If you are looking to spend a week in the Whitsundays, you should probably opt for Hamilton Island for most of that week, simply because you will run out of things to do on DDI if you stay more than a couple of days. Make sure you snorkel and watch the sunset at Lover's Cove--the colorful fish there are abundant and the coral is lovely. Wander the island a bit so you can get some awesome views and photos of the tame-ish wallabies and their joeys going about their days. Take advantage of the free kayaks and catamarans in the mornings, too.
I don't think the decor is outdated as much as it is more suited for children than adults. The bright colors and large plastic fish hanging from the ceilings are seemingly off-putting for some, but I thought it was kind of cute and island-y. There is plenty of seating next to the living reef in the lobby, which was nice when we wanted to just kick back and have a drink in between comings and goings. We didn't get to see any rays while snorkeling, so it was cool to be able to see them up close at the resort itself.
We found the staff to be quite amiable. Perhaps it was because we did actually stay for the whole week at DDI, so we kind of got to know a few of the staff, but I thought they were all very friendly. Every time we saw an employee in passing, he/she would always greet us and ask us about our day.
Now, while most of our stay was lovely, we did encounter a few cons along the way.
Having read reviews prior to our stay, I was expecting the service at Mermaids to be slow, but I didn't think it would be as slow as it was. It took almost 90 minutes for me to get a rare-cooked steak. I was sympathetic, though, because the restaurant was at maximum capacity, and the minimal staff were doing their best. But seriously, higher-ups, get some more people in there to help out! I understand that it is the off-season, but when you only have two restaurants open nightly, you're always going to be busy. Get some more wait staff and cooks in there to help those folks out! While it did take a long time to be served our dinner at Mermaids, I have to admit that it was the best steak I have ever had in my life.
We primarily dined at the Waterfalls restaurant, just because we like options (and pigging out) on vacation. The selection was more limited than advertised, unfortunately, but what was available was very, very good. Most of the nights we dined there weren't very busy, so it was frustrating when our water glasses were never refilled, despite my asking two different waitresses for more water. They were seemingly more worried about getting the alcohol orders, as they took orders from and served many tables after my request to both of them. Eventually, 20 minutes later, I just filled my husband's and my glasses with soft drink instead, which should be included with dinner, honestly. When the dinner itself is almost $50 a person, and getting a second tiny glass of water from the wait staff is practically impossible, the soft drinks shouldn't cost anything in addition to the dinner.
And yes, everything is very expensive, but we were expecting as much when we went there, so we tried to prepare accordingly so we could splurge at meals. We drank a lot of water (since the sodas are $4 a can). I also recommend packing a bag of snacks and taking it with you. If not, you could seriously end up spending over $100 just on small snacks alone. You get a 10% off your purchase coupon for Ginger's Boutique when your arrive. If you do plan on buying any of the expensive souvenirs (e.g. $25 for a toddler t-shirt...), use that coupon and buy them all at once.
Stay away from the game room. Many of the games are broken, and the ones that do work are expensive, old, and not much fun. Get some new games in there, DDI. Seriously. Invest in some newer and funner ones. With the number of kids (and kids at heart, like yours truly), you have visiting the island, they would definitely get played often.
Overall, we did have a positive experience. Plan ahead, and dine at the cheaper restaurants when they are available. Don't miss Lover's Cove at sunset. Wear good walking shoes when doing the rainforest walk. Skip the cart on the boardwalk, and walk with your loved one(s) and enjoy the views. Take a hoodie and blanket on the movie nights (it gets cold). Thank you for the good time, DDI.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Daydream Island in the Whitsundays has commenced its demolition and construction program ahead of its long-awaited redevelopment expected to be completed in August 2018. Following the damage caused in March by Cyclone Debbie, Daydream Island has invested $86 million in the redevelopment of the island. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Daydream Island Hotel Daydream Island
- Daydream Island Resort And Spa