This Wellness Resort Won ‘Best Luxury Accommodation’ at the Australian Tourism Awards

The Reef House Palm Cove

A Queensland adults-only, wellness resort has won gold in the 5-star luxury accommodation category at the Australian Tourism Awards, held in Darwin, NT this month. The resort’s directors attribute its win to its innovative business plan of offering complimentary experiences as part of stays.

The resort is The Reef House Boutique Hotel and Spa in Tropical North Queensland’s Palm Cove, a 30-minute drive north of Cairns. Stays include beachfront yoga sessions, reef conservation talks and wine appreciation classes. Guests can enjoy evening canapés and punch with the hotel’s general manager.

“Our repeat visitation has soared to 25% with guests who want to be pampered while they take time out for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation in a place where they the staff by name,” says Malcolm Bean, one of The Reef House directors, alongside David Horbelt.

The Reef House Palm Cove
Image: Reef House

Bean says he’s proud of The Reef House’s 13-year journey, redeveloping a historic Australian hospitality gem – Palm Cove’s first hotel – into a luxury beach getaway.

“The secret to our success is a new model for hotel business with a high staff-to-guest ratio that allows our absolute obsession with customer service to make every guest feel like a VIP while on holiday,” says Horbelt.

This year’s Australian Tourism Awards introduced the Excellence in Accessible Tourism award, recognising tourism businesses that offer accessible and inclusive tourism experiences. Adelaide Fringe won gold in the category.

“There was an exceptional level of competition across all categories, which demonstrates the dedication tourism operators have to develop extraordinary visitor experiences,” said Australian Tourism Awards chairperson, Shaun De Bruyn.

Beach Huts Middleton
Image: Beach Huts

Other gold winners included Beach Huts in Middleton, South Australia for best 4 – 4.5-star deluxe accommodation and Urban Camp in Melbourne, Victoria for 3 – 3.5-star accommodation.

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm in Dampier Peninsula, WA took home the top spot for unique accommodation. It offers glamping tents, pearlers’ shacks, camping and caravan spots and a master pearlers’ private retreat. Canberra’s Jamala Wildlife Lodge won silver in the category and South Australia’s Woodhouse Adventure Park won bronze.

The awards also awarded The Woods Ocean Grove in Victoria, an hour and 45 minutes driving distance from Melbourne, gold in the self-contained accommodation category. Tree Chalets in Acton Park, WA came in second and The Granary in Richmond Hill, Tasmania third.

Related: 10 Accessible Queensland Experiences That Everyone Can Enjoy

Related: 15 Queensland National Parks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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