Visited with my wife during September - would happily have stayed longer... much longer...
Our holiday began once we arrived at Hamilton and were taken to the helicopter lounge. Our first time in a helicopter and it was great but way too short, we should’ve asked our pilot to do a few laps of the island so we could absorb all of the stunning surroundings. But unfortunately it is literally only a five minute flight. After flying to the west side of Long Island you swing into Paradise Bay, greeted by friendly smiling faces and a cold towel (which is surprisingly needed as it gets quite warm in the little blue chopper).
After being presented with our names in chocolate and strawberries accompanied by a glass of champagne we are given a run through of all things you need to know by Rosie. It is pretty simple and is a bit like an “our home is your home” type of arrangement. You are then escorted to your cabin/bungalow.
The cabin has all you need. A room with shower and toilet and a room with a bed. You will not need a kitchenette as there will be no need for you to use it – you won’t go hungry. There is no need for a separate lounge room as there is no TV. If you want to relax and read a book you can do so whilst lying in the hammock or sitting at the table and chairs on the veranda. Try not to get distracted by the wildlife which will visit or the view which will be there, especially as the sun sets over the horizon. The bed was big and comfortable with more than enough covers to keep my wife more than warm which is no mean feat.
When we stayed the weather was mild. We did not need to worry about air-conditioning which is one of the non-available features. In other words, there is no air-con. The solar power doesn't support it or the use of any other high energy appliances (I was advised that some hair drying tools do not work).
The rooms keep themselves ventilated by the clever use of screens and shutters – there is no glass in the cabin door or windows. There are flyscreens but that is it. This acts as a breezeway to keep the room fresh. I could imagine those who like their room to be temperature controlled may struggle a little with this at first but nothing the fans and a dip in the ocean wouldn’t cure. The privacy of the cabins means this is not an issue too (except for the occasional not switched on guest who doesn’t get the privacy idea)...
So a typical day goes like this...
Breakfast is 8 til 9 and consists of some basics such as toast, cereals and muffins. The muffins (and cookies) are all baked fresh on site. There is also a cooked breakfast option which ranged from bacon, eggs, sausage type affair to fruit toast with poached seasonal fruits.
At the end of breakfast the Captain arrives and discusses options for the days sailing based on the weather, number of people, etc. You choose “Do I go out on the boat or do I stay at the resort”. We did both. This is followed at 10am by the helicopter arriving to take those unfortunate enough to be leaving back to Hamilton.
We went out on the big catamaran on our second day and were not disappointed despite the winds being a little higher than usual. The size of the cat means that seasickness shouldn’t be an issue for most. We went to a secluded beach and on the way saw whales playing in the waves; a special moment for all as it majestically rose out of the water and breeched. Space on the cat was not an issue despite our first trip out being on a day when the resort was full with (wow) 20 people! There is a wet net at the front which you can sit/lay on as the occasional splash reminds you of where you are... paradise. If there is only a few people going out for the day then there is a smaller, faster boat which gets you to Whitehaven Beach in about 50 minutes and before the crowds. The “picnic” lunch was more than sufficient to keep you going throughout the day and there was a supply of snacks for those who got peckish.
After a couple of boat trips we decided to spend a full day at the resort. This was a truly
relaxing day. Breakfast first. Then Captain. Then see off the people going out on the boat (sounds odd but you quickly feel like everyone staying is like family and feel the need to wave them off for a great days sailing - which they had). Next, handshakes and hugs for our new but departing friends and waving goodbye as they got in the helicopter.
And then quiet. Just the gentle lapping of the ocean as the tide retreated. An hour of doing... well not much really... just four of us: myself, my wife and two young ladies who had stayed for a sunbake, relaxed with a book and the occasional conversation (or for me a chat with Luke about sport – whilst smelling the evenings sauce reduce slowly) - wonderful.
We then had a bit of a snorkel about 60 metres out from the resort. Not too much to see as the current and the wind kept visibility down to a minimum but nice to have a float around. No wetsuit required as the water temperature was fine. If you want to swim off the beach you really need the tide to be coming in or around the high point. The low tide goes out quite a way and this can make swimming a challenge. However, you can still kayak using one of the resorts many craft.
I was greeted from my return from snorkelling with some anxious faces, well drooling actually, lunch was on its way and they were waiting for me. Nice. Lunch was served sitting outside with just the four of us - an excellent meal and a cold crisp glass of sav blanc. As we sat back and took in the sun the distant sound of the helicopter on its way with today’s lucky new arrivals appeared. As it comes into land we wave and smile, you feel a kind of warmth knowing what they are about to begin experiencing.
At 6:30 it is time to gather in the main “room” for today’s cocktails and canapés. Luke’s pea “soup” amuse-bouche was a particularly outstanding effort. As you all gather people begin to chat and relay stories of their day. We learn fascinating new things about our newly arrived friends and hint to them at the pleasures they are about to receive.
We then sit at our communal table. This is often outside. Bring a jumper or cardigan as there could be a breeze coming off the water. My wife needed a scarf too. Don’t forget it gets cool at night by the water so pack a couple of warm clothing items (also handy on the boat). No preselected seating just take a seat where you feel comfortable. We are then presented with 3 courses of excellence. As the first is tabled, Todd/Luke will tell you what you are eating and where it is from. Sophie/Bronwyn will then tell you what wine you have in your glass and why it has been paired with the food you are about to eat. Main - Repeat. Dessert - repeat again. In my work life I am fortunate to take clients to some decent restaurants and the food we received was as good as if not better than most – the beauty of personal service.
As you eat and drink you become friends with those who are sitting around you. We had the absolute pleasure of meeting a wide range of people from a boat broker to those who had eloped and were literally “just married”. We also covered off a few different countries with the US, Dubai, UK, Poland and of course Australia.
You may think that a communal dinner table is not for you or that you won’t have anything to say. A number of couples said the same as they arrived for their first meal but by the end of the meal all had said what a great time they had had and were looking forward to the next night. I think even the couple who had a Star Wars themed wedding and were, by their own statement, self confessed “nerds”, were a bit surprised at how interested everybody was in them and their own individual stories.
So to sum up in one paragraph: No kids, (Well almost no – but with the Cudo deal possibly a younger set but not young children if you see what I mean) No internet/phones, wonderful hosts (Steve and Rosie); excellent food; Bronwyn and Sophie were outstanding, Todd (I wish we could’ve had experienced more of your offerings) but without doubt the star of the show for us was Luke.
I normally finish my reviews with would I go back but this time I am not going to as I think it is pretty obvious...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set against the brilliantly contrasting backdrops of sun-soaked beaches, crystal clear water and pristine untouched wilderness, full of friendly local wildlife. Paradise Bay is the ultimate in romantic, environmentally friendly island getaways – your own piece of Paradise in the Whitsundays. With a maximum of just 20 guests at one time and no kids, no day visitors, no mobile phone reception or internet, this is the ultimate, intimate escape... Welcome to Paradise! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Paradise Bay Island Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Paradise Bay Eco Escape Hotel Long Island
- Paradise Bay Island Resort Long Island, Whitsunday Islands, Australia