Awards and love bloom at retreat
TOASTING their success at the NSW Tourism Awards are Hillcrest Mountain View Retreat operators Tracy and Clive Parker
THE operators of a Tweed Valley retreat which last week won a prestigious NSW Tourism award have partly credited their success to their inexperience in the tourist-accommodation industry.
Hillcrest Mountain View Retreat at Upper Crystal Creek won the hosted accommodation category at a gala function in Sydney - one of three Northern Rivers businesses to take top honours.
The four-and-a-half-star resort has, in four of the past five years, also won Northern Rivers Regional Tourism Awards in the same category.
Operators Tracy and Clive Parker say the Hillcrest, which they started as a bed-and-breakfast six years ago, was their first-ever venture into tourism accommodation.
"That's possibly the reason for our success - because we did this not from an operator's point of view but from the guests' point of view so we had a different outlook ... our website also has been successful for much the same reason as I taught myself and designed it from the point of view of the end user," Mrs Parker said.
"After being finalists in the State awards for several years it's nice to be the bride instead of the bridesmaid this year - and it's a win for the Tweed not just for us."
Before settling in the Tweed nearly seven years ago, the Parkers lived at Bellingen for about eight years and were "serious Sydney yuppies" before that.
"There's something about living in the caldera that grabs people about seven of our past guests have fallen in love with the place and moved here," Mr Parker said.
"We market it as a romantic getaway for couples of all ages - which does not include children - the oldest couple we had were newlyweds in their late 70s - and we had three marriage proposals in 10 days here last Christmas."
The five-acre property and retreat accommodates three couples in luxury - two in the main house and one in the cottage.