What do Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and Matthew McConaughey all have in common? Other than loads of money and strange blended cross-country accents (except
for McConaughey – we could listen to that Texan drawl allll day long…), it appears they all have impeccable taste in luxury holiday destinations
– Port Douglas, our very own piece of paradise in the Tropical North is a prime spot. Of course, you won’t hear that confirmed by any of the locals – native
Port Douglasians are well known for their tight-lipped nature when it comes to celebrity spotting, often only laconically confirming weeks later when the paparazzi have left.
But we digress – it’s not hard to see why the famous and sometimes notorious have been lured here, though. Combining two World Heritage-listed locations with high-end, stylish accommodation and experiences, Port Douglas and surrounds is a playground in paradise and an exclusive destination.
While most of us simple folk can only dream of securing a night at one of these luxury abodes, if you’ve got enough gold in the spare coin jar, we’ve got the holiday of your dreams. Blessed be the infinity pools and swim up bars.
Hold the phone – the grand ol’ lady of the 80s is BACK, baby! Still basking in the iconic shade of Pixie Pink (four shades lighter, thankyouverymuch), the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas has been re-established as a beacon of luxury in the tropical north. Thanks to a whopping $43 million dollar refurbishment you’ll now find important elements of the year-long upgrade include the introduction of plush tropical plantation interiors, ground floor swim-out suites where ladders drop directly from balconies into the lagoons, and a fleet of lagoon-side cabanas offering private food & beverage service while you work on that tan.
And if you want to fill your days with more than just the swim-up pool bar menu, you’ve got the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest on either side to play with.
Imagine a holiday in a secluded ancient rainforest with no distractions other than the sound of native birds, the in-room spa bubbling away in a luxury treehouse with polished timbers and a turndown service that features tea-lights, the burning of oils that smell of eucalyptus and wildflowers. Dreamy? We’ve got your back.
Twenty minutes north of Port Douglas in rainforests of the Daintree National Park, Silky Oaks Lodge & Spa is a special kind of luxury. Gather for early morning yoga by the Mossman River, take rainforest walks to the private swimming holes at Wave Rock and Fig Tree Rapids, set off on night-time animal-spotting expeditions led by rangers and immerse yourself in the aptly-named healing waters of the Mossman Gorge. Every element of the lodge design, both aesthetic and operational, has been carefully crafted to be sympathetic to the wonder of the natural surroundings. And there’s no phone reception. Perfect for a digital detox.
With its serene, green, Balinese-inspired decor, Niramaya Day Spa & Villas is a perfect escape from the hectic pace of a tropical holiday. And it delivers tranquility in spades. Inside, water features, dark timber furnishings and dappled natural light invoke instant feelings of calm.
The various spa rituals are a true sensory journey utilising products from the Sydney-based Dr Rose. Signature treatments include the ‘so good I can’t believe it’s not surgery’ Dr. Rose Gold Facial – a mask of 24-carat gold gel and gold leaf used to eliminate wrinkles. Post-treatment, indulge in the sauna, plunge pool or poolside lunch at Niramaya’s restaurant, overlooking 15 hectares of lush gardens and an infinity pool that begs for ‘gramming and cocktails.
The villas are architecturally designed for all the senses, and you’ll feel Niramaya's subtle energy and natural beauty the moment you step foot on property. The fragrance of frangipani floats on the light breeze - through soaring pavilions, into private courtyards and over the lillipad dotted lakes. Ahhh, the serenity, all in Port Douglas.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a 15-minute drive south of Port Douglas or a 45-minute drive north of Cairns in a spectacular elevated position above the Coral Sea, tucked behind a coconut plantation on it’s own private beach. The idyllic resort captures the feel of the tropics in its relaxed, open-air timber bungalow design where modern style meets tropical luxury. The property is spread out over 58 hectares of nature reserve while the main lodge offers a massage studio, restaurant, bar, art gallery, and two natural rock pools for when you feel like cooling off.
As the name suggests, nature is a big part of Thala Beach Nature Reserve with guided tours by specialist staff daily, including bird watching, nature walks, outdoor star gazing and a unique coconut adventure.
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