My husband and I visited Hamilton Island for 4 nights for a friends wedding. The island is clean, organised, well lit and I felt safe. While we usually holiday overseas, it was really nice to holiday in Australia and experience the laid-back Aussie attitude. From the moment we arrived at the airport, staff were quick to help direct guests as to where to collect luggage, handout luggage tags and find transfers to all the accommodation. They gave clear instructions about transfers and check in. When we got on the bus, we were greeted warmly with a "how was your flight " and it felt like a mate had come to collect us for our holiday.
We checked in at The Reef Hotel and there were several staff on hand to process arriving guests. We were taking via golf buggy about 200m to Palm Bungalows. We stayed in a standard palm bungalow with buffet breakfast included at either The Reef Hotel, Sails or wildlife park. The bungalows are freestanding which is great: limited noise from neighbours and no waiting for lifts. It looked exactly like the pictures on their website and was what I expected; a flashback to the 1980's! Everything was clean and in good working order. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and bars of soap were provided. Bathroom and beach towels were provided in the room. The room was made up once daily. My only complaint was the air conditioning unit was a little noisy.
The standard palm bungalows location is great. They are so close to everything. The bungalows are on their own private semi circular driveway separated from Resort Drive by a sloped lawn. Wild life park (on the opposite side of Resort Drive) is at one entrance to the driveway (100m) and the beauty salon (50m) is at the other end. There is a little souvenir shop across the driveway.The gym is about 150m and The Reef Hotel (Pool Terrace Restaurant and pool) 200m. The buggy hire company is across the lawn on Resort Drive (50m). The resort centre including shops, bowling alley, main pool, pool bar, Sails steak and seafood grill, Verandah bar, Coca Chu restaurant, public toilets and the child care centre are 150-200m walk. The resort centre is set on Catseye beach. Directly in front on the beach is the water sports centre. The marina in 5 minute walk up and down a small hill.
We did not feel the need to hire a golf buggy due to our location on the island and our willingness to walk. The buggies are electric powered and therefore not loud or smelly. There are 3 shuttle bus routes, 2 (purple and orange) going opposite directions around the island leaving around every 30 minutes and 1 (green) looping between the marina and along Resort drive. Timetables are in rooms and on bus stops. Passengers must be seated. We were unable to board a 11.20am bus as it was full. As we were on our way to the wedding at 12pm and the next bus was at 11.50am we were left in a sticky situation. Luckily the helpful staff at The Reef Hotel saw our predicament and drove us to the wedding. Not only that, the next day the staff member enquired as to how we enjoyed the wedding. This personal service and care was apparent throughout our entire stay at all the establishments on the island. We booked a 'taxi' or minivan to the airport from The Reef Hotel for $14/2pax. The fare must be paid in cash to the driver.
Catseye beach is affected by the tide, so be mindfully of that when you plan your day. At high tide guests can enjoy kayaking, windsurfing, swimming etc, but at low tide I didn't find the beach overly attractive. I used the low tide as an opportunity to walk out to the water and snorkel. I found this to be an average experience due to my previous experiences world wide. Other activities such as fishing trips or boat trips can be booked and taken from the marina area.
The weather was sunny and about 24°C during the day and cool at night, so take a jacket. Water temperature was a fresh 20°C.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Palm Bungalows comprise 49 freestanding island bungalows situated in a tropical garden setting,each with its own balcony and outdoor furniture. Rooms are spacious and specifically designed for couples or small families. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Palm Bungalows Hotel Hamilton Island
- Palm Hotel Hamilton Island