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“Best food in Oz but a room with no view!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Thala Beach Nature Reserve

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Thala Beach Nature Reserve
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Private Road | 5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland 4871, Australia (Formerly Thala Beach Lodge)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Oak Beach
Dublin, Ireland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Best food in Oz but a room with no view!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2007

My husband and I stayed at the Thala Beach for 5 days whilst on our honeymoon in Oz. It was really lovely. The views from the guest lounge are stunning, the walks are fabulous and the food! We still talk about the food in hushed tones over a year later! Seriously if you're staying here don't bother going to PD for meals because you won't find anything better than what the Thala Beach chefs have on the menu!

The only bad thing about this place was the location of our cabin. A travel agent friend of ours booked the hotel, mentioned the fact we were on honeymoon and hadn't thought of asking where our cabin would be. We were ended up at the bottom of a hill with trees right up to the door and windows so there wasn't a hint of a view despite their claim that "All bungalows have views either to the ocean or the forested mountains".

The other thing to think of is the humidity (we were there in early October) - the hotel has fabulous walks and nature trails (Brett, the Steve Irwin type nature guide does walks of the acres of grounds every morning). Unfortunately it was just too humid for me (Irish -not used to heat and quite lazy) to walk anywhere so I let my husband off and stayed in the lounge drinking freshly squeezed juice and looking out over the miles of coastline.

The hotel is v close to Port Douglas however you do need to order the shuttle bus or hire a car to get there as it's a good 15 minute drive.
All in all I'd most definitely recommend this place and would stay there again but next time I'd specify a room with a view!

  • Liked — Food, scenery
  • Disliked — Location of cabin
  • Stayed October 2005, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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883 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (165)
Date | Rating
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  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2007

Our first impressions weren't fantastic: we had expected more of a luxurious retreat. There was a little disappointment on the first evening, mostly with our "hut". It wasn't very well decorated; looked a bit dated and, well, cheap. But by next morning, we had fallen for this place; so quiet, beautiful location, fantastic views, and good food. They have a travel agent on site that is really useful if you want to book trips: reef dives, rainforest walks, etc. The air con in the room is pretty noisy but cools it down very well. There are also fans on the ceiling. I loved the deck out front of the room, with a light and fan for a relaxing, and I mean really relaxing evening drink.
If you find it difficult to walk about, or have difficulty with steep inclines, then this place may be problematic for you: the complex is on a headland and between the beaches and lodge, there is quite a height difference: all the rooms and stringed out at various levels between. To cope with luggage, etc, the lodge uses little mini-vans to ferry stuff up and down. This kind of went against the eco-feel of this place. We went in December, and it was nearly empty, so very relaxing at all times; around the pool or at dinner, but this is because its box jelly fish season so you can't venture into the sea. They don't warn you of this until you arrive and then the warnings are everywhere. I would recommend this place purely on the basis of its location and ultimate hideaway feel (it was less than 10% occupied during my visit though). Its not luxurious but its also not so expensive. The views are awesome.

  • Liked — The views, isolation, and the spa treatments
  • Disliked — Cheap feel of the room
  • Tips/Secrets — Use the travel service to book your tours; they have the low down.
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2007

This is a place to relax, eat great food, drink good wine, sit by the pool, stroll by the beach or explore the rainforest. We had a fabulous time. Rooms are cabin style away from the main building. The public areas are all open air. No air conditioning and NOT bug proof. But what the hell it was great to get back to nature and the food.... brilliant try the Oyster soup sounds weird but was unbelievable as was the duck entree. The restaurnat over looks the Coral Sea, with a great sea breeze in the afternoons. This is not a place for kids and we didnt see any. Beware if you have difficulty walking. Although they have a great golf buggy service to and from rooms it is situated at the top of a hill with the cabins below the main building and a steep walk to the main building.

  • Liked — location overlooking Coral Sea.
  • Disliked — steep walk to main building
  • Tips/Secrets — take bug spray
  • Stayed January 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
South Wales
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2007

We went to Thala in December 2006 to get married. It was a magical place where attention to guest comfort was first class. The staff were excellent giving special thanks to Angie our wedding planner and Tammy who looked after us in the Dining Room.

Our wedding was beautiful and they made it such a memorable experience, the attention we received was second to none. We are so happy we chose Thala to get married.

The location was spectacular with views to die for. The setting of Thala was amongst secret pools and beautiful flora and fauna. The food was delicous on every sitting.

We will return with out doubt to this magical, beautiful place. Thanks to all the staff who were friendly and attentive, and for making our trip one we will never forget.

Roy and Jeanie Stevens - UK

  • Liked — Location and panoramic views
  • Disliked — nothing to dislike
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2006

What we loved:

1. The location of Thala is well-situated with easy access to Port Douglass, but far enough away from the crowds to offer isolated beaches and lush rain forest surroundings. The Bungalows were simple, clean, and offered great privacy -- we didn’t hear the sound of a TV set or any neighbors. The hardwood floors are kept very tidy and the bathroom was sparkling.

We spent several evenings out on our terrace drinking Australian wine and listening to the waves crashing and frogs/bugs singing. Also, if you like to start the day with a good cup of coffee, the room comes equipped with a French Press /Plunger style coffee maker and a hot-water heater.

2. Food at Thala was excellent. We ate almost every meal there for a week and never grew tired of the menu. The cuisine features freshly prepared food with Asian and European influences. I asked and found out the head chef is a classically swiss-trained chef. It’s been over 2 months since our trip and I still remember the Barramundi fish steamed in banana leaves, local artisan cheeses, a homemade mango sorbet, and a mouth watering cut of succulent pork belly.

They will even cook "off-menu" with special requests – they accommodated me with a salad featuring local seafood. You can also order picnic baskets if you want to enjoy a meal on the beach or in your room.

3. The Great Barrier Reef was breathtaking and traveling out to the reef to snorkel was a not-to- be missed experience. Mikela, who runs the tour office at Thala is very helpful and they arranged a sailing tour to the low isles reef with a company called "Sail Away". The boat is the first to motor out to this popular location so you get there before the crowds and then you let the winds take you home, sailing on the return trip. We have never snorkeled before so this location, which is located off an island/sand quay was a good starter before we traveled out to the more intimidating and stronger currents of the outer reef.. There were fish of every color, giant purple clams, and many sea turtles swimming side by side us.

Several days later we took a trip to the outer reef for more snorkeling on one of the faster boats called "The Poseidon". The staff of was fun and the on-board biologist was very knowledgeable. There were high winds and strong currents that day with a very low number of people on the boat and we were rewarded with a snorkeling experience that was other worldly. The experience might have been different and a lot less personal if the ship had been at capacity with 50+ people. If you want to avoid the crowds, Mikela can recommend more private options on both sail and powered boats.

4. Orbitz. There was an issue with the marketing company promoting the hotel package we signed up for. The customer service department at Orbitz was excellent and extremely fair about resolving the problem.

Other:

1. As other reviews have noted, don’t expect to see postcard-perfect blue waters immediately offshore. The water is somewhat cloudy and muddy. However, as you travel out to The Great Barrier Reef, you will see clearer waters. This area is still abundant with natural beauty and Thala has done a great job blending in and preserving the shoreline and rainforest.

2. Although the food at Thala is excellent and well worth the premium price, we picked up small food and snack items at the Coles market in Port Douglas. Port Douglas also has some nice restaurant options.

3. Thala is located outside of Port Douglas, so if you don’t have a car you can take their free shuttle which runs a limited schedule in the morning and late evening. There are also cabs, but we didn’t look into the price of this.

  • Liked — Location and Food
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
UK
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2006

We have just returned from our honeymoon where we stayed at Thala for 1 week as part of our 3 week trip. We made a last minute booking (2 weeks before) due to changing travel arrangements.

From the first point of contact with Thala, the staff were friendly and welcoming. They could not do enough for you to ensure your stay was perfect. We arrived not really knowing what to expect and were greeted by a luscious rainforest with quaint tree lodges privately and spaciously located. Our Coral Sea lodge was privately located with unspoiled views of the Coral Coast.

As honeymooners we were looking for a private honeymoon retreat where we could relax and enjoy each others company. We got just that. In designing Thala, the creators have been clever to ensure you feel as if you are on your own private island and we were not disturbed by the hustle and bustle of holidaymakers.

We found a perfect spot to sunbathe - swimming in the small rockpool was like finding your own paradise and we spent many a day sunbathing and swimming there in complete privacy.

The food in the restaurant was tasty and well prepared - the staff were on hand at all times to ensure you received the best possible service.

We were recommended two trips - the Daintree Rainforest (Tony's Tropical Tours) and on Christmas Day we went to the Barrier Reef with Quicksilver. Excellent days - both we will never forget.

After reading posted reviews making remarks on the transport into Port Douglas we were both pleased and surprised to find the transportation was well organised and best of all - free! We agree that the transport is not as regular as some people might like but if you wanted to spend a lot of time in Port Douglas amidst the bars, restaurants and people - then Thala is obviously not the choice for you.

We loved our stay in Thala and thanks to the staff who made our stay a memorable honeymoon.

One piece of advice - do take Insect Repellent with you and a pair of comfortable shoes to walk around in. If you have these, you will not want for anything in your stay in paradise.

  • Liked — Private getaway
  • Tips/Secrets — Take Insect Repellant and comfortable shoes with you!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glen Ellyn, IL
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2006

If you enjoy tropical rain forests, tranquility, excellent personal service, your own private cottage rising above the Australian rain forest with views of the Coral Sea, and exquisite, isolated, cascade filled swimming pools surrounded by incredible natural beauty, then this is the place for you. The 144 hectar property sports fascinating walking trails with amazing views and a lovely, isolated beach. The open-air terrace dining and bar facilities rise above the rain forest canopy to provide you with fabulous views of Queensland. while enjoying food of the highest quality , complemented by a charming, professional hotel staff. Private excursions to the nearby Great Barrier Reef are easily arranged by the hotel staff as well. Pam and Kevin Illia, November, 2006.

  • Liked — Tranquility and Beauty
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — Pack comfortable walking shoes
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Address: Private Road | 5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland 4871, Australia (Formerly Thala Beach Lodge)
Location: Australia > Queensland > Port Douglas > Oak Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) 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 Nature Reserve 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
Thala Beach Lodge

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