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“Beautiful location” 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“Beautiful location”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We just got back from 3 nights at Heron Island and enjoyed our stay very much. The marine and bird life around the island are spectacular. There are heaps of sharks, rays, and birds. It is a privilege to share this stunning location with nature. We were lucky enough to go during turtle nesting season. This was an amazing experience. I was disgusted at the behavior of some of the other guests who refused to listen to the rangers when told to give the turtle space, don't shine lights at it, don't make noise, etc. On our first night a turtle got so frightened it turned around and went back out to sea. Go to Heron Island if you love and respect nature. A lot of guests seem to complain about the birds. They really didn't bother us. They make noise at night, but the resort provides earplugs if it's too much. They can poo on you as you walk along the path - just wear a hat. Remember we are sharing their natural environment - if you don't like the idea of being surrounded by birds go somewhere else or don't go during bird nesting season.

The beaches surrounding the island are beautiful. There are plenty of places to swim and sunbake around the island. Snorkeling off the beach is pretty good too.

We found the food to be quite good. It's certainly not fine dining, but it was good. This is not a 5 star resort and it needs to cater to families so we thought that the food was good enough. The sweets and deserts were especially good.

We stayed in the cheapest room type - the turtle room. It was very clean. It was small, but that didn't matter as we didn't spend much time in the room anyway. The fan kept the room cool enough at night.

Overall we enjoyed our stay at Heron very much. We found all the staff (restaurant, bar, reception and information centre) to be friendly and very helpful. We did some of the free information walks and found them to be very interesting and would recommend them to other guests. Go to Heron to see an amazing natural location. If all you want from a holiday is to be pampered, fed and not have to deal with pesky birds perhaps you should check into a 5 star hotel in your capital city.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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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English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

Food needs to greatly improve, all the complaints I heard from overseas tourist was how disgusting the food was, which I had to agree with. The rooms, staff and available activities were good. I will not be going back unless the can assure me the food has improved (Saturdays night main meal, greasy lamb chops)

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Thank you for posting your review about Heron Island. We have made contact with you privately regarding your review. We also invite you to read an announcement from Greg Magi, Executive Director Delaware North Australia Parks and Resorts posted 12 January 2013.
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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
196 reviews 196 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

We were originally at Heron for five blissful days approximately ten years ago, loving the venue so much that I named my business after it. At that time it was meticulously maintained with seamless service and superb cuisine. P and O owned this gem of a retreat. Had I known it changed hands I would have given more credence to the negative reviews now popping up on Trip Advisor. HEED THEM. The resort is dirty, the rooms not well maintained, rubbish not cleared from the grounds with any regulatory, verandas not swept, paint peeling from some walls, mildew on our ceiling, fans filthy from lack of dusting. Service in the restaurant was the worst I have ever encountered at a resort. Our waitress took our order, never returned, never delivered the beverages, never brought the bread we requested, never brought dessert, never asked if the entree brought by someone else was acceptable (the steak was so tough it couldn't be cut). After 1 3/4 hour of waiting we left, never having received any of the food except the entree. Three days of this paradise cost $2700. I feel almost violated for having been charged so much for something that had all the hallmarks of camping in a not terribly clean campsite.

Room Tip: Our room was a reef side suite. Sounds good, doesn't it. There were small piles of trash outsi...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Thank you for posting your review about Heron Island. We have made contact with you privately regarding your review. We also invite you to read an announcement from Greg Magi, Executive Director Delaware North Australia Parks and Resorts posted 12 January 2013.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Heron Island is a beautiful jewel with amazing marine life. The blue contrasts in the water never cease to amaze me! We stayed on Heron Island for 3 nights just before christmas. The room was excellent with a high standard of cleanliness. The snorkelling on Heron is very average, a lot of the coral is dead and broken. There is however an adudance of marine life including sharks, manta rays, turtles etc.... I would not reccomend Heron for a diving holiday. The restaurant service seemed very disorganised and almost chaotic at times! There never seemed to be cups available (often replaced by paper cups which is not very 'eco'). The service was very slow. One night during the buffet the waitress did not come to our table once and were obliged to stack all of our plates on a spare table. There was one situation where I found the staff to be quite unpleasant. On the final day there seemed to be a shortage of pizzas (which is the only food available if you are departing and don't want to dine in the restaurant), the bar lady (Anne) was unable to provide us with an alternative and was very short and unhelpful. We had to insist that she needed to find a solution / speak to a manager as we would not be eating until after the ferry ride. After insisting we ended up getting our pizzas (without a smile from the waitress) however it should not be up to the customer (who is paying big $$) to insist! It was obvious that the resort was understaffed in the F&B department which may have contributed to some short tempered attitudes! Overall Heron is beautiful and if the restaurant department can get there act together + more experienced wait staff it may change some people's overall experiences!!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Atlanta, GA
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

Flying from Brisbane into Gladstone and then connecting to the shuttle to the marina to catch the Heron Islander was easily accomplished and expertly handled by the resort staff. The two-hour ride to the island was a little rough, but the pleasure of sitting in the sun on the stern of the boat under a beautiful blue sky cancelled any discomfort. The first impression of the island on arrival---and a startling one---is the presence of thousands of Black Noddy Terns flying low overhead, leaving droppings everywhere---and occasionally on guests---and generally creating a ruckus. This was alarming, for they dominate the island and create the pervading atmosphere. At night, the cooing and shuffling in their nests fills the air. However, I found that, after about a day, I got used to the birds and, although annoyed sometimes by their actions, mentally accepted their existence in my paradise.

And, Heron Island is a paradise, sitting on a reef with beautiful water. One suggestion I have for potential visitors is to check the tide times for the island before they go and, if possible, arrange their visit according to when the high tide comes in during the day. It is important for guests who snorkel off the beach, which many do rather than paying extra to go out in the resort's boats, that the high tide occurs between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. They then have two good hours before high tide and two good hours afterwards for snorkeling.

Other reviewers have commented on these aspects, but I'll add just a word or two. The resort seemed to be managed by university students. I rarely saw anyone in a supervisory or management position over twenty-five. Consequently, all services seemed to be done by apprentices or temporary help. They were not performed professionally. The food was adequate, but the sameness of it got tiring and it did not inspire an appetite. Also, I found it a little uncomfortable that I frequently was being encouraged to spend additional money on bar items, espresso coffee, and other high profit goods. I thought that A$25 an outrageous price for the last lunch before taking the boat back to Gladstone, so I fixed a bacon and cheese sandwich at breakfast that served my needs perfectly.

I have one observation about the swimming pool. I believe that there needs to be a separate pool for small children. I was surprised at how many pre-school children were at the resort and, passing by the pool numerous times, I noticed that they and their parents hogged the facility. I was further concerned about hygiene in the pool.

While these comments may suggest that I have a negative view of the resort, I, in fact, consider it a tremendous destination. It is truly a tropical island with fauna and flora unique to it. There has been great effort to preserve the natural setting. For example, the paths or walkways around the resort narrowly wind their way through fairly dense foliage. In spite of certain less-than-desirable aspects of the resort, I recommend it highly and would return in a flash.

Room Tip: Most rooms seem good.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 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
    • 3 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.
Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Heron Island offered great, clear water for diving and snorkeling. There was never a shortage of turtles, sharks and rays for viewing. A highlight of our island visit. The hotel staff was very friendly but at times it appeared they were understaffed. The accommodations were adequate. The infusion of 170,000 nesting birds was unexpected and not always welcome. Something to consider before booking your vacation on Heron Island. A wonderful entertainment treat performing at the resort while we were there was the duo Beautifully Mad. Tony and Kris were not only fantastic musicians and singers, they were warm and welcoming individuals, making our evenings very enjoyable with their wide selection of music, ranging from jazz, easy listening, rock, salsa and their own creations as well.

Room Tip: When you arrive, check room first to make sure everything is functional before unpacking.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sebastopol, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

We recently stayed in a Turtle room for 5 nights. The room was basic with a 2 beds, ample storage/closet space, 2 chairs and small table in room, private bath and shower, small back deck with 2 chairs and table. These rooms had no air conditioning, but had 2 large fans which kept the room fairly cool. The rooms were cleaned daily with fresh towels provided, however, most days it was well into the late afternoon before the rooms were cleaned. I was told this was because the first rooms to be cleaned were those for newly arriving guests (makes sense). There were no screens on the windows or doors. I was worried about mosquitos, but never saw one the entire time.

The diving was spectacular! Loved the dive operation - very well organized and focused on safety. We did 10 dives and all were fantastic! Snorkeling off the shore was very good as well. Giant Grouper, Sharks, rays, clams, many fish - all right off the dock! We snorkeled the last morning and used the departure showers - they were really nice, clean, roomy and they also provided lockers for your change of clothes.

There are MANY birds on the island. Some people were annoyed by the noise, but this is a bird sanctuary, so......... The only recommendation I would have is to have the trees cut back from the pathways to avoid being "dropped on" on your way to dinner.

Meals were included which consisted of a daily breakfast and lunch buffet. Dinner was a buffet every other night was a menu with 3 selections. The food wast terrible. Mainly just very bland - no spices at all. Alot of beef and lamb were served with very little fish or chicken options. A few food items, we actually spit out they were so bad. Others were complaining about the food too so I know it was not just me. On the last day, our boat was to pick us up at 2pm and we had to check out by noon. We were told that lunch was not included, but we could purchase it for $25 each - no way! I found this rather strange that lunch would not be included if we were leaving at 2pm. Anyway we found that the bar had pizza's for purchase of $12.50 each and we ordered that for our last lunch. If we had known about the pizza, we would have had it more often! I don't believe there should have been a charge for the pizza since we didn't really have a choice of restaurants out there - only the one terrible one.

I gave this place 4 stars because of the diving, snorkeling and location of this beautiful island. Unfortunately, I would not come back unless the food improves. Thanks for the great diving!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Clementine I, Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, December 12, 2012
Dear 85Kim,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we do value your feedback.

It is excellent to hear that you had a wonderful time exploring the reef with your many dives! Heron Island is one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world and we get this terrific feedback from our guests daily.

We were disappointed to read that you were displeased with the food on the island. We have recently had some negative feedback regarding the meals and as such have just in the past weeks made we some changes. We now have a new Head Chef who is designing a brand new menu with greater variety and flavour and options to suit all tastes. We are confident that should you return, you will not be disappointed in these changes.

With regards to housekeeping - our apologies that your towels were not replenished daily. This feedback has been passed on to the Housekeeping Manager who is following this up so that occurrences such as this do not happen again. We thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Lunch on the day of departure isn't included in the package as you have mentioned below. The reason for this is that the package includes 3 meals daily, starting with lunch on the day of arrival and breakfast on the day of departure. This equates to 3 meals per night stayed. The lunch on day of departure is an additional meal and as such, we have another option (pizzas at the bar) should guests not wish to pay for a full buffet lunch on that day. I realise that this was disappointing, however hope that you can understand the reasoning behind this. We are however happy to hear that you enjoyed the pizzas on the day of your departure.

Once again, thank you for your feedback. We hope that you do have the opportunity to return to Heron Island again and experience the positive changes we are making at the island.

Kind Regards,

The team at 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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