Whilst I was contemplating making a reservation at this resort I received very helpful responses by both email and on the telephone. Once I booked and I emailed the resort to request that an itinerary of certain activities be put together before my arrival, sadly I did not receive a response. I had only requested a day or two before, but I thought that was long enough. Never mind, on the boat over from Hamilton Island I mentioned my emailed itinerary request and somebody followed it up for me.
Upon my arrival at Hamilton Island, I found things a little over whelming as it was so busy but soon enough I was sat on the boat to Hamilton with I think a glass of champagne in hand. And then I waited and waited, it probably was over an hour before we finally set sail and the boat was packed to the rafters. A couple of young employees were working their way around, giving out information packs and in some cases room keys to clients. Unfortunately one of the employees seemed a bit in awe of an American couple sat beside me and spent most of the trip attending to their very particular needs and asking about their travels, to the detriment of everybody else on the boat who maybe needed some attention as well.
I was one of the guests that did not get a room key on the boat, I don't know why, so I was getting quite anxious about arrival and being in a queue a mile long at Hayman, considering the hundreds of (or so it seemed) people on the boat. Anyway, somehow or other, I was one of the first off the boat and was met and immediately escorted to my room. I mentioned that the room number was not the same as the one I am sure I saw on my baggage tag at Hamilton Island or when I was on the boat. I asked the member of staff escorting me to check up on that, but in view of the length of time and follow up phone call I had to make to be reunited with my luggage, she did not.
But I was in my room. It was an ocean view room in the Hayman wing and simply cannot knock it. First class room, very spacious, good views and well furnished and equipped. When my luggage finally arrived, I went down to the activity centre to sort out my itinerary and following the call from the boat, something suitable for me had been put together and I was perfectly satisfied.
The next morning, I went down for breakfast which was included in my rate. It is served in a lovely dining room overlooking the ocean and as an early bird I was always offered one of the nicest tables available. The breakfast is a buffet, hot and cold and was very well stocked ad certainly a great start to the day. A couple of things on the hot buffet were maybe not as hot as they should be, but I quibble. The only thing I was surprised about was the choice of music which on that first day started with some Asian nightclub music and then moved into reggae. Very loud, especially at 6.30am when I really would have rather listened to the ocean.
Later that morning and in accordance with my Oneandonly prepared itinerary, I headed for my spa treatment. I was pretty surprised that they could not find my booking although they eventually found it on the following day, but I was definitely booked in for that day. Fortunately, they managed to fit me in. The treatment was great, a very skilled therapist. But the ambience was awful, the first 15 minutes I had to put up with a loud conversation apparently outside my door and when that finally subsided, the music being played in my room was clashing with the loud music from outside. A complete assault on my senses. I don't mind background noise when I go for a $40 foot massage in the shopping mall, but when I am paying $200, I expect a lot more. I had another treatment booked in for later in the week, but I cancelled it as this one was so unpleasant.
After my treatment, I headed back to my room, for a quick breather before my snorkelling trip booked about 90 minutes later. I had seen the housekeeping crew before I went for my appointment and had been assured that my room would be done whilst I was out. There were two separate crews on my floor at that time. Sadly when I got back at 12.30pm, my room had not been serviced at all. This was the first time that I strongly expressed my disappointment and in response I was led to one of the poolside restaurants for a spot of lunch whilst the room was done. Not a bad response, but I had just wanted to stay in my room.
I then headed up to the meeting point for my snorkelling trip and I waited and I waited. My trip time passed, somebody did pop out but when I gave my name they showed no recognition and I sat back down and waited some more. After my trip time had passed and considering the earlier events, I became emotional with disappointment and was shown great sympathy by the staff that found me, but I did not ever make a snorkelling trip.
The next day I had booked a boat trip. It was the same confusion at the meeting point, I was told two different times by different staff. Turned up at the earliest time and was just left there waiting. Eventually I was driven down to the marina and I waited some more here. After 45 minutes in total of waiting, the staff actually came to me and informed me that the other people had not turned up and I would have to wait even longer to see if they would! The second time I was told this, I asserted that it was not my fault if other people did not turn up, that I had already been waiting for nearly an hour and frankly the whole time keeping needed to be looked at. I finally got a private boat trip and a big smile of course.
My terrible experiences over the organised activities and also lack of availability, led me to spend the rest of my time idling by the pool. Which was nice enough. But I had really wanted to see more of the Whitsundays so it feels like unfinished business to me.
On my departure day, I checked out with no incident and waited pick up at the time and place recommended. What a surprise that nobody else turned up on time and I had to follow up twice before I was finally taken to the boat. Which finally left, late of course. We arrived at Hamilton Airport less than an hour before my departure and then stood around for over ten minutes whilst half a dozen bags were unloaded. The boat being relatively empty on this leg. This was the first time somebody from OneandOnly was actually rude to me on the trip, when I asked why it was taking so long to unload a few bags, I got that teenager "I can't help it", "we are unloading then"" petulant response. In the meantime, five bus loads of other travellers arrived and got in the check in queues!
To sum up. The resort is really beautiful, the setting is idyllic and the rooms cannot be faulted. But organisation seems to be chaotic and I wonder if any of the staff actually own a watch. Not one of my scheduled appointments, be it transfers, trips or appointments occurred on time. The staff (with the exception of the girl on the departure boat) have beautiful manners, they don't argue with clients and certainly seem to care about guests having an enjoyable time. But something is lacking and I think it is down to maturity.
Yes maturity, I didn't see anyone working there over the age of 25, and that is being generous. the resort seems to favour young beautiful staff, but how about some maturity? Some staff that know guests don't want club music at breakfast at 6.30am. Some staff that understand people want their activities to run on time. To feel that there is some organisation going on, that there is a plan and a schedule. To pay more attention to details.
The staff that I met, were lovely, friendly and I can see that they are well versed in some aspects of customer service. But I think some leadership and direction was missing and I wonder how much time they waste fire fighting and dealing with complaints because things are not happening as they should in the first place.
Strangely, I am not put off going here ever again. I would think about it, because the rooms were great and the staff were caring. But there are some improvements that I would like to see made and hopefully some easy ones. Start with getting some experienced staff in, that can teach the very promising younger staff already on board.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- One&Only Hayman Island, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef presents astonishing natural beauty, restorative peace, indulgence and adventure. Australia's iconic private island resort is located off the coast of Queensland, nestled at the northernmost point of the Whitsunday archipelago, beyond verdant cliffs reaching into endless sky. Within this private island resort, stylish elegance reflects the harmony of nature with beautifully appointed accommodation set against the backdrop of the Coral Sea. Discover endless opportunities to delight the senses in a place where the beauty of nature inspires each day. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hayman Great Barrier Reef Hotel Hayman Island
- Hayman Island Hotel