It all started when Dennis and I decided that we need a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of Sydney city. We planned to drive south along the Grand Pacific drive (more about this awesome scenic coastal drive later) and stay around Batemans Bay for the next three days. Again, Dennis was in charge of trip planning. He told me that accommodation in Batemans Bay is limited and the nice ones are pricey. So we had to settle for a two-star hotel/motel – on a Wotif mystery hotel deal! For those who don’t know already, Wotif offers a deal in which you pick the star rating and Wotif picks a mystery hotel for you, usually at a cheaper rate. We were concerned (at least I was) that we might wind up in a crappy bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere 😕. But heck why not, we can take a little chance … I guess. We can always pack up and leave if things go south.
And so it begins. We embarked on our road trip towards this mystery hotel. The Grand Pacific Drive was awesome and I was so busy fiddling on my new Yi camera that I forgot to ask Dennis where we were going to spend the night. It was about 30 minutes to Batemans Bay when I asked him that question, and he said Wotif didn’t tell us the name of the hotel but just gave us a map to it. I was really surprised because it would be much easier if I can just punch the name of the hotel in Google map, rather than following an actual print-out map. I started to complain that Wotif is being over-mysterious and what’s the point of this trouble. Dennis explained that people might bail after Google-ing how terrible the two-star hotel is. I thought it was unnecessary as long as there is a no refund policy in place, but didn’t dwell long on that.
(Spot the one edited by Dennis)
It was only when I read the map that I realized we were not staying in Batemans Bay – we were going to Broulee which was another 30 minutes drive! The night was approaching and there were not many vehicles on the road. Even the town we drove past, Mogo, looked really deserted and quiet. That’s where I started to feel anxious. I was worried that we might end up in some haunted ‘cabin by the lake’. Have you ever realize that horror movies almost always involve a secluded house near a lake in a quiet little town where there is thick bushes between houses that nobody can hear you when you scream? Yea.
Nonetheless, we followed the instruction on the map and arrived at the entrance by the highway, which was marked by a boulder with the word ‘Bower’ engraved on it. Dennis looked worried (or so I thought he was) and took a picture of the entrance, murmuring ‘so people will know where we are’. I gulped. It was nearly dark and we totally miss the sign pointing left and took the wrong turn at the fork. And there it was. The lake.
Words cannot describe how frightened I was at that point. I kept telling Dennis that we should leave because ‘if we die in here, nobody is going to find out’ (a Chinese way of saying). Dennis suggested that we should check the place out first, and we will leave if it seems dodgy. He continued on that gravel road, reached a smaller path where there was a white horse in its stable and decided to turn back as it seems to be the wrong way. As we drove past the lake again, something was caught behind our car and made some weird scratching noise. Dennis asked me what was it but I just shove it off with a calm look and replied, ‘Just some branches’. Truth is; I was so afraid that we might be dragging a ghost behind us OMG. 😱
We then took the left at the fork and saw some small houses tucked away in the forest along the way. We then arrived at the office which was situated at the end of the path and caught sight of a review from RedBalloon (if I’m not mistaken) with a sky high rating of 9.2 on its glass door. I was skeptical of it at that moment though. I then learnt that this place is called ‘The Bower at Broulee’.
The owner, Sue, greeted us warmly and gave us the key to our bower – The Golden Bower as marked by its golden pillar at its entrance. I can tell that she was very proud (in a good way) of The Bower as she filled us in on what we can do here, like spotting animals like possums at night using spotlight at the comfort of your own bower, bush walking and bird feeding at your own deck. Wait a minute; did you just say ‘BIRD feeding’?! Okay, I’m interested now, maybe we can stay here for one night…
Sue gave us a little overview of the place, and also introduced us to some “local inhabitants/ furry friends”. After that’s done, we then drove a short distance towards the Golden Bower, where we’ll be spending the night. Sue even wished us ‘all the best’ before we left, which made me felt like I was in the Hunger Games – ‘May the odds be ever in your favour’ OMG. Of course, I didn’t know what she really meant at that point.
We then pulled up at the front porch of the Golden Bower and Dennis wanted to carry some of our bags in but I said, ‘No, let’s have a look first. I’m not so sure if I want to stay here yet…’ As we walked in to our bower, we heard romantic music playing softly and saw a trail of red, yellow and white rose petals on the corridor. (I was so silly, foolish and stupid for not suspecting anything AT ALL!) I subconsciously followed the flower trail to the bedroom and saw some petals on the bed and went, ‘Wow there are some petals on the bed honey!’ And I turned around to check out the living room, and the kitchen, and the rest of the house. I TURNED AROUND away from the bed! OMG. 😱
Dennis silently stared at me while I carefully inspected the living room. Whoa this is quite well-furnished for a two-star place, with sofa and coffee table, TV and DVD set, radio with Bluetooth speakers in the bathroom, fully equipped kitchen with cook top, oven and guess what – a Nespresso machine! Feeling quite satisfied, I walked back to the bedroom for the flowers decoration. I stood beside the bed, stared at it for like 3 seconds and OMG. I realized it is not just any deco, it says ‘Marry Me’!!! I couldn’t help feeling surprised and squealed, ‘EH??? Marry me eh!!!’ How did I miss that OMG 😱 😱 😱
Dennis burst out laughing uncontrollably, got down on one knee and popped the question, with a gorgeous ring cradled in his hand. Of course it’s a yes!
As it turned out, The Bower is not a 2-star accommodation! So not a 2-star LOL! Dennis had carefully planned out this whole scene by first brain-washing me for months on how terrible our ‘2-star’ stay was gonna be, much like what Nicky did in the movie ‘Focus’. I wasn’t suspicious at all, not even one bit! Best surprise that Dennis had planned so far!!!
More about this magical getaway and hidden gem in upcoming posts 🙂 Here’s a quick glimpse of The Bower:
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