While visiting Australia, Travel Weekly hotels editor Grant
Flowers checked out Hayman, a resort island off the coast of
Queensland. His report follows:
HAYMAN ISLAND, Australia -- There aren't many resorts in the
world where you can check in while zipping along crystal blue
waters in a yacht, but Hayman, a private island resort near the
Great Barrier Reef, is one of them.
Hayman, a member of Leading Hotels of the World and a darling of
consumer travel publications, is part of the Whitsundays, a group
of islands off the Queensland coast and a short boat trip from the
Great Barrier Reef.
To reach the resort, guests fly into nearby Hamilton Island,
which is home to the major airport in the Whitsundays. Hamilton is
regularly served by major airlines.
Once at Hamilton, customers board one of Hayman's yachts for an
hourlong ride, which includes check-in, to the island.
The journey, particularly for those coming from the U.S., can be
an ordeal. But Hayman is worth the effort.
About 48% of the resort's business comes from international
customers. The U.S. is its largest international source market.
The resort, which opened in 1985, faces its own beach and
occupies only a small part of the private island.
Hayman expanded to 244 rooms after completing the first part of
a renovation project Aug. 1. The resort completed a renovation of
its West Wing in August 2000.
Occupancies average, year-round, about 80%, with high season
coming in October and November -- remember, the seasons are
reversed Down Under.
The hotel is divided into two wings, with an assortment of other
rooms and public areas in between. It's a very walkable resort, as
there are no enclosed interior hallways -- walkways are covered,
however -- and most areas are fairly close together.
Visual goodies abound -- the resort features an art collection
valued at approximately $10 million -- and there are several pools
and lagoons, but the tropical island, with clear water, white sand
and green everywhere, is a better view.
Hayman wisely provides a range of dining options. After all,
customers have nowhere else to go. With fine French dining at La
Fontaine, Asian seafood at Oriental, Italian at La Trattoria and
casual Australian at Planters, guests have four choices to
In addition, Hayman serves breakfast and lunch in a beachfront
facility called the Coffee House.
During peak season, rooms go for a little more than $400 per
night in the newly renovated East Wing rooms, while West Wing digs
are slightly cheaper.
As one might expect with rates like this, rooms are very nice,
with a kind of modern tropical luxury. Floors, for example, are
white marble, and furnishings use blond woods and lots of right
angles. Astute observers will note there is no desk, which is kind
of the point.
When it comes to the beds, well, I might have slept in a better
bed in my life, but if so, I don't remember it. Thread counts
approach infinity, and with the air conditioning cranked up, the
cool fabric feels great after being outside all day.
At Hayman, the emphasis is on activities. Although it's free to
loiter on the beach or by the pool, more adventurous guests can
book snorkeling or diving excursions, some of them to the Great
Barrier Reef. The resort offers its own water activities center,
with qualified guides and instructors.
Other than dining, nightlife can be fairly subdued, with the
notable exception of Fernando's Hideaway, the resort's
Open on Thursdays and Saturdays, it's very popular with the
staff, who, in addition to being warm and friendly, are uniformly
young and attractive.
If you're brave enough to show up, be prepared to party.
Address: Queensland 4801, Australia
Phone: (011) 61-7 4940-1234
Fax: (011) 61-7 4940-1567
Reservations: CRS (Leading Hotels of the World);
Sample rates: Doubles range from $270 to $425;
suites start around $740
Location: The Whitsunday Islands, along the Great
Number of rooms: 244
Raves: If you're into water sports, Hayman's
proximity to the Great Barrier Reef is a major plus. The island is
truly beautiful, and the rooms aren't far behind. Staff members are
helpful and have cool accents to boot.
Rants: Would a full panel in the shower, as
opposed to the half panel that enables water to spray onto the
bathroom floor, really be too much to ask?