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“Excellent Service and nothing too hard for staff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Heron Island Resort

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Heron Island Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Via Gladstone, Heron Island, Queensland 4000, Australia   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Brisbane
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Excellent Service and nothing too hard for staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

Recently stayed at Heron Resort as a shelter from the weather on our way home from a fishing expedition to North West Island.
The weather turned really nasty and we had to detour to Heron to wade out the storm.
The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly. The could not to enough for us. From selling us fuel to replenishing the ice in our eskies so the catch didn't spoil. They even acted as our login for marine safety as we could not raise VMR on our radio.
The hotel is very well appointed for the price. The food was typical of this style of resort and plentiful.
The marine education for guests is excellent, the snorkelling in the habour absolutely fantastic and the diving is world class.
I would HIGHLY recommend Heron to couples, divers and families as there is a vast range of activities to suit all.
Thanks Heron staff for a fantastic (if not unexpected) stay.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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799 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (276)
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012 via mobile

The thing which will determine how much you like Heron Island Resort is how you feel about birds. They are everywhere. Truly, there would be hundreds of birds in each and every tree- dozens nesting in each branch. The pathways are splattered white with bird poo and the island even smells like bird.
At night, their mating calls are so loud the Resort provides sets of ear plugs. The sound they make can be described as ghostly --- I didn't mind it but a friend staying there the same weekend thought they doused like children crying and she hated it.
Other than the birds-- Heron is a great stay, especially for those who are into snorkelling or diving. The beaches are pristine and the water is a beautiful clear aqua. You can snorkel with (harmless) sharks and rays right off the beach.
We stayed in a turtle room which turned out to be it's on little bunglalow. Spotlessly clean and very spacious, great bathroom, we loved it.
Couple of things to be aware of -- the only food option is buffet, so if fine dining is your thing, heron may not be the place for you.
An honesty policy is used with all the rooms- essentially you don't have a key so you can't lock your room. There are safety deposit boxes at reception but that's a bit annoying-- we just risked it and nothing was taken from us.
It takes 2 to 2 and a half hours on the boat from Gladstone--- seasick tablets are recommended.
Those opting for a weekend away-- I would suggest making it a long weekend. By the time you get to heron it's 1.30pm, but as heron runs on Daylight Savings time it's actually 2.30pm. You have to have an induction and then lunch, so by the time you hit the beach it's already 3.30. Check out the next day is 10am and barge collects you at 2pm so it's cutting it a bit fine if you want to spend the day at the beach.
We did really enjoy heron and would love to go back -- however it's not the holiday for everyone.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gladstone, Australia
Top Contributor
194 reviews 194 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 91 cities Reviews in 91 cities
165 helpful votes 165 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

Our price included return launch, 1 night in a 'Wistari Room' and most meals (ie lunch when we arrived, dinner that night, breakfast next day but no lunch before launch travel back).

The story:-

We board a powerful catamaran in Gladstone Marina to reach Heron Island. The weather is perfect - sun shining, seas very calm. The trip takes 2 hours on this fast, very comfortable, very clean and well attended catamaran. Absolutely no negatives here.

A warm welcome as we disembark. We meander through vegetation and past some accommodation to an entertainment area where we are given an informative introduction to Heron Island and we are invited to help ourselves to a welcome drink. Thank you!

On our way to our room, we see changes in the vegetation and we experience first hand some of the prolific bird life of Heron Island. I have never seen so many nests in so many trees!

We are very happy with our light and airy room which is only a stone's throw from the sea. We notice the shower area needs a little bit of attention but it is only cosmetic and we are very much aware that living close to the sea brings constant and expensive maintenance issues and decide we are just being picky (already getting into the relaxed groove!). You really have to remember and consider that every item on this island is transported from Gladstone at a cost much greater than anything on the mainland.

Now we walk a circuit of the island. It is not quite 2km in circumference so an easy walk. The tide is out and many people are out exploring the rockpools. We feel this is idyllic, miles from anywhere.....no mobile phone coverage so very relaxing. (At the introduction we learned there is wi-fi computer available in the mezzanine floor of the entertainment area if you really need to keep in contact plus there are a couple of public phones if necessary).

Time for dinner. The dining room has a nice ambience so what about the food? Overall we think it is fine...not outstanding but we were not disappointed with choice or quality, it is not purporting to be silver service. OK, some people we spoke with expressed disappointment. We had one disappointment. When we first approached the buffet/smorgasbord, some of the choices were exhausted. Not only were we disappointed but we were HUNGRY!! As we were eating our selections, the buffet was replenished. All is forgiven (nearly!). All in all we had the choice of prawns, oysters, pasta, salads, fruits, .....and numerous more choices.

Dinner done, we head over to the entertainment area and there is a duo performing. Not many seats available but we spot the mezzanine floor. This is a great uncrowded lounge area overlooking the dance floor. We enjoyed "people watching" and all their dance "moves"! But for me the best part was the entertainment. Sorry I don't recall names, but 'he' was born with a guitar (any guitar, 12 string etc etc) in his hands and 'she' had a great voice, and recall reading that they have won numerous awards.

Time to hit the sack and we walk back to our room. Beautiful evening and the sea is gently lapping. Comfortable bed and off to sleep - not quite! The resort provides earplugs in your room as the birds can be quite vocal. Where we live on mainland Australia the birds don't sing (?) at night only at/in daylight. Well on Heron it's different. Some call at night and others throughout the day. I am now very grateful that the earplugs plus a few vinos take me off into the land of nod.

There is a thunderstorm overnight which is in competition with a banging door (somewhere on the island) to keep me awake. The banging door wins, all night! But when I arise in the morning and walk out the door and look at the sea, I don't really care about little sleep. There is a magic here and I just wish we had longer to appreciate it.

Breafast is good - lots of choices but once again after a wait for replenishment. The food choices do come, just remember this is HIT (Heron Island Time).

Today we are going back to Gladstone. We didn't snorkel, dive or anything else that the island is famous for...we just had a brief taste of the feel of the island...but we did take a look at the history of Heron Island
(a coral cay) in the Information Centre on the island. Once again we marvel at how this island exists as a tourist destination with everything imported from the mainland ie the initial building and maintenance, then the expansion plus provision of potable water, power, sewage, waste etc. Incredible feat really when you look back to its original constuction back in 1942. We think it all works OK at Heron if you are not looking for 5 star. In fact, if you are looking for "stars" at all you don't suit Heron. This is a different experience.

But for me there is an issue on Heron and that is the lack of cleaning of public areas ie recreation/entertainment room and toilets. With the heavy usage of the "only public amenities on the island", cleaning is required at least twice a day. Then, please look at the entertainment area. It really is not acceptable. These areas serve as a showcase as they are the first place visitors assemble. In reality they present poorly as the tables have sticky ring marks and other grunge, the dance floor area is *%$# and this is the morning after! Very disappointing and really gives the feel of a poor standard backpackers!

We board the return catamaran and already know it will be a rough ride from those disembarking plus it is very windy onshore. We take a chance when we use sea vessels or aircraft as a conveyance. Well, it is a rough ride but full marks to the crew who were very attentive and discreet! Thank you all and to the Captain who always had the interests of the passengers at heart.

We would have given Heron Island 4 stars but the backpacker standard of the enterrtainment area and "only" public amenities let it down inexcusably.

Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tyler, Texas
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

If you're interested in snorkeling and enjoy a small island getaway with an eco-focus, this is your place. The birds can get a bit noisy, so make sure you take the earplugs they offer at the front desk! The food is edible and the staff is friendly enough.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

It is really hard to rate this resort as the nature is fantastic and the resort is not great. VIf you are looking for a fabulous experience on the Great Barrier Reef, this is the place to go. The beach is super, the wildlife (birds) are fun and interesting, even when you get pooped on. The snorkelling is great, and the whole island is really beautiful. The sad part is, the hotel is poorly managed. Our room had a hair ball on the bathroom floor when we arrived and was not cleaned at all the first day. The buffet offers the same dishes every day. Hot food is room temperature and cold food is room temperature. Dishes on the buffet are not replenished until completely empty. Reading previous Tripadvisor posts, the management is obviously aware of this and yet they do nothing. It is not the serving staff's fault. They mostly are made up of inexperienced students who are on very short work-terms for the hotel. Bring your own snacks. Purchasing anything is double the price of the mainland. The room is unlocked at all times, which made us very uncomfortable. They say there are no "day trippers" to the island. So what? The guy three doors down could take my stuff and stay overnight.

Room Tip: Room 50 is on the ground floor with no other room facing it and near to the restaurant
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DNAPR, Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, October 26, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to send your feedback, we appreciate it.

Firstly, we would like to apologise for your less than satisfactory stay at the resort. It’s fantastic to hear that you enjoyed the location and everything that the reef has to offer, however we were disappointed to hear that there were aspects of your stay that you were dis-pleased with.

Ordinarily all rooms are serviced on a daily basis, unless the “Do Not Disturb” sign is placed out. We are sorry that your room wasn’t serviced on one of the days; this is certainly not the normal procedure and will be followed up with the housekeeping department.

In the past few weeks we have made several changes to our restaurant menus, including the buffet. We now offer the a la carte menu more regularly in the evenings and also have made changes to the buffet menus too. These changes are a result of the feedback we receive and we hope that this can re-assure you that we do take our guest feedback very seriously and use it to improve our services.

We feel very confident in the set-up of no locks on the doors and this policy has been in place on the island for a number of years successfully. However, we would like to elaborate on this a little further. The rooms can be locked from the inside, so no one can walk into the room while you are in it. If guests have valuables that they would prefer not to leave in the rooms, we do provide an option of these items being locked up in the office for our guest’s piece of mind.

Once again, thank you for your comments and I promise you that these reviews are taken very seriously. We hope that you come back and stay at Heron Island in the future so you can see first-hand all the positive changes that have been made recently.

Warm regards,
Heron Island
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2012

Spent 4 days at Heron Island Resort. We were welcomed when the chopper landed by the friendly staff who offered fruity welcome drinks. Our room was fine, located near the spa and the restaurant. The spa was GREAT with such a beautiful atmosphere and skilled employes. The restaurant was fine, with a wide selection of different kind of food. We enjoyed snorkling and saw reef sharkes and colourfull corals. Unfortunately no turtles! Would recommend this for people who enjoy snorkling and especially the view from above is spectaculaire.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

This was our second trip to Heron after having had such a memorable holiday in 1999 when the resort was managed by P&O resorts. Since '99, the boat has been upgraded but the journey is now 1 hour longer and my stomach was no less queasy than last time. We arrived to Heron at almost 2pm and were taken to the restaurant for what I thought was being offered as a light lunch seeing as we'd missed lunch hour. The choices were simple sandwich fillings of 3 meats, 1 choice of cheese, a few choices of breads, a salad and some cut fruit. Unfortunately, this is exactly what was offered for the next 7 days of lunch. It felt like "Ground Hog Day" every day at lunch time! There was absolutely no variety, nor were there any delicacies like smoked salmon or prawns. What was most disappointing was that you would be served lunch leftovers that had been re-created into dishes for the a-la-carte dinners. eg/ roasted potatoes from lunch mashed up & served as a side with steak, antipasto veggies tossed into couscous served as a main, pasta with bolognese baked into a pasta bake for the kids dinner. In the whole week of staying here, there was not one seafood buffet night which would have been nice seeing as the island is surrounded by sea-life. I felt like we were ripped off on the food side of things, this was a far cry from what we were being treated to by P&O on our first trip where the seafood was plentiful and the a-la-carte meals were absolutely delightful.
We were questioning ourselves why we were paying resort prices for bistro quality food. I had a more enjoyable meal at a pub in Gladstone when I returned to the mainland. Perhaps the resort can employ the Rocky Glen Hotel's chef? We would definitely return!
The staff were lovely. The resort, the island, surroundings are all beautiful and we didn't want to leave the little piece of paradise.
It was annoying to have to be at the jetty 1 hour before the boat departure, only to have to sit in the freezing cold gale force wind. Fifteen minutes prior would have been enough.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DNAPR, Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, October 26, 2012
Thank you for writing to us with your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the food during your stay. Your thoughts have been passed on to the head chef. We have very recently made changes to our menu after receiving feedback from our guests. We believe that these changes have all been very positive and the guest comments in the past weeks reflect this.

We are happy to hear however that you had a wonderful time enjoying Heron Island, its surroundings and also our staff. We are truly lucky to be in such a magical area of the world and hope that you return to see the positive changes we have made.

Warm Regards,
Heron Island
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heron Island Resort

Address: Via Gladstone, Heron Island, Queensland 4000, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Heron Island
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Heron Island Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 109
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Heron Island is a true coral cay right on the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Here you swim off the beach to an endless garden of coral. Activities include guided island and reef walks, semi-submersible cruises, bird watching and beach picnics, plus a Kids program. Voyages Heron Island is famous around the world for its scuba diving and snorkeling. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Heron Island Hotel Heron Island

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