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Q: What were your ambitions for The Reef House when you took it over 13 years ago?

A: The key hope we had for The Reef House was to return it to its pedigree of being the place where everyone wanted to stay when travelling to Tropical North Queensland.

It was always known for its fabulous dining and friendly hospitality coupled with a ‘Raffles’ feeling of relaxed luxury.

Our mission was to look to the past to inspire our future. We put a massive focus on understanding the history of what made The Reef House so special to its guests by scouring history books and guest feedback from that era.

In the process we began to not only understand how to return The Reef House to its halcyon days, but to go even further and make it the most relaxing, comfortable upmarket offering in Australia today.

Q: What kind of experience will visitors have at the property? 

A: Today The Reef House is an adults-only retreat and provides a destination that is unique in Australia for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation in the beautiful tropics. It is a compelling destination that many guests return to annually and some bi-annually.

Guests will have the most relaxing and life affirming holiday you could hope for anywhere in Australia. They will feel regenerated and recharged for the times ahead before their next visit to The Reef House.

When it comes to food they will enjoy a culinary journey through the tropics, whether that is enjoying fresh tropical fruits on our restaurant deck for breakfast, a freshly baked bun of Moreton Bay bugs for lunch, or sampling our signature dish of red curry barramundi on pilaf rice with namjin sauce for dinner in our restaurant.

Q: You’ve won many awards in recent years. What is the secret of your success?

A: Respecting our team, our history, keeping true to the natural beauty of our locale and most importantly listening to our guests.

We are not the most modern “bling” style hotel which you will find in any city anywhere in the world. We are a tropical oasis of relaxation in a harried world. Our team and culture is 100% focused on guest experience and a sense of belonging.

Each stay is generally a minimum of a week which allows our guests to fully dislocate from society and its associated stresses and enjoy the natural beauty, amazing culinary delights and friendly efficient service which underpins every Reef House stay.

We have more than 21 Signature Inclusions which allow our guests to keep busy as they relax and soak up the tropical atmosphere.

There is an almost mainland cruise ship atmosphere when staying at The Reef House and we are constantly refining our model and making improvements to the property to keep it fresh, yet familiar to our returning guests.

Q: Luxury travel is booming at the moment. What’s your thoughts on why this is?

A: I think this is largely a post-COVID phenomenon. Locking up our borders allowed Australians to experience the world-class hospitality available on our shores and they realised you don’t have to travel abroad to have an amazing holiday experience, bringing a new respect for the quality of offerings on our continent.

This boom of inbound luxury travel has also allowed hotels to invest more in their offerings and more hotel chains and investors to see luxury travel as a space worthy of investing in, so there is a cascading effect that will hopefully remain in place for many years to come.

Q: Tell us about some of the programs you’ve currently got in place for visitors.

A: Our Signature Inclusions are constantly being added to. These include cocktail making classes, wine appreciation classes with the sommelier, an evening talk about the Great Barrier Reef with a master reef guide, a pool butler serving gelato by the pool, a cultural talk with local Indigenous man Shaun Creek and yoga on the beach.

The ‘Sleep Easy’ program helps guests to improve their sleeping habits with a guide developed for The Reef House by a sleep researcher. It includes a Spotify playlist and tips to improve their sleep, and guests can join an annual Sleep Retreat working directly with the researcher during their stay.

More guest offerings will be revealed in coming months.

Q: What is the one thing you’re most proud of about the Reef House?

A: The smiles… whether it’s the smile on our guests’ faces as they enjoy their stay at the resort or the beaming smiles of our team as they deliver the best service possible.

We allow our guests and team to retreat from the real world and enter an alternate universe where people soak up the good things in life.

We have achieved this by creating an adults-only retreat offering that is unique in Australia and recognised and celebrated by our guests who are returning more often and bringing their friends and family. The Reef House is a business built around guest service, experiences and memories.

Q: What plans do you have for the Reef House in the future?

A: A key direction we are considering is to grow more into wellness… we have many ideas about how we can enhance our current guest journey and possibly break into a new market by putting even more focus on the wellness aspects of a stay at The Reef House.

The Reef House was once famous for guest chef programs featuring the likes of Manu Feildel, George Colambaris, Pete Evans and Gary Mehigan. We would like to move in this direction again.

We also have an ongoing list of room improvements to keep the product as beautiful as possible.