far the nicest-feeling. Turns out, they’re bamboo.
“Since discovering the comfort of bamboo sheets, I simply can’t imagine going back,” says Upward. “They offer an unparalleled level of comfort for a restful night’s sleep, while adding a touch of luxury to the overall ambiance.”
As for how to best spend your stay here, Upward suggests checking in bang on 3pm when it’s open for you to. Either grab snacks for dinner at the Coles, Aldi or Woollies in main Blue Mountains town Katoomba, a 30-minute drive away, or book dinner or breakfast with Layers By Lauren through Logan Brae ahead of time. You could also contact Lavender Hill Graze to put together a grazing platter or picnic basket for you to enjoy on arrival.
“As the sun sets, retreat indoors to light the fireplace and open a bottle of your preferred red wine, setting the stage for a cosy evening,” says upward. “The Early morning hours provide a prime opportunity to observe local wildlife as they venture near the cabins. Consider a refreshing morning walk or an early dip in the plunge pool outside your cabin to kickstart your day.”
Then, you could book a spa treatment, like a massage or facial, that’ll see a therapist come to you in the cabin. Or, you could visit nearby Megalong Wineries and have lunch in the Megalong Tea Rooms. Another option is to day trip to the Jenolan Caves of Glow Worm Tunnels.
“Interestingly, many of our guests find it hard to part with the retreat once they’ve arrived, often choosing to extend their stay to soak in the experience to the fullest,” says Upward.
From my experience, with every detail thought-out, it’s not hard to see why.