The Luxe List 2014:Â One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Making its debut in the Asia-Pacific region, hotel brand One&Only didnâ€™t cut any corners when rebooting Australiaâ€™s iconic Hayman Island resort in July. Some US$80 million was poured into the property, tucked into a cove on the south coast of the 400-hectare island, the most northerly fall of land in the Whitsundays group. Resort life began here in the 1950s with Reg Ansettâ€™s Royal Hayman Hotel; the latest incarnation of the retreat sees rooms and suites reduced in number and expanded in size, in keeping with the exclusive ethos of other One&Only properties in destinations such as the Maldives and Bahamas. The 160 accommodations are arranged into Beach, Pool, and Hayman wingsâ€”the former include Kerry Hillâ€“designed villas with private plunge pools, just steps from a stretch of powder-white sand; others enjoy direct access to the lagoon-style pool, ringed with cabanas. Children are welcome here, but age restrictions apply around the adults-only pool and chill-out lounge area. There are plenty of diversions on land, including seven restaurants and bars, a lavish new spa and fitness center, and naturalist-led hikes. But the real appeal lies offshore: a team of dive experts and marine biologists are on call to lead expeditions to explore the warm waters of the Coral Sea, while excursions to surrounding Great Barrier Reef islets see you packed off with a champagne picnic.
61-7/4940-1234; One&Only Hayman Island; doubles from US$738