About 7 clicks from the tiny coastal town of Port Douglas (pop. 3,000 full time residents swelling to 12k during peak seasons) sits a unique little B&B with only two double occupancy guest rooms. The sleeping units are immaculately painted and tiled in pleasing “beach style”, and furnished with king sized beds (dressed in crisp white linens), night tables and a small table and chairs. The towels are notablyn large, fluffy and changed every two days upon request. (Also furnished, big pool towels which guests can take off the premises to visit the local beach or elsewhere.)
The rooms are part of the main house, side by side on the large rain forest property. Although the rooms themselves are on the small side, and storage is minimal, they do have en-suite bathrooms, (showers no tubs) and plenty of shuttered windows for cross ventilation aided by good silent ceiling fans. (There is an A.C. unit in the room but we preferred the fresh air breezes. The rooms are really only sleeping chambers for guests who have access to two other huge and beautiful open air common areas. One of these is only steps from your door just beyond an impressive mini rain forest garden with your own designated mini fridge and kitchen gear if you want to cook in. You can stock up on bottled water and wine in town. (Also, available for the guests to use is a large gas grill. Beyond the fresh water (ionized, so no chlorine) swimming pool is “the tree house” with a captivating view down to the ocean over the rain forest canopy. Breakfast is served on this large lanai (and optional dinners, too). Really a large outdoor living room complete with a large DVD selection (for the DVD player in your room) and stereo system, the furnishings are an eclectic and pleasing blend of hardwoods and local rattan. Only one corner of the lanai is a closed wall and that corner hosts a tropical aquarium. The other “walls” are a waist high wrought iron fence. You can waste many hours sitting in a comfy rattan rocker up in this delightful tree house doing little more than watch the politics of many rain forest birds, (including colorful parrots and pairs of kites).
Denise and Marie are the inn keepers, assisted by Denise’s daughter, Michelle, her son, Ryan (I.T. guy), and other assorted family members who live on the property and helpfully pitch in for local advice or technical assistance. Truly no request, from doing a load of laundry to providing a ride into or pick up from town, was beyond this pleasant and accommodating staff. We ate dinner twice at the Inn (after noticing all the Gourmet Magazines lying about ☺ and we were so very glad we did. (A dinner menu is provided before your stay via email.) Even if you decide to go into town for dinner, you should know that the provided breakfast is 5 star fare, featuring fresh local tropical fruit parfaits and fruit juice smoothies, delicious egg dishes, with or without fabulous sausages. This Inn was recommended by friends and definitely one of our BEST choices. It is quaint, comfortable, clean and has everything you could possibly want. (Short of a night life.) A graceful and welcome respite from the large resorts and big city hotels. A surprisingly fair price for all services and extras, too. Tea and Nescafe are provided 24hrs a day with a boiling kettle and plenty of filtered water. Americans will have to request brewed coffee as this is Australia and they are all bloody tea drinkers, every one of them.
Location and facilities: A truly amazing property one mile inland from the Coral Sea looking over the rain forest canopy down to Oak Beach near Port Douglas. Just a quick trip to “Port” (private car provided by the inn at a nominal fee – far less than a taxi). About an hour up the coast from the Cairns airport (inn-keepers will also provide shuttle to and from airport).
Food: Spectacular breakfast provided with the room. Choose from five gourmet menu items and fresh fruit smoothies plus toast. Dinners can be arranged in advance and I heartily recommend eating here at least one night of your Port Douglas stay. (My dinner at the much touted and expensive Nautilus in town was vastly inferior to the delicious and fresh Prawn Salads I ate in the “tree house” at the Coral Sea.)
Service: Couldn’t be better. Nothing was too much for them. Modest fees applied to wifi connection and laundry. (Americans: a stay here is a bit like coming to visit your doting Australian cousins. From the second they meet you at the Cairns airport until they deposit you back there some days later, they could not be kinder or more insistent on making your visit perfect.) Knowledgeable about tours and “things to see and do”. Ask for what you need and, “Bob’s your uncle!” they will make it happen.
Note: there is a friendly family dog on the premises, and you will be visited by occasional rain forest creatures like the 5 foot goanna lizard that came for a poolside breakfast of bits of left over pork. (Goannas are protein eaters and are encouraged because they keep the snake population down. As I said, this IS Australia, mate.)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set high on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Coral Sea and surrounding rainforest, is one of Port Douglas' best kept secrets - Coral Sea Retreat B&B. Sit back relax and drink in the views. Holiday with a difference! The Tree House: 2 bedroom, self-contained unit with stunning views of the Coral Sea and rainforest. ... more less
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