FIRST RE­SORT

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - CONTENTS - STORY DAVID MEAGHER

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.

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