The Isla Batehaven: A touch of Palm Springs on the NSW coast

A stunning newly renovated property on the NSW South Coast, The Isla’s retro style screams old-style motor inn that will transport you to California with a touch of Palm Springs in a nanosecond. Its breezy design touches and laid-back flair will ensure your stay has a sprinkle of Old Hollywood glamour.

Traveller: Lisa O’Brien
Room: King Courtyard room
Address: 222 Beach Road, Batehaven, NSW 2536
Date: November 2022
Price range: from $220
Best for: A romantic getaway from Sydney

The Isla pool deck
Just under a 4-hour drive out of Sydney is a retro hotel worth seeking © The Isla


Just under a 4-hour drive out of Sydney, the route is full of incredible sea views and cuts through cute little country towns. The Isla has access to unspoilt beaches and world-famous surf breaks. There are plenty of family-run cafes, excellent dining options in Batemans Bay, and many little south coast treasures within a short drive.

Within a short walk you can find

Corrigan’s Beach is just a short 3-minute drive (and not far to those who love to walk) and one of the best beaches on the NSW south coast. Within 350m, you can grab your morning coffee from the Crumb Café. Also, indulge in delicious fish and chips or woodfire pizzas from local family-owned businesses. The local Club Catalina Golf Club has a restaurant worth visiting and a courtesy bus if you need a lift back! You can catch the Whales migrating south in late winter and early spring. At Malua Bay, whales can be sighted as close as 150metres from the headland, and it is a 13-minute drive south from The Isla.

Claim to fame

Their one-of-a-kind Cantina! A minibar, reimagined. The Cantina is a carefully curated vending machine room. Here you can find sparkling water on tap, an ice machine and custom vending machines with a collection of bespoke drinks, including locally sourced beers, wines, cocktails, snacks and some fun extras like a sneaky Espresso Martini takeaway that can be sipped by the pool.

The Isla cantina
The Cantina features a carefully curated vending machine and lounge room © The Isla

The showstopper

The Pool House and sun drenched pool area are fabulous for relaxing with a book or cooling off after a long day exploring the many beaches in the area. The Pool House has a generous dining area, fireplace and extra large TV screen where you can stream movies and Netflix. Best yet, the pool is gently heated for comfort all year round.

The room

The King Courtyard room, with its bonus private outdoor courtyard, was perfect for a couple for a weekend away. Intimate in size, the 24 square meter room featured a deluxe king-size bed with custom crafted oak furnishings. While in the bathroom, a terrazzo marble counter with brushed brass fixtures and a Rain Shower features. With its own Nespresso machine and St Ali coffee pods allows you to have a lazy morning coffee in your own private courtyard. All while deciding the hard-hitting question – beach or pool?

The Isla room twin pic
Custom crafted oak furnishings feature in rooms © The Isla

Amenity game

Leif organic bath products are vegan, cruelty-free and made in Australia come with a fantastic scent combo of citrusy lemon myrtle, Sandalwood and Eucalyptus that add an Aussie feel to washing.

Beyond the rooms

The pool area and Pool House are outstanding; we found it hard to drag ourselves away. With a BBQ area, TV and dining area you will hardly need your room.

Dish to dine for

There isn’t a restaurant on site. However, there are many places to dine nearby, with the hotel supplying a comprehensive list of places to try.

Staying in

High-speed internet is easy to join, and then you can cast your favourite shows and movies via your personal Chromecast to your TV in the room. The Pool House and the ease of the Cantina give you little reason to leave.

The Isla pool
The sun drenched pool area is ideal for relaxing © The Isla

Stepping out

The Isla gives you immediate access to a vast range of unspoilt beaches, calm waters and world-famous surf breaks. Pack your beach bag and roll out your beach towel; the choices are endless.

For foodies, I highly recommend a visit to Wray Street Oyster Shed; it’s a must. A short 9-minute drive south, it offers fresh seafood on the water. The atmosphere and the oysters….well, you won’t stop at a dozen!

Moruya Country Markets is on every Saturday morning at Riverside Park. And Mogo Wildlife Park has Australia’s most extensive collection of exotic animals on display and is a short 14-minute drive away. Three66 Espresso Bar is worth hitting up if you are craving caffeine.

The family factor

The Isla has The Vista and Grande Suites which are both two bedrooms to cater for families. The Grande even has a private plunge pool to relax after a day of activities. The public pool area is family-friendly and heated. However, children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The Isla’s location and abundance of nearby natural attractions make it well-suited for families.

The Isla suite
Two bedroom suites to cater for families © The Isla

Before booking

The Isla is a boutique hotel and can accommodate up to 40 people. So it’s best to book in advance to ensure availability. Also, they have one pet-friendly room for those travelling with their furbabies. So contact the property directly before arrival to grab this suite.

Insiders’ tips

On booking, you will receive a copy of the hotel’s compendium. It’s worth a good look to decide on what cafes and restaurants you wish to try. And places you want to explore, especially if you have just a weekend. If travelling with an electric car, you can charge it via the onsite Chargefox box.

If only

Although very handy on arrival, the contactless check-in room codes are very long to remember (especially when in holiday mode). You need these to access your room, the Cantina and Pool House, making it very easy to be locked out.

I wish I could take home…

Other than the contact details of their interior designer (the custom-crafted oak furnishings, terrazzo features, and brushed brass accents were amazing), I am already searching for the Leif organic bath products online!

V&T expert rating

8/10 – Only a few hours out of Sydney, The Isla is close enough to sneak away for the weekend but far enough to feel like you are on vacation. And well worth the drive.

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