The south west is dotted with family oriented resorts, all with self-contained cabins or units, pools and playgrounds, easy access to the beach and few enough stars not to break the bank. They all are quite comparable, so it comes down to small details when deciding where to stay.
The Amalfi Resort is located in West Busselton, about a five minute drive from the town centre. It offers 3.5 star accommodation: either two or three bedroom units and consists of predominantly two story, brick villas, painted in a combination of blue and red, with corrugated iron roofs. It is a pleasant looking place with lovely owners who are very happy to assist, either with a late checkout, or recommending local restaurants.
The centre of the complex has a pool, tennis court, play equipment and BBQ area
In the centre of the resort are the tennis court and heated pool areas. It is very much the heart of the complex, with a communal spa, BBQ and small play area for children. Surrounding it are two-storey 'poolside' villas, where residents can sit on balconies and watch the action in the pool.
On the plus side, the Amalfi is good for kids up to a certain age; when we visited in the October school holidays there were lots of pre-teens with scooters zipping around the complex. The internal roads are flat and relatively safe, and because it is quite closed in, cars can't gather much speed.
There is the fenced-in pool, spa and baby pool, which also has a raised seating area and access to the tennis court. There is free hire of the tennis court and you can also book the spa for exclusive use for half an hour if you don't feel like sharing. They also offer bike hire, both kids and adults bikes, and adult bikes with baby seats.
The units are close and relatively open, making it great for groups wanting to stay together – we could cut through our semi-private outdoor area to the unit next door where the grandparents were staying. Although there are two communal (and free) gas BBQs on site, you can hire a portable electric BBQ to use at your unit for $10 for a one-off use or $25 for you entire visit. One enticing option was the 'Lazy Sunday' extended checkout to 5pm, which costs only $35. I doubt this option would be available during school holidays though.
The beds are really comfy, the units are clean and functional
The units are all air-conditioned and self-contained and have reserved parking immediately outside the door. Our unit was clean and functional, with an open lounge, dining and kitchen area downstairs, a master bedroom with a very comfortable queen sized bed, and a combined bathroom/laundry. Upstairs was an open mezzanine room with two single beds, and plenty of space for the kids to play. The couches downstairs fold out to be sofa beds, sleeping another two or three people if required.
On the downside: the entire complex is quite small, the roads and paths narrow, without much space between some units. Our lounge and bedroom windows were about 1.5m from the windows of the next unit, which was fine because they were the grandparents but would probably be a level of intimacy you're not comfortable with if they were strangers. You would have to keep your curtains closed.
The stairs to the mezzanine are quite steep and not brilliant for littlies and the single beds were very high and narrow. We ended up putting one mattress on the floor so our youngest wouldn't fall out of bed. Also because it's a mezzanine, you can't close doors on the kids.
Compared to other resorts in the area, the kids playground is very small and is mainly sand, no grass. The pool area too, is mainly concrete, and not much grass. It doesn't feel very spacious and I can imagine in the heat of summer the pool area would get very crowded.
Finally, not all units created equal – they are privately owned and some owners have chosen to install dishwashers or Foxtel, while other owners are happy to live without. Not only did we get the three kids, but the grandparents got Foxtel and the dishwasher. We definitely got the raw end of that deal. When making a booking though, you can request a unit with Foxtel and the managers would certainly do their best to accommodate you.
Rates vary depending on the time of year and get cheaper the longer you stay. For example a deluxe two bedroom villa (where we stayed) cost $195 a night (for two people) if you stayed only one night, but drops to $160 a night if you stay 4 nights. Extra adults are $20pp. A premier three bedroom villa is $260 a night for a single night and $210 a night for four nights.
Amalfi is probably best suited to families with slightly older kids who want to scoot around the complex or hang out at the pool. The beach is also a two minute walk down the road. Even though the complex is very intimate, and was packed to capacity over the school holidays, it never felt noisy at night time. Best of all, the staff are very friendly and helpful, always quick with a smile and hello, and we were made to feel very welcome.