Hayman Island is back on the map as a luxury destination with a revamp of its resort by the One&Only group.
HAYMAN ISLAND IN THE NORTHERN WHITSUNDAYS HAS BEEN A DESIRABLE DESTINATION SINCE REG ANSETT BUILT THE RESORT IN 1950. NOW THE ONE&ONLY GROUP HAS UPDATED THE TROPICAL GETAWAY INTO A PARADISE FOR TODAY’S LUXURY TRAVELLER.
The WISH team first visited One&Only Hayman Island for the official opening of the revamped resort last year, after the One&Only group took over its management from the island’s owner Mulpha International. Before opening the resort, the Dubai-based group — which also manages the Emirates-owned Wolgan Valley resort in NSW as well as resorts in the Maldives, Mexico and South Africa, among others — undertook an $80 million building and renovation program to transform the island into a more luxurious and family-friendly destination. But as is the case with any building project — especially when a remote location is involved — there were delays to the construction, so we were unable to experience exactly what One&Only had planned for the island.
So we decided a return visit was in order. Hayman Island’s whitewashed Pool Wing was an iconic symbol of the resort in its heyday (it first opened in 1950). Set around an impressive saltwater, crystal blue, 8.7-megalitre pool, which is surrounded by a timber deck that also houses an inner freshwater pool, the Pool Wing has been transformed into “all-suites” accommodation (the resort’s total number of rooms was reduced from 209 to 160 to give guests more space and luxury). The ground floor rooms have lost their concrete balustrades in favour of a timber deck with direct pool access. New poolside cabanas, available for hire, line one side of the pool and are served by the casual dining area called On the Rocks — one of six restaurants in the resort. This section of the island is Hayman’s unofficial adults-only zone.
The other side of the property, referred to as the Hayman Wing, is where some of the biggest structural changes have occurred, with the addition of the Aquazure pool and adjoining restaurant, neither of which had been finished during our initial visit. The Hayman Wing and pool is aimed mainly, though not exclusively, at families. The pool has a beach-like edge (with sand) so children can easily wade in. There are two kids’ clubs, one for four to 11-year-olds, and another for the 12-to-17 age group.
The resort’s new general manager, Ed Brea, who joined One&Only in September, says there are more developments to come. “We have a new fleet of boats for our luxury transfers from Hamilton Island; the first two will start this year,” he says. “Then next year we want to redo the beach villas and expand the beach house and make it three bedrooms, as a lot of families have a need for that.”
Brea says the owners of the resort have approval to redevelop the marina to provide more berthing for luxury yachts — they will need it once the 20 Kerry Hilldesigned One&Only Estates are completed. The first private house on the island sold in 2010 for a reported $18 million, four are under construction and four more are planned for next year. The three- and four-bedroom residences are serviced by One&Only and while it’s possible for them to be put back into the resort’s accommodation pool, it’s unlikely they will be. “We’re finding that the people who are interested in that kind of residence really value their privacy,” says Brea.