The Reawakening of Hayman Great Barrier Reef

Hayman Great Barrier Reef
Hayman Great Barrier Reef

Australasia's most exclusive private island resort – the five-star Hayman Great Barrier Reef, situated just offshore from Queensland, Australia – is poised to reopen next month following temporary closure for property restoration. The luxury resort has engaged in sweeping enhancements to guest and accommodation areas, activity facilities and the resort's overall surroundings – including the commission of acclaimed landscape designer and Australian television personality, Jamie Durie, who is reimagining the lush botanical garden that envelopes the property.

Throngs of eco-minded travelers are lining up to experience the resort upon its reopening, currently on track for August 1, 2011 (just in time for Australia’s spring and summer seasons) – and a bounty of amenities, old and new, await their arrival. As the most awarded luxury nature resort in all of Australasia, Hayman knows a thing or two about pampering guests. Its 210 richly appointed rooms, suites, penthouses, villas and a beach house offer a range of accommodations, whether you’re traveling solo, with a sweetheart or in a larger group – and villa, penthouse and beach house guests enjoy a butler service throughout their stay, an indulgent extra that quickly feels indispensable.

The rooms vary from quiet garden enclaves to tranquil lagoon suites, fourth floor penthouses with expansive terraces to beachfront villas just steps from the sea – but Hayman also offers plenty of diversions beyond the bedroom. Foodies will be spoiled for choice with the resort's seven on-site dining venues – including the new Fontaine and an old favorite, Azure – all overseen by award-winning Executive Chef Glenn Bacon, who was commended in the latest HM Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence. True gourmands can also try a cooking class at the Hayman Culinary Academy, or experience the unforgettable Fontaine Bench – a personalized 12-course dinner for two people in the Main Kitchen.

Between meals, guests can laze on the resort's pristine white-sand beach, retreat to Hayman Spa for a revitalizing treatment, or have their pick of more adventurous pursuits, such as an offshore snorkeling excursion or sea plane flight over the Whitsundays. That cluster of 74 exquisitely untouched islands of the Great Barrier Reef – itself one of the seven wonders of the world – is teeming with biodiversity ripe for exploring. As they say, look, but please don't touch.

And of course, with the world’s largest coral reef system just underfoot, diving excursions are a must. Hayman caters to the dive set with a full fleet of speedboats and cruisers, the largest of which are equipped to reach the outer reef for a truly remarkable dive. And landlubbers needn’t fear, as the resort offers everything from 10-minute “try-dive” experiences to full PADI Open Water certification right on the island, in addition to a range of snorkeling options for those who still prefer the surface.

There's something for every island hopper at Hayman Great Barrier Reef, and even repeat guests will be in for a few surprises when the world-class property unveils its many enhancements next month. To book a stay for the grand reopening, contact +61 7 4940 1838 or visit hayman.com.au. From $590 per room per night for two people including buffet breakfast.