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“Loved Lizard”

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Lizard Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lizard Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 May 2008

Lizard Island is special. Beautiful white beaches, fabulous snorkelling a few steps from the resort, amazing outer reef dives only an hour away plus five star accommodation, food and service. We thought long and hard about the cost but it was worth it. This was our experience:
Getting to Lizard: We were met by a representative from Hinterland Air after disembarking from the plane at Cairns airport and driven in a clean town car to their base 5 minutes from the main domestic terminal. Hinterland have a small lounge reserved for passengers flying to Lizard or Bedarra. It has basic tea and coffee facilities. A small point - some cold water would have been nice. The flight to Lizard took an hour in an 8 seater plane, very smooth, nice views of the ocean and reefs.
Checkin: We were greeted with friendly smiles from the Lizard staff who were professional and made us feel very welcome. A two minute mini bus ride to the checkin area and we were introduced to the Manager. While we sipped iced tea he gave us a quick island briefing before we were shown to our rooms.
Accommodation: We were upgraded from an Anchor Bay Room to a Suite (the resort was less than half full when we arrived, May can be a quiet time). Next time I would pay the extra to guarantee this type of accommodation. We had a large room with silent airconditioning and a a ceiling fan. Features included a comfortable bed, pillow menu, two shower heads, CD player with relaxing music, day bed on the balcony and a partial ocean view. We had a look at the Sunset Villas - they have better views but are elevated with steps down to a different beach. We preferred the fact that our room was a few steps away from the main beach especially when carrying snorkelling equipment.
Food: The food was excellent. Breakfast quality continental plus order gourmet hot dishes from the menu. Lunch and dinner a la carte entrees, mains and deserts, beautifully cooked and presented. We had a wonderful private dining experience with a seafood platter (entree and desert from the menu).
Drinks: Drinks are included in the tariff (except for high quality vintage wines etc). The drinks menu details what is and isn't included. The wines that don't incur an extra charge (and there is a decent list) were generally good e.g. Australian and NZ.
Snorkelling and Diving: Colourful coral and fish right off the beach and from most of the other beaches on the island - in our opinion better than Heron, Lady Elliot etc. Diving was amazing. Lizard's full day trip gives you access to sites normally only accessible from a live a board. Cod Hole lived up to its reputation - interacting with the huge potato cod was one of the best diving experiences of my life. It's easy diving as well - minimal current, detailed briefings. There's even a special fish feeding surprise at the end.
Activities: We booked a dinghy to one of the many pristine island beaches. We were provided with a gourmet picnic lunch, drinks etc and had the beach to ourselves for a short time. Snorkelling at Watsons Bay (next beach over) is excellent but pick your time as it is visited by some of the liveaboards. We didn't have time to do the various walks but there are several options of different lengths. We did the trip to the research station - interesting if you have a genuine interest in reefs and sealife.
Spa treatments: The spa is a small building and lacks ambience but the massages we had were good.
Service: We found the service to be outstanding and uniquely Australian in that staff were more than happy to have a brief chat and share their tips and experiences of the island but equally will leave you alone if you don't initiate a conversation. Meals were served promptly (in appropriate timeframes), housekeeping was exemplary, beach hut staff were knowlegible and friendly.
Weather: The weather in May was a bit windy but it wasn't uncomfortable and didn't stop us doing anything.
We celebrated our anniversary and were incredibly sad to leave Lizard after a short 3 night stay - not long enough. We are already planning to go back next year.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank JodieTravel01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 March 2008

My wife and I stayed here on our honeymoon in June 2006 and had a wonderful time. We stayed for four nights in an anchor bay suite. I believe we were in either suite 39 or 40. The lower numbers are closer to the main restaurant and beach activities and are less private (I think 39/40 were the furthest from the main area--maybe a three minute walk). Each suite shares a wall with an adjacent one, but is otherwise set apart by maybe 200 feet from the next one (I think--it's been a while since we stayed). I was very happy with this room. Very spacious and opened out onto the ocean at the back (along with a day bed on the small deck). Lots of lizards (iguanas?) running around. Fun to watch. There's a small pool, but it's not much to look at, and I never saw anyone in it. There's also a very small gym, with dumbells up to maybe 20 lbs each and a stairmaster or two. The food is all inclusive (not the wine, I think) and was generally very good quality. See if you can be there for the lobster (more like big crayfish, since all the meat was in the tail) night, which I think was Friday, or maybe Thursday. We didn't drink much of the wine. We booked directly with the property, and booked four nights at Lizard Island and four nights at Silky Oaks, which also included transportation to the various properties (including the plane to Lizard), and was cheaper than booking these options separately. I probably should have written this trip report right after the stay, but that's what I remember now. Big picture: We enjoyed our stay, and regret only we didn't stay for six nights, rather than four. In retrospect, I probably would have allocated some of the Silky Oaks time to Lizard Island. On a related point, we got certified for diving at Lizard, which was great. The only thing is that if you stay only for four days, you're going to feel always "on" in terms of a diving schedule. Better to stay six days and have some down time. Last, last thing: The weather in June was generally warm, although it showered for one day. You can't go diving if that happens (I think), but you can always snorkel right outside your room and see the (truly amazing) giant clams in the bay. Hope that helps. Also, we stayed for two nights in Cairnes in between going to Lizard. Although we found things to do there and generally had a good time (taook a cable car to Kuranda, I thinkl), you could easily skip (i.e., not overnight in) Cairnes if it means more time at Liizard Island.

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank jgold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2008

My 9 member , extended family, spent 4 wonderful nights at the Lizard Island Resort. I can't say enough about all of it. We had a marvelous time.

We had a nice flight over on Hinterland Air. We were then taken from the air strip to the hotel where we were greeted and welcomed by Simon. After refreshments and a small orientation we were taken to our rooms. We had 4 rooms overlooking the ocean. All the rooms are the same with a large living/bedroom (queen size bed and sofa sleeper, desk), wood floors , mini-bar stocked with lots of choices and some wonderful chocolate chip cookies(recipe of head chef), an oversized bathroom with two shower heads, and a deck equipped with chairs for watching the ocean and the lizards (they were everywhere).

Meals are served 3x day in the dining room. The only time we saw a repeated offering was breakfast. The bar is open at anytime and if you don't like what is on the menu you need only to ask and they will try to fix what you want. One of our favorite drinks from the bar was the Creamy Lizard, a chocolate concoction. But they also fixed us some drinks based on ingredients we liked or just on how we were feeling that day. In addition to the breakfast menu there is a continental buffet with breads for toasting, fresh fruit, juices, and other pastries and cereals. We did not lack for food.

We did not want for anything to do. Even though the winds were the summer winds and the dory's had to be moved to the other side of the island, we were able to take a dory to another island for a wonderful lunch (packed by the staff and enough food for 10 people...there were only 4 of us on this junket), beer, pop, or whatever you want. We took a glass bottom boat trip (they made special arrangements to get my elderly Mother to the other side of the Island so she could go on the trip), walked around the island, had massages, snorkled and spent 4 of the most relaxing vacation days we have ever had. And.. we found Nemo! Thursday night they have a social where staff and guests met for drinks and mingled.

My Husband asked if they did anything special for Valentines Day. He was told that they would supply a bottle of champaign on ice if he liked... (they did, for all 4 rooms). He asked about flowers. They barge all supplies into the Island and barge all trash out every two weeks, so flowers not readily available. One of the young ladies working at the front desk personally went out and collected flower blossoms from the local plants to put with the champagne. It was amazing!

They have their own desalination plant so water is not a problem and also generate their own electricity.

If you want to be spoiled beyond belief, treated like you are the most important person in the place (I am sure this is how celebrities feel) and have the vacation of a lifetime, visit Lizard Island. I would love to go back!!

Special thanks to Simon, Frederick, John, Robert Francis, Amy , Tenille, the bar tenders, the boat girls, and all the rest of the staff for making us feel very special and providing us with the vacation of a lifetime.

The only negative... I had asked for a 2 bedroom unit, not knowing until we arrived that there weren't any. And since My Mom was sharing our room with us, and all the sleeping areas were in the one room, we were very cozy. She chose to sleep on the sofa-sleeper which was not very comfortable.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled with family
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3  Thank KalenaJeanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2008

I am not going to repeat all the things said about how beautiful it is there, because it is gorgeous. I am also not going to get into how colorful and exotic the reef was for snorkeling because it is exquisite and everyone has mentioned that already. However, I have to say that the staff was absolutely amazing. It is true that most people are there for 6-12 months so that may be hit or miss, but everyone was so attentive and courteous when we were there.

It was our honeymoon and we stayed for 8 days and 7 nights. I would recommend staying this long because you can really take advantage of all the activities at the beach shop and still have time to relax and do nothing. We had never scuba dove before so we took a class and the instructors could not have been more patient with us. They made sure that we were comfortable and even stayed with us for an extra hour to make sure that everything was perfect. We took a full day trip to the outer reef the following day and it was amazing. We went to no name reef and Cod Hole which was one of the best experiences of my life. The instructor was with me the entire time and made sure that the dive went smoothly. My wife chose to snorkel since it was her first time for that as well. It was a magical experience and it is a must for anyone going to Lizard Island.

The boat fascination was a luxurious 54ft beauty and we caught 2 Mahi Mahi, a Spanish Mackerel and a Bronze Whaler Shark. The crew was great as well and we had a blast. We only did a half day which was perfect for us. Other people went out and caught loads of tuna which the restaurant shared with everyone during the Thursday seafood buffet/ BBQ. I guess this changes because another review said theirs was on Tuesday, but try to make sure that you are there for this.

One night we ate dinner on the beach which I would highly recommend. The chef sat with us the night before to pick out the menu and made sure that there wasn't anything that we didn't enjoy. They even incorporated our Mahi Mahi into the dinner. The waiter and bartender then put together a wine pairing for each course. It was such a romantic night for the two of us.

We also did a sunset boat cruise which had wine and cheese and was very intimate. There were 2 staff members on the boat and one other couple. It was amazing and I would highly recommend this as well. This was nice, but not a must.

At water sports we reserved a Dinghy to explore the island. The kitchen packed a cooler for us with lunch (whatever we wanted). We went to Mermaid cove and had the entire beach to ourselves for the day. We felt like we were the only people on the entire Island. The snorkeling there was also amazing.

The food was superb as were the drinks (so many cocktails and wines to choose from “included” with our stay). Not sure why people say the bar closes at 10:30 because we were there until midnight twice. In any case, the mini bar isn't extra so if you need a nightcap, drink up.

I do not have a bad thing to say about this place. We were able to do it all, in addition to doing nothing at all. Lizard Island exceeded our expectations and we look forward to returning soon.

PS- They had a pillow menu in the room. I have never seen a pillow menu before, but it was a nice surprise.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank bbods
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2008

My husband and I stayed at Lizard Island as a part of our Australian honeymoon. We had heard a few negative things about Lizard, both on Trip Advisor and while in Australia but booked it because it looked beautiful and because it was one of the more northern resorts and since we were headed there in the Australian winter, we wanted to maximize our chances of good weather. I was nervous after everything I heard and for the money we were spending, but my husband was insistent. Turns out he was totally right - there was absolutely nothing to worry about. Staying at Lizard Island was one of the best experiences either of us has ever had and it could not have made for a more perfect ending to our honeymoon.

The island is absolutely gorgeous. There are 24 beaches to explore, so the chances of getting one all to yourself are high. Even with tidal restrictions in place most of the time we were there, we were still able to get a completely private beach one day and had to share the beaches with only a few people the rest of the time. The snorkeling is unparalleled. One day we were wandering along the water's edge and a sting ray literally swam right up to the beach and up to us. The fish off the beach are completely unafraid and will swim right up to you and there is no end of beautiful coral reefs to explore. My husband spent hours snorkeling without getting bored. We also did the Cooks Look hike, which was just amazing. It's not too strenuous of a hike (though it's certainly not easy) and the spectacular view from the top is more than worth it!

The resort is also really lovely. It's not opulent and fancy - it's very simple and minimalist. The staff are very considerate and friendly. I am vegetarian and every night at dinner they were more than accommodating in putting together meals I would enjoy (the vegetarian "menu" itself is just a list of the sides of the main courses, but I just asked for what I wanted, and it was always provided!). The food is not fantastic (we stayed at Longitude 131 beforehand - the food there was FANTASTIC) but it's quite nice, and fresh, and there is a lot of it. You can have all three entrees if you want or all three deserts and one afternoon we took two lovely cheese plates to go to enjoy on our deck with champagne in the early evening. There is an extensive wine list included with the price and we were pleasantly surprised to find it was more than adequate and enabled us to sample local Australian wines not available in the US. The rooms were large and well stocked with a fantastic mini-bar selection including a bottle of champagne, and a full-sized red and white wine (all included of course) and were promptly made up twice a day.

The spa looked fantastic but we had to cancel our couples massage after my husband got sunburned. I was so pleasantly surprised to find when I called about twenty minutes before our scheduled service when we returned from the beach to find he was badly burnt that I was assured we wouldn't be charged for missing our appointment for this good reason, despite the policy that says otherwise and that we were rescheduled for the end of our stay with no issues (he was still too burnt by then so we ended up canceling that time as well). In addition, the very sweet lady I spoke with offered to lend us the tester of a lovely after sun product at the spa to soothe his burn (it was quite expensive and we didn't want to spend the money to buy a bottle, so she just lent us the open one).

If I wanted to, I could definitely find things to criticize about Lizard Island. I actually agree with many previous reviews about the negatives about the resort. It's just that when we arrived there and discovered what pure paradise Lizard really is, we also realized that some of the criticisms we read, while completely true, were less important than we thought they would be. The first day we were there, there was no dinghy available for us, which was annoying, but a beach club member was available to escort us to the beach of our choice with all of our gear and our picnic and pick us up at the end of the day (he actually came once, and we weren't ready to leave so he came back later for us). The service at dinner can be slow and the portions small. However, both my husband and I felt that since we had no where else to be, we were more than happy to enjoy our wine and each other's company. And we simply ordered more food if we were still hungry (and had all the desert choices every night!). We were disappointed our half day reef snorkel was canceled but it was for rough weather on the reef and certainly not the Resort's fault. The island may be a bit boring if the weather is bad (we had one rather gray windy day which was a bit dull, but we took a walk to the end of the airplane landing strip and explored a bit, which was fun), but that's a risk you run going to any beach resort. The staff don't fawn over you, unlike other upscale hotels, but we were always accommodated when we made a request and everyone was nothing but friendly to us. Many even knew our names (and called me by my married name, which at that point was still very exciting since we were newly married!).

My husband and I could not have been happier with our Lizard Island experience. We can't wait to go back and could not recommend it more highly! It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and was worth every penny!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank PhiladelphiaAngel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2007

This is a wonderful island set on the Great Barrier Reef. It isn't a heavily developed or commercialised island like some others. It isn't all manicured grounds and palm trees. Surprisingly, the island is very dry. Most of the island is National Park and there are lots of walking tracks across the island to other beaches and to the top of Cook's Look, the hill in the centre of the island from which there are wonderful views out across the lagoon in all directions. I have snorkelled all over the world and the snorkelling just off Sunset Beach at low tide is one of the best I have ever experienced. Even if you aren't a good swimmer or have never snorkelled before, if you walk in off the beach to where the water is at about thigh height, there is coral and fish all around. The walk across the hill to the Clam Garden is also well worth it. Now for the down side - unfortunately the front office staff displayed a rudeness and arrogance that I have never encountered anywhere in the world before. Because we weren't wearing Gucci or Versace they treated us like we might be going to steal the cutlery. Once this happened despite the wonderful snorkelling I couldn't wait to leave and would never recommend this resort to any friends.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank oscat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2007

Arrival:

On arrival at Lizard we were transferred to a little Gazebo lounge given sparkles and canapés and introduced to the Hotel Manager and Frederick the General Manager (either or both seemed to meet each flight) Each couple (or trio in our case) is shown around the resort and to their room. This is the perfect time to do dinghy bookings and fit out for snorkel gear.

Room:
Anchor Bay Suite 32 (pictures already on TA courtesy of previous guest)
Rooms are individually decorated and spacious. Even with the rollaway we had ample room (NB rollaways are no longer permitted in ABS). The mini bar was filled each day and there was one cleaning hitch when the privacy sign was left on and the staff did not return later in the day. Fixed promptly by a phone call. Beach towels were replaced each day.
Only negative is that the toilet is a bit small but I prefer it in a separate room so no major complaint. Ample hangers for clothes and small baskets for smalls. Iron etc, bug spray and mossie coils all provided. No choccies on turn down but in the heat I think the mess is more an issue. Aroma and CD nice to return to. LOL our CD had a scratch and about halfway thru would repeat the same track. Our daughter wrote a little note an popped it inside the cover…net night we had a new CD!

We chose our room type based on location (we had requested 38, but in fact 32 was better) as there is no hill to negotiate in the dark after dinner. If mobility is an issue then ABS are a must. There was still a lovely sunset from the lounge in front of our room on the beach.
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Activities:
Outer reef venture. TBH I felt a little do I don’t I, been there done that but it was nevertheless an enjoyable experience. There were 14 pax on board and 5 of these were snorkeling. I have to admit I felt a little chafed having to be part of a group but once the guide knew we were okay she left us to our freedom only moving us to areas of the cod hole which were of significant value.

Lunch on board was pretty much a large version of the standard picnic pack and we then moved to Dynamite Reef for another paddle. I think the highlight was the diversity of fish life, including grey reef sharks, white tips, potato cod, anemone fish, and spectacular Moorish idols. The coral was varied in both type and colour.

Dinghy:
We had a dinghy 3 days out of 7 and had tidal restrictions for most of the time. We still managed to have a beach to ourselves and only 2 other couples on the long beach at Mermaid. We found being out all day a bit too much so had snacks and drinks on two days and returned the dinghy by lunchtime. If you miss out on a dinghy put yourself on the wailtlist as a few other people did the same as us. Dinghy’s come equipped with towel, umbrellas etc.

Walks:
There are few walks around the resort and we attempted Cooks look. Take more water than you think and a snack. A nice walk but start early in the day as it can be very warm by around 11am.

Gym:
Small but well equipped and not much in demand. Also has another TV so if you can’t watch what you want in the lounge! ; )
Snorkelling Gear:
We had our own gear but our daughter used the islands. She had an issue with her mask but this was not a problem. The hut guy spent ages making sure the replacement was just right. All good quality equipment and a bag to carry it in!
Beaches:
The one in front of the main resort caters for 8 couples on lounges and if you are willing to sit /lay on the sand you can still have your own spot. Only once could we not get a lounge and TBH I enjoyed laying on the daybed watching the finch build its nest and sand monitor come out each afternoon at around 3pm (drink time!) . Our room had a view down to Watsons Bay but still private enough not to be able to be seen from the beach.
Food:
Breakfast menus seemed to have a roughly 3-4 day rotation so having spent a week this meant we didn’t worry too much. While there have been comments re the size of servings our daughter not only had a selection from the buffet but also had 2 hot breakfasts each day…hmm. They specially made her peach and banana smoothie when requested.
Picnic Packs: Great assortment to pick from on the menu packed into an esky with chiller bricks. Drinks go into a separate esky. We moved the prawns in with the ice as the day was very hot. Table cloths, napkins etc and real cutlery crockery mean a civilized picnic.

Sunset canapés, currently on Thursdays. The buffet was small but beautiful and the freshly BBQ marron was excellent.

Lunches:
On top of the menu you can always ask for something else so ask and you can have what you like. Sandwiches although not listed on the menu are always an option. Good light options with 2 courses. Gelato always available!

Dinner:
Beachside dining was as promised, Romantic and Intimate. On booking this the automatic assumption is that you will have the seafood platter, however if you let them know in advance you can eat from the a la carte. Until recently this was prebookable, however it must now be booked while you are on the island to make it a fair chance for all. If we return next year as planned I would probably request the seafood platter but eat in the restaurant on one night. Mostly because it’s a done that rather than any negative to the experience.
Most nights service was prompt and meals were fantastic. We had one slow night due to everyone arriving within a half hour window. They are trying to encourage people to make bookings (not really required so if you book for later and arrive early its not a big deal) to be better able to plan kitchen staff and restaurant flow.
Desserts: Yummo some of the best I’ve had and always includes a cheese selection. Each night a tasting plate with all 3 full size desserts is an option. Our daughter enjoyed this to herself and much to the surprise of all finshed it!
Beverages:
The complimentary list is extensive and includes many good quality wines from top Aussie winemakers. The bar also has a list of aperitifs etc. Our daughter enjoyed a variety of mocktails so no complaints there either. The ability to drink by the glass from anything on the list means that wine and food matching is perfectly possible.
Staff:
My greatest fear was that we would get the standard OS backpackers with no idea of hospitality. On the contrary it was mostly young Australians, a few Kiwis, Brits and Canadians. Staying a week meant we got to meet many of them and it was interesting to hear the range of high class establishments some of them had worked in OS. We spoke with Frederick quite a few times as he is keen to improve the standards of the resort and was looking for feedback. His background includes working in and around Australia for approx the past 30 years, including stints in Asia and French Polynesia. His role on Lizard is to bring it up to the standard expected and I think he is capable of doing this. He was a manager on Hayman in its glory days.
Departure:
Check out was pretty easy. Mini bus to airstrip….and a lovely scenic flight back to Cairns.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled with family
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12  Thank GurusW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Lizard Island Resort

Address: Via Cairns, Cook Shire, Lizard Island, Queensland 4871, Australia
Region: Australia > Queensland > Cook Shire > Lizard Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lizard Island
Price Range: £1,050 - £1,741 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Lizard Island Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. With 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites, it is the most northern resort in tropical Queensland and is located directly on the Great Barrier Reef. A National Park covering 1,013 hectares with 24 sandy beaches and a lagoon, Lizard Island is accessible only by private charter from Cairns Airport in northern Queensland, Australia. Cairns Airport is accessible from all major Australian airports and directly from some cities in Asia. The island is reserved for the fortunate few who will experience an unforgettable holiday like no other. Enjoy secluded picnics and sunset beach degustation on private beaches, five star cuisine in the beautiful Salt Water restaurant and indulgent spa treatments in the Essentia Day Spa. Relax in style in premium accommodation and take in the wonders of Australia's Great Barrier Reef - right on your doorstep. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lizard Island Hotel Lizard Island
Lizard Island Resort All Inclusive

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