The Latest Hotel News Out of Queensland, Australia

Three-bedroom Owner’s Penthouse at One&Only Hayman Island
Three-bedroom Owner’s Penthouse at One&Only Hayman Island

Recent reports from Australia indicate that the northeastern state of Queensland has been experiencing a healthy rise in international arrivals, including record numbers from the United States. The hotel industry there is keeping pace with recent openings and plans for future development.

The biggest news concerns the One&Only Hayman Island, which opened on July 1 following an $80 million refurbishment of the private island resort. The One&Only Hayman Wing has a series of one-, two- and three-bedroom Penthouse Residences, including one created exclusively by fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, while the newly designed Pool Wing has been upgraded to an all-suite space, each overlooking the One&Only Hayman Pool and the Coral Sea. Pool Wing Suites have separate living and dining areas as well as decks, with each pool-level suite offering direct swim-out access.

Well suited for clients traveling in groups, a collection of Kerry Hill-designed Beach Villas and the freestanding private Beach House are a good option for clients who prefer to be directly on the beach. In their new configuration, the beach villas not only offer private pools and direct access to One&Only Hayman Beach, but are also partnered with Retreat Rooms located directly behind to accommodate larger groups.

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The One&Only Hayman Pool has private cabanas and daybeds, and offers all-day dining at the On the Rocks restaurant and bar. The resort has also opened the Aquazure Pool with family-friendly cabanas and an infinity-edge pool with a zero entry for children.

The One&Only Spa has 13 suites offering a range of spa and beauty treatments as well as lounges, a sauna, steam rooms and Vichy showers. Therapies will range from traditional to contemporary, and are customized for each client.

River View Suite at the Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane
River View Suite at the Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane

The Italian restaurant is now called Amici, and has a wood-fired pizza oven as a centerpiece. For Asian cuisine, Bamboo serves dishes from Japan, China, Korea and Thailand. By the family pool, Aquazure is a relaxed casual-dining restaurant and Pacific serves three meals each day, including a dinner menu with a wide range of barbecue options on different nights (think seafood barbecue or burgers or lamb chops).

Ian Swain, founder of Swain Destinations, was the first guest on property. We caught up with him to get his take on the property.

“I know the island extremely well and this certainly is a game-changer,” says Swain, who has been selling travel to Hayman Island for the past 23 years, and estimates that he has visited the island more than 30 times over the decades.

“The beach wing hasn’t really changed,” he says. “They’ve got eight beach villas and one beach house, which are exceptional and right on the beach. They have their own plunge pool, great for honeymoon couples.

A penthouse living room at One&Only Hayman Island

A penthouse living room at One&Only Hayman Island

“The most telling change is what they’re calling Pool Access suites, which are on the ground-level of the Pool Wing, they have these beautiful timber decks cantilevered out over the iconic pool, and you’ve got nice day beds and little loungers out there to sit on, but you can just jump straight in from there into the pool itself.” Previously, the pool was blocked off from the rooms by rails, he says.

The Hayman Wing, formerly the Lagoon Wing, is going to become the family area of the resort. “When we send our clients that have families with younger children, we’ll certainly have them staying in the Hayman Wing so the kids can have access. The nice thing about this is that it’s right next to the beach activities pavilion,” Swain says.

In other Queensland hotel news, Starwood Hotels and Resorts opened Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane earlier this year. It is the first globally branded, new-build property to open in the Central Business District (CBD) in more than a decade. Housed in a 32-story tower, the 246-room hotel is close to such key attractions as the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane Botanical Gardens, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Treasury Casino.

Another new Starwood property, the W Brisbane, is scheduled to open in early 2018 as part of a mixed-use development on George Street at the western end of the CBD overlooking the Brisbane River.

Accor, in partnership with Action Hotels, is developing the Ibis Brisbane Elizabeth Street. The property is expected to open in 2016 along with the previously announced Ibis Brisbane Airport.

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