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“As good as ever - if not better”

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Lizard Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lizard Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 16, 2012

Have just spent 4 days on LI. Staff and facilities are outstanding. Food and drink outstanding. Activities and options are phenomenal. All in all, worth every penny. Will shall return. Absolutely nothing but 5 stars.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Jason P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 14, 2012

Lizard Island resort is a luxury retreat on an isolated island on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

LOCATION - Lizard Island is on the northern Great Barrier Reef, about a 1 hour flight from Cairns. It is located on the outer reef, which keeps the water relatively clear, and provides extensive marine life. The resort is the only development on the island, so it does give you the feeling of exclusivity due to its isolated location.

COST - Lizard Island is not cheap. There are 40 rooms at the resort, ranging from the "entry level" Garden Rooms, where only 36 sq meters will set you back $1,500 USD a night, to the 40 sq m Pavilion Suite which runs $3,500 USD a night. We opted for the Anchor Bay Suite, which was a spacious but not extravagant 59 sq m and runs about $2,100 per night. These rates include meals and basic drinks, but not much else. Activities other than your basic non-motorized watersports and use of the dinghies are extra, and not only a little extra - a lot. A 2-tank scuba dive will set you back $400 per person. A full day fishing trip is $3,000. The mandatory flight to Lizard Island is not included in this price, so add in another $550 USD per person for a 1 hour flight. These areas are not including the balconies, which are spacious on the suites, particularly the Pavilion Suite.

ROOMS - Our Anchor Bay Suite was comfortable, well kept and was generally as good as new despite being around for quite some time. It was simply decorated, had a nice balcony with a day bed and chairs, and had all the amenities we needed. Nice bed and shower, ocean view (through the palm trees), double sinks. No mosquito netting on the beds which would have been nice, though they do a good job at mosquito control. No tv in the rooms, and (astonishingly and disappointingly for a resort at this price range), no wi-fi or internet access in the rooms (except the Pavilion Suite) even though it is available at the resort. Plan on trucking your laptop down to the pool house if you want to access the internet, which is quite a jaunt depending on which unit you're staying in. The suite was simple, but comfortable, and we were thankful we'd picked the largest type of suite.

SERVICE - The best part of the resort was the staff. They were uniformly friendly and lovely, and enhanced our experience. All were quite pleasant, professional and helpful, all the way from the restaurant to the front desk to the watersports. The housekeeping was perfect, always prompt and invisible.

FOOD - The food was the second highlight of the resort. It was almost always wonderful during our four day stay. A couple of times the fish was a undercooked or overcooked, but otherwise the dinners were outstanding. Different every night, three course, elegantly presented and paired, just what you'd hope for. The only thing that was disappointing (and a small thing) was that every meal, every day, they served the same dinner roll. Never an option of different bread, never a change. The same roll every meal. Weird.

Breakfast was served from a menu which suprisingly didn't change throughout our stay, but was sufficient and the food was well prepared and enjoyable. Most people opted for a picnic lunch instead of eating at the hotel, because the activities are a highlight. The picnics were very nice, but some of the options were strange choices, and oddly the offerings never changed throughout our stay - the same picnic every day which got really old. One day we skipped an activitity just so we didn't have to have the picnic again. That's not how it should be for the price we paid. The lunch that day was light but enjoyable. The staff at the restaurant was lovely and the ocean view through the palms from the restaurant is heavenly. We were mostly happy with the basic included wines, though there was a limited selection which never changed throughout our stay. The wine list available at extra cost was very nice.

BUSINESS - This is decidedly not a business resort. In fact, doing business here is pretty much impossible, which almost prevented us from visiting, and would prevent us from returning. There is no internet access in the rooms at all (except the Pavilion Suite), and no cell coverage except for a few isolated spots. If you want to check your email you can, but you have to go sit in the media room on a couch or at a small backgammon table, where the lighting is poor and only a few chairs, and it is quite a walk from most of the rooms. This area was consistently occupied throughout our stay, which should be a clear sign to the resort that people want to be connected even at Lizard Island. The wi-fi did work pretty well considering the isolated location of the resort, and it was free. I just can't comprehend when internet is avaialble at the resort, at the price levels of this place, how they can't splurge to extend the wi-fi to the rooms. In 2012 people expect that. There is a nice desk for working in the room, and a couple computers for guest use in the pool house, but that's it.

DIVING/SNORKELING - The resort is situated on the outer barrier reef, so there is plenty of marine life around. The quality of the snorkeling is of course in the eye of the beholder, so depends on where else you've snorkeled as to how good it is, but well worth doing. The clam garden is a must-see and it's great to be able to snorkel right from the beach or park the dinghy and jump in for a quick snorkel. We found the overall snorkeling near the resort to be fairly average for this part of the world, with less sea life than we expected, but still worth doing - we found a giant octopus which was fun. We found the snorkeling from the boat to be quite a bit better than that right around the island, which I suppose is to be expected.

We only did one 2-tank dive, which ran $400 per person. This is not a dive resort, it is a luxury retreat where diving is "something to do", and most of the guests are non-divers, or are doing a discover course. We'd kind of thought we could stay at Lizard Island as an alternative to doing a liveaboard off the mainland, but in hindsight that was not a good trade-off as far as the diving was concerned. The trips are combined divers and snorkelers, and the trips are run to reefs which are good for both. The divemasters were professional and took safety very seriously, and the rental equipment was good quality. But really these excursions are sightseeing trips for tourists to see them feed the giant cods at Cod Hole.

Cod Hole was one of the reasons we booked the trip actually, but was a real disappointment to us as divers to see them feeding the fish every day. The fish had become aggressive, and it when you jumped in the water you were greeted with a mad rush of fish charging directly at you thinking you were going to feed them. Very unnatural, and disappointing to see how the feeding of the fish by Lizard Island has disrupted the pristine marine environment. More like a show at Sea World than a real dive. One cod took a piece out of our divemasters wetsuit, freaking out my wife. However, when we'd swim away from the fish feeding area, it was nice to see all the cods behaving more naturally.

The dives were overall a disappointment, even though the marine life was plentiful, as there was only one other certified diver on our boat (together with several resort divers and snorkelers), and he used air very fast. Our divemaster must have dove with him before because we would bolt through the good part of the dive sites at a high rate of speed, in a clear effort to get him back to the boat before his air ran out. Then she'd drop him off, and the three of us would circle around below the boat until we got bored. For $400 per person, at this location, we felt jipped, and didn't do any other dives during our stay. Also the trips don't run every day, you have to look at the schedule and plan your activities accordingly.

FISHING - We, along with another couple, chartered the fishing boat for a day. Very nice boat, excellent crew, and the fish were all over the place. We started by pulling in lots of "bait fish" including 80 lb. Giant Trevally with "light tackle", then we trolled for marlin for about 30 minutes before hooking one that was 800 lbs. We fought it for 3 hours before it starting getting dark and the mate cut the line. Quite an experience. Really expensive, but the boat was big and nice, and no more economic option offered.

DINGHIES - These were the highlight of everyone's trip I think. You could motor them around yourself to isolated and even private beaches, find hidden snorkeling spots, and have a picnic on the beach. In hindsight I would have skipped the diving and done the dinghies for another day. Easy to drive, even for beginners, and included in the price of the trip.

OVERALL - Lizard Island is an exclusive beach resort made for relaxing and romance. To this end, it absolutely lived up to its billing. Great food, great staff, lots of pampering. Except for hauling our laptops down to the pool house all the time, we were very relaxed and had a great time. It is not a dive resort, there are just optional activities like that you can do for something to do, but they are "fun days" for exclusive guests, not real dive trips, and it was our fault for expecting something else.

The value here (what you get for your money) is not favorable compared to other luxury resorts in other areas, as after deducting probably $400/day per couple for what you'd pay for nice dining in the city, you're left with $1700 per night plus mandatory $1100 per couple airfare to get here, and all you get for that money is a nice but simple suite on the beach and use of a dinghy. Although this is clearly a 5-star resort, and a lovely getaway, I had to dock it a star for not including more things with the very high price. Airfare and activities are typically included in the price at an exclusive resort like this, and certainly wi-fi in the rooms is expected. However, I want to emphasize that as a luxury price-not-an-issue relaxing and romantic getaway in Australia, it is hard to beat Lizard Island, and we had a lovely stay.

Room Tip: Anchor Bay Suite offers the most value for the money. If you want to use wi-fi make sure you reques...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2012

My husband and I recently went to lizard island to celebrate a big birthday and some other life changing events.
We wanted somewhere really special to celebrate, relax and remind ourselves how wonderful life can be. We could not have picked anywhere better.
Yes lizard island is expensive, was it worth it? Absolutely.
The food was fantastic. The staff were so attentive, kind, friendly, they remembered who you were and what you liked and tried at all times to make sure you were really enjoying yourself.
Special thanks to Megan on the reef day trip for making me feel confident and safe, to Chef Damian for our amazing personally designed degustation on the beach, to Claudine in the restaurant and to our fantastic waiter who is studying and the lovely girl from the beach club who went on a turtle chase for me in watsons bay ( I'm so sorry my memory for names is terrible). You and many others helped us have a holiday to really remember.
We did not laze around as much as we had expected to, the snorkeling right off the beaches was so good laying around just didn't seem an option. Swimming with a wild turtle was a huge highlight for me.
If you go do everything! Take a dingy and picnic to a deserted beach and have an amazing day snorkeling feeling like you are the only people in paradise, spend a day on the reef with great staff helping/teaching/ and feeding you :) and don't miss the degustation for delicious, romantic pampering.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank dreamingofholidays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

We spent three nights on Lizard Island and would have stayed longer had our subsequent lodging been accommodating at all. The rooms were comfortable with nice extra touches like Bose radios, and treats in the fridge. We came to Lizard mainly for snorkeling and they were outstanding, the entire staff in the Marine and Dive area were fantastic. We did both a half day and a full day trip to the reef . Both trips were excellent. One of the things we really appreciated was the nice, clean high quality wetsuits that are complimentary during your stay. Every day they gave us a clean, dry wetsuit for the day, which was appreciated. On our last morning, we had them drop is off at Another location to snorkel, which was really nice since we had a mid afternoon flight.

The food is excellent, although a little too fancy for my taste. Portions are small, however. I don't eat seafood, so everyday they had a specific menu with my name on it with no seafood. That was a very nice touch.

We enjoyed a beach "degustation" be night- a private beach dinner. When we arrived, we met with the chef and he designed a custom menu just for us. It was wonderful.

I just can't say enough good things about Lizard Island Resort. We hope to return some day.

Room Tip: If you are there for beach activities, the least expensive rooms are closest to the beach. Very con...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Karn J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

If you're looking for a destination to indulge yourselves, Lizard Island is it!
The staff, the food (oh..the food) and the remote location all add up to make a holiday here very special. We loved the choice of beaches, snorkeling and generally just relaxing. Each meal whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner was a time we looked forward to with great anticipation. We give it 10 out of 10 and definitely plan to return.

Room Tip: We were in a sunset beach villa with a great view over the main beach. Whilst it's a little walk...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank Genni F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We LOVED our six night stay at Lizard Island and found the resort and island to be accurately described in previous glowing reviews.

Our Anchor Bay suite (#33) was ideally positioned in the middle of the complex with direct access to the beach. The room was spacious and most comfortable, lacking only in drawer-type storage space. The mini-bar was amply supplied and the chocolate chip shortbread cookies were excellent. Once we had mentioned to staff that we liked the cookies, more and more kept appearing, so that by the end of the stay our daily supply had increased from two to more like a dozen!

We are especially grateful that there are no TVs in the rooms! At other luxury lodge stays we have been bombarded daily by the blaring 1700 hr news from a neighboring room. Not something one needs whilst trying to enjoy a drink on the veranda in such a beautiful open air environment! Nor was the lack of internet access in the rooms a problem, in fact it was a relief to not to have this diversion. More interesting to watch the sun birds and large goannas on the grounds.

The island was more interesting and diverse than we had suspected and was more than just the beaches. The hike to Cook’s Look is well worth the effort (we did it twice, once by ourselves and once with the resort naturalist). The trail is rather rocky in parts and requires good shoes. There are other tracks more suitable for running, such as the sandy road to the Research Station. The guided tour of the station is definitely worth taking advantage of.

As noted in every review, the beach and water activities are quite spectacular and well coordinated by the knowledgeable and ever enthusiastic resort staff. The weather was breezy, 20-30 knots, so the water was somewhat rough and we did not take the dinghy out for our private beach picnic. We agree with a previous reviewer that being delivered by staff in the motor boat is the much more efficient way to go! We did the full-day outer reef trip, which one almost has to do when at the Great Barrier Reef. We did snorkeling and found it rather a challenge to keep up with our intrepid guide in the choppy water. Next time we will ask for a more leisurely pace so we can look down more rather than ahead to locate the safety flag. But the overall experience is something not to be missed, and we were very impressed by the attention to every detail for comfort and safety.

Now, about the dining: We found breakfast to be ample, the muffins being the highlight, though we would have preferred a buffet as at other luxury lodges. As we were out and about most days we had only one restaurant lunch which was a large and delicious sandwich. Dinners were excellent and although we ordered fish every night, each presentation was different and imaginative. We had the private beach-front degustation menu on our second night and chef Anthony sat down with us in the morning and planned out quite an extravaganza. Each the seven courses seemed better than the last. One warning: each course comes with a chef-selected (Australian in our case) wine, all of which were excellent and poured in significant quantity. As noted by a previous reviewer, it was a significant challenge to walk (stagger) to, and even locate, our room after this grand experience!
Hot tip: If the frozen “Snickers Bar” is on the dessert menu, go for it! Worth the journey!

We also enjoyed a tour of the kitchen on our last morning, where Anthony not only showed us how to cook fish, but served us on the spot. We also came away with a packet of freshly made cake after drooling over the huge vat of chocolate. Every guest should have this experience as it gives one an appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes to run such an operation in a remote location.

In the end, what really made Lizard Island so enjoyable was the resort staff. Some were new to the island, whilst others were seasoned luxury lodge veterans, but all made a sincere effort to see that of our needs were met and that our stay was enjoyable. The names are too many to mention although a special commendation would go to Patrick and Morgan, who ran a most lively bar and make a great Mai Tai!

In the words of one of our late countrymen: “We shall return.”

Room Tip: Anchor Bay suites are largest rooms and right on the beach.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KauaiRobin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

This is a unique resort as it is on the reef and you can snorkel right there at the resort or they will take you out on a boat to other parts of the reef. Every person at the resort is absolutely great. They are pleasant and will spend as much time as needed with you to make sure you know where you are going and what to do when you are out snorkeling. The level of service is outstanding in every manner. The no reservations needed practice at the beautiful restaurant was a joy. The suite we stayed in was incredible. Views are outstanding and the whole place is relaxing and top notch. Of course, the cost is unlike anything I have ever seen and I have stayed in 5 star resorts in many countries. Once you agree t swallow the cost, you could not ask for a better place to go!

Room Tip: the suites facing the ocean with private paths to the beach are fantastic.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank rss41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Lizard Island Resort

Address: Via Cairns, Cook Shire, Lizard Island, Queensland 4871, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Cook Shire > Lizard Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lizard Island
Price Range: $1,312 - $2,190 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Lizard Island Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. With 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites, it is the most northern resort in tropical Queensland and is located directly on the Great Barrier Reef. A National Park covering 1,013 hectares with 24 sandy beaches and a lagoon, Lizard Island is accessible only by private charter from Cairns Airport in northern Queensland, Australia. Cairns Airport is accessible from all major Australian airports and directly from some cities in Asia. The island is reserved for the fortunate few who will experience an unforgettable holiday like no other. Enjoy secluded picnics and sunset beach degustation on private beaches, five star cuisine in the beautiful Salt Water restaurant and indulgent spa treatments in the Essentia Day Spa. Relax in style in premium accommodation and take in the wonders of Australia's Great Barrier Reef - right on your doorstep. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lizard Island Hotel Lizard Island
Lizard Island Resort All Inclusive

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