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“Great little getaway...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Thala Beach Lodge

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Thala Beach Lodge
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Private Road | 5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland 4871, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Oak Beach
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Great little getaway...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here for one night in January in one of the Jungle Walk suites. The service by all staff was so friendly and welcoming. They are happy to help with anything you request and do it with a smile. The room which was nestled into the forest was lovely, nothing too flash but perfect for what we wanted. Private, clean, spacious with a nice big comfy bed. We really enjoyed relaxing with a few drinks on our balcony listening to the sounds of the forest before we went to dinner.

The restaurant is a little expensive but my partner thoroughly enjoyed his steak. Me being vegan obviously had limited choices on the menu but they were happy to turn the vegetarian pasta vegan for me. It was nice, but a little too oily for my liking. Personal preference... Breakfast was much of the same the next day, on the expensive side but still enjoyable and as usual, fantastic service.

The thing that really sets Thala apart is the location. You could spend days exploring all the bushwalks and surrounding beaches. We're going again in a weeks time, and this time we are going to grab one of the pre packed resort picnic baskets to take down and eat on the beach and watch the sun set. Can't wait!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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842 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (145)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

We staid for two nights in just before Christmas 2012, wished we had had more time.
The setting is great, away from everything and with a lovely views out over the sea.
The pool area is a bit small but it is a good pool. We were not able to use the beach as it was "stinger" season but it looked good.
The food was the best we had on our trip to Australia. The first night we had a picnic basket delivered to our room with seafood.
The second night we had our meal at the restaurant and it was superb.
We would love to go back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
236 reviews 236 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 96 cities Reviews in 96 cities
140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Idyllic setting with individual wooden bungalows, well separated from each other, in plots carved out of the rain forest.
Bespoke wood furnishings and balcony overlooking the rain forest.
Comfortable bed and arm chairs with DVDs available to borrow.
Excellent air-conditioning, bath and shower, but limited hot water.
Excellent breakfast and evening meal. Fantastic watching a dozen brightly coloured lorikeets in the trees only yards away while eating breakfast.
Welcoming coconut cocktails (drunk from a whole coconut) on arrival.
Superb picnic hampers delivered to rooms if meals were not required in the restaurant.
Buggies available on demand if required to transport guests around the somewhat hilly site, with friendly drivers.
Free activities included guided walks around the site, talks on coconuts and swimming in a small rock pool and swimming pool.
Lovely walks through the forest down a fairly steep incline to a beautiful deserted beach.
Lovely staff, nothing too much trouble, including Carl, who was an expert on coconuts ( we spent a fascinating hour with him picking, eating and hearing an amazing amount about coconuts.We didn't realise that there was so much to know about them!)

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

First the good news : it's in a lovely setting and has been carefully planned to be as unobtrusive as possible; the whole concept of staying in wooden cabins scattered around a well forested, fairly isolated promontory has appeal, and the food was plentiful and imaginative.
Less appealing however : the place needs a deal of resource to keep it in pristine order and it's presently looking a tad worn and unkept; with the beaches understandably left wild it needs a much bigger and better swimming pool area; and I would describe the service as friendly rather than efficient ( for example, it took several attempts to get a debit card service charge annulled ).
Lastly - and this is a plus or minus depending on what is being sought - you are captive without wheels.

Room Tip: Stay close to the main block if you don't want too many uphill walks.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Thala1, Manager at Thala Beach Lodge, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts - we are pleased you enjoyed Thala’s location and seclusion and had a great dining experience in Osprey’s Restaurant.

Per the majority of other reviews, the level of service at Thala is normally described as exemplary – I do apologize that you experienced an unfortunate response time in regards to the finance matter, please trust that I will investigate this further.

Best wishes
Johan Klindt, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Stayed here for just one night in the first week of January 2013. This has to be one of the best resorts I have ever stayed at. It is truly world class! On its own private peninsula with its own beaches and rocky lookouts.

Accommodation in a private bungalow with its own verandah. Bed was comfortable. Agree with other reviews about the dated bathroom but compensated for by being quite large with bath and shower. Totally surrounded by rainforest, very private and very quiet.

We had a picnic basket for dinner on our verandah which was a wonderful experience.

Peacefulness personified - almost a total lack of mechanical noises (no cars, boats, jetskis, sound systems, etc.) just nature! Golf buggies for housekeeping, room service, etc. but almost silent as they are electricity powered.

The lodge itself has tremendous views which you can see from all of the photos posted on this site. The pools were exceptional with lots of shade and the lack of noisy children was an added bonus. Biggest downside about the whole stay was someone smoking in the pool! Not sure if they were breaking the rules (management care to comment?).

Agree with others that breakfast was a tad expensive but when you consider the stunning view from the restaurant then it was well worth it. Need to also consider free valet parking as further compensation.

If you've ever stayed at the Hyatt Coolum (now the Palmer Resort) on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, then imagine that (without all of the shops and the golf course) perched on top of the cliffs at the National Park at Noosa and you have Thala Lodge!

Already planning a return visit later in the year!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Thala1, Manager at Thala Beach Lodge, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Thank you for your warming comments - we are delighted you enjoyed your stay with us! I wanted to assure you that most definitely, the person/people smoking in the pool were 'breaking the rules'! We have a designated smoking area that guests are expected to observe - I greatly apologise that your pool-time was tainted due to the actions of a fellow guest.

We look forward to hopefully welcoming you back sometime again in the future!
Best wishes
Johan Klindt
General Manager
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Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

I figured it best to break down the resort and give you positives and needs for improvement / suggestions.....

Overall, the service was fantastic - clearly, this is what makes Thala, plus it beautiful location and layout....

I felt the price we paid direct with Thala was over-priced...I talked to other guests who booked through hotels.com and they had better price....

Check in was simple / valet parking is great....they will pick you up in golf carts and have your car ready anytime.....Thala is quite large, so bring good walking shoes....

Accommodations:
Positive:
- Very nice individual units, bathrooms large, good water pressure, A/C works great
- Clean
- Can get DVD's from front desk at no charge - good selection

Room for improvement:
- Beds are way too hard / should offer some options or covers

Restuarant:
Positives:
- Food is really tasty and their specials offer unique flavors
- Views are fantastic
- Service is GREAT - they work very hard...
- Wine selection and price are very good
- Breakfast brunch is very nice...($6 extra for a cooked breakfast...should just wrap into total price - why nickel and dime.....)

Room for improvement
- Appetizers for the pool area or to snack - are not too appetizing / too complex...
- No burger on the menu....with a pool as wonderful as Thala has...sorry, you need a burger to go with it....
- Very pricy desserts - $19....(and I like my desserts....but this is ridiculous)
- No real pool service....you need to order inside...they don't come out and pick up dishes...

Pool area:
Positives:
- Awesome, 5 layer rock pool - Really a fun place to hang out
- Very clean
- Lots of towels

Room for improvement:
- Limited lounges
- Lounge covers probably should be replaced, looking old

So, overall stay was fantastic....Thala help with booking excursions on the Barrier Reef, answer questions on where to eat in Port Douglas - Rattle and Hum was a great winner - super pizza....

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Thala1, Manager at Thala Beach Lodge, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts - we are thrilled you were delighted with our service, location, check in, buggy service, bungalows, pools and restaurant experience.

Thank you for your bedding feedback, we are currently investigating options as suggested to best cater for all guests. I am disappointed you didn’t enjoy the selection on our All Day Snack Menu and apologise that you didn’t receive the full service normally provided around the pool area - your feedback has been passed on to the relevant managers for actioning.

We look forward to hopefully welcoming you at Thala again in the future.

Best wishes
Johan Klindt, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

To say I have agonised over this review is perhaps an exaggeration, but I had such mixed feelings about the place that it has been difficult to decide how to rate it.

Some (many) aspects of our stay were great, but an unhappy atmosphere hung over the whole place. The staff were trying to smile, they were polite, knowledgable and helpful, but they all looked unhappy in their work, or as though they were struggling with some terrible news or sadness. Actually (and I know this is a lot to read into an exposure of just five days) they just looked like a badly managed team of otherwise good people. They are all made to wear uniforms so ugly that it would make anyone grieve, perhaps it was style agony. I don't know.

Clearly business is not good. There's the global financial crisis, and a strong Aussie dollar makes it expensive for foreigners while at the same time encouraging locals to travel overseas. That's a double whammy for the Australian tourism industry. In northern Queensland we saw many places that had closed down and there were very few other guests staying at Thala Beach Lodge while we were there (mid-December).

This unhappy atmosphere and rather empty feel coloured my experience, while -- actually -- there's a lot that's really good about the place.

It has, for example, the most beautiful swimming pool (or swimming pools) that I have ever seen anywhere. Not an infinity pool over a palm-lined beach. No, much more special: a cascading series of saltwater pools built into the hilltop under original rainforest vegetation. All crystal clear, and one at the top with a jacuzzi built into it. I've taken lots of photos. Have a look for yourself.

It has two private beaches. We made it to only one of them, and the fact that it was deserted at sunset was fine. We sat on the sand and let a good wind blow the bubbles off our sparkling wine. Very romantic.

There's a young woman at reception who twice a week, weather permitting, leads the most amazing star-gazing session. Also on the property, a small shed rolls back to reveal two huge telescopes (the size of small adults, a step-ladder is sometimes required) and the receptionist is transformed into a fantastically knowledgable amateur astronomer. It was fascinating.

The rooms (I think they are all the same) are wooden cabins built on stilts to accommodate the hillside. Ours was close to the main lodge. It was a little dated in some respects (ancient safe), but very well maintained and very clean, with a lovely polished hardwood floor. Good (quiet) air-conditioning plus fans. Room for a small sitting area, plus balcony looking out into dense rain-forest, full of birds.

Breakfast was an extra A$27 per head, and more still if you ordered a cappuccino. But the food was good and the setting is lovely, watching exotic birds play in a birdbath subtly installed in one of the trees. We twice had dinner at the hotel. It was not very special (and was very pricey), so we took a break from drinking over dinner to be able to drive home (10-15 min) sober from Port Douglas where there are plenty of good (and god value) places to eat. (Try Bel Cibo on the main street.)

There was free wifi internet in the public areas, which was a bonus (most places on our trip wanted to charge extra for this too). It worked fine and was reasonably fast.

We got a last-minute deal through booking.com at a better price than we were quoted when we phoned the lodge direct. I tried to discuss terms but didn't get anywhere. That seems to me not very smart from a business management point of view. If we'd been offered any kind of extra on the phone (a complimentary upgrade for example, which would have been completely costless to the lodge) we would have booked direct and saved the hotel a booking.com commission. Still, it's the hotel's decision and allowing for the adverse exchange rate we paid a reasonable price.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thala1, Director of Sales at Thala Beach Lodge, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
We are pleased this valued guest saw the true beauty in our resort and enjoyed our facilities and participated in our complimentary guided nature tours.

The entire Thala team was extremely surprised by this guests’ impression of our spirit and attitude. We pride ourselves not only on our excellent standards of service but the genuine care and passion in which we deliver. As reflected in the vast majority of other reviews, our team consistently gets fantastic feedback from guests - staff and management alike are all quite bewildered by these comments.

Early December is traditionally quiet for all of Tropical North Queensland, the middle two weeks are the ‘calm before the storm’ of Christmas when we were fully booked and enjoyed a terrific wrap up to 2012.
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Additional Information about Thala Beach Lodge

Address: Private Road | 5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland 4871, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Port Douglas > Oak Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Oak Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Thala Beach Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 83
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on a private beach nestled in 145 acres of native forest, family-owned Thala is a deluxe eco and nature resort near Port Douglas. Sitting spectacularly atop a headland with breathtaking vistas, it provides an island-feel holiday from the mainland and is the perfect base to explore the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Boutique timber bungalows are built high on stilts and nestle in the forest canopy, featuring either ocean or forest views. The views from the restaurant are panoramic across the mountains and coastline. Guests dine among the birds in the surrounding treetops enjoying modern Australian cuisine with friendly service. Osprey's Restaurant is open to the public 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.Paths meander through rainforests onto private sandy beaches placing guests in an unsurpassed secluded, relaxing environment. Complimentary guided onsite tours include a unique coconut odyssey, stargazing, nature walks and bird watching tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thala Beach Hotel Port Douglas
Thala Beach Resort

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