CHECK IT OUT LIZARD ISLAND, GREAT BARRIER REEF
Following a 16-month, $45 million refurbishment, north Queensland’s Lizard Island has picked itself up and dusted off the damage caused by cyclones Ita and Nathan and is fully operational again. The makeover is complete with the opening of the relaxed Marlin Bar, a natural extension of the beach at the far eastern end of the resort, and the addition of a premium two-bedroom villa with private plunge pool.
Famously claiming 24 white sand beaches, one for every four guests or thereabouts, the Great Barrier Reef island resort reopened in June but work on the refit has only just wrapped up. All 40 guestrooms and suites have a cool new coastal look, thanks to Melbourne-based design firm Hecker Guthrie and come equipped with large flat-screen televisions, premium sound systems and complimentary minibars; the bathrooms feature luxury Parisian La Biosthetique toiletries.
The six Sunset Point Plunge Pool Villas each feature easy beach access, ample seating on a private deck with views over Anchor Bay or Sunset Beach and a heated plunge pool. That new premium twobedroom villa is the pick of the resort’s digs, situated on a secluded ridgetop and featuring a large living area, 15m balcony overlooking Sunset and Pebbly beaches, an 8m infinity pool and in-room (or poolside) champagne and canapés every evening.
The resort’s smart new look extends to the restaurant, Driftwood Bar and a wine room. Lizard Island is a national park 27km off the coast, covering more than 1000ha and accessible via a one-hour flight from Cairns.
DON’T MISS: Some pampering time away from the beach in the Essentia Day Spa.
DINING IN AND OUT: Executive chef Mark Jensen oversees daily-changing menus in the revamped Salt Water Restaurant with wines selected by critic Jeremy Oliver. The space has been expanded to maximise broad Anchor Bay views and includes an open kitchen. A typical lunch menu might include seafood laksa or Tasmanian oysters with caviar salsa. Dinner could be coral trout with a pine nut crust, sirloin with mash and pickled fennel, perhaps pea ravioli with wild mushrooms. Fancy popping out? Grab a dinghy and a picnic and make for one of those snug beaches.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Meet the chef to plan a private seven-course degustation sunset dinner.
CHECKING IN: Rooms from $1365 a night, including meals, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, Australian wines, beer, sprits and sparkling wine, in-room mini bar, picnic hampers, and use of non-motorised water sports equipment and motorised dinghies. More: lizardisland.com.au.
ALSO TRY: Laucala Island Resort, Fiji; Maalifushi by COMO Maldives; Amilla Fushi, The Maldives; The Datai, Langkawi, Malaysia.