For a sleepy New South Wales south coast town, Mollymook sure has some star power. With Rick Stein in charge of food, the boutique Bannisters by the Sea now claims two almost-identical penthouse suites dressed by fashion and design guru Collette Dinnigan.
With million-dollar ocean views from large balconies and stylish, pastel Hamptons-style interiors, these newly refurbished suites are testament to Dinnigan’s fondness for this part of the world; her own country retreat is five minutes away.
Wide oak floorboards, wooden shutters and deep white linen sofas piped in navy and piled with artfully faded hand-printed cushions by Kathryn Ireland and Penny Morrison add to the beach-house vibe.
The coffee table features mounds of large format books and, at Dinnigan’s insistence, there are always vases of white flowers (but never chrysanthemums, apparently).
White whicker chairs surround the long dining table, a small television is mounted above the marble fireplace and there’s even a tiny kitchenette concealing a large, very well-stocked fridge.
The elegant bathrooms are French in mood with Carrera marble basins, luxury Perrin & Rowe tapware and a large tub (there’s a separate powder room). The white walls are decorated with a mixture of 1970s surf photographs and charming botanical and shell collages found by Dinnigan in Paris flea markets.
Bannisters by the Sea has 32 guestrooms and suites, while its newly opened sister property, Bannisters Pavilion, which is close by, features a further 32 guestrooms and two swish penthouse suites.
DON’T MISS: Sunset bubbles at the hotel’s alfresco pop-up Veuve Clicquot bar.
DINING IN: Rick Stein designs the dishes that head chef Toby Bradley-Watson executes in this busy, drawcard restaurant with its gorgeous ocean views and seafood-centric menu. The catch may be local but the inspiration is global, taking its cue from Stein’s travels. Try the delicious snapper vindaloo (a spicy dish that never overwhelms the spanking fresh fish). The salmon and tuna tartare with gazpachuelo is wonderful, as is the fish and shellfish soup.
DINING OUT: Take a stroll down the hill to the Bannisters Pavilion outpost where the very chic rooftop features a casual restaurant and bar and swimming pool cantilevered above the resort’s street-level entrance. If you’re in the mood for a spot of takeaway and a picnic, head south for the hole-in-the-wall Fish Shop at nearby Burrill Lake, past Ulladulla, serving the best fish and chips in this neck of the south coast.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Retail therapy is only 10 minutes away at Milton, where you’ll find everything from on-trend cushions to designer dog bowls.
CHECKING IN: Collette Dinnigan suites from $625 a night low season, breakfast included. More: bannisters.com.au
ALSO TRY: Sofitel So, Singapore (with input from Karl Lagerfeld); Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica (guestrooms by Ralph Lauren); Hotel du Petit Moulin, Paris (interiors by Christian Lacroix).