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“Don't tell too many about this Gem”

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Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Oak Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Amersha, England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Don't tell too many about this Gem”
Reviewed December 14, 2006

It is unusal for me to write a review but my family and I stayed for 4 nights in November and it is the best Hotel I have stayed in for a long time. It is in an exception position on its own peninsular flanked either side with beautiful private sandy beaches. The staff couldn't do enough for you, we enjoyed superb cuisine, amazing nature walks, thoroughly enjoyed the new Spa, the highlight was visiting the Star Gazing Observatory and Kayaking with a personalised guide in the clear blue ocean. The rooms were beautifully appointed and spacious, the views were breathtaking. It's a must if you are in the area.

  • Liked — Style & Comfort
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank jimmcdaid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Oxford, UK
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2006

What a great place. Stayed for 3 nights in Nov. Booked by phone about 1-2 weeks beforehand. Stayed in a eucalyptus bungalow - no 42.

We loved the two private deserted beaches, great staff service (in comparison to experiences of other guests last year), proximity to nature (toads, dragons (aka monitor lizards), birds, self guided nature walks around the property), the care taken to maintain a variety of local flora (you can even see two cycads - rare plants important in evolution which as a species have remained unchanged for millions of years - one male and one female, in one of the photos of the entrance posted in an earlier review), details (eg water fountains scattered around the paths of the property if you get thirsty wandering around), safe and unchlororinated (I think) water from a local aquifer, individual bungalows (with the privacy associated wih this), picnic baskets (used as a stand in for room service - excellent food - highly recommended), free internet access (albeit only on one computer - a bit of a queue in the evenings after dinner), the fantastic communal verandah (wonderful views out to sea and a great place to relax/sip a drink, admire the view with or without the telescope provided or glance through one of the free copies of the daily paper).

The swimming pools were small but pretty, quiet and functional. There's a cascade of three pools near the main hotel area, although there was also a small pool elsewhere.

I think one of the highlights of Thala for us was having an early breakfast on our first morning (in preparation for a day trip to the rainforest). Yes, the food was fresh (yoghurt, fruit muesli, organic milk, cheese, honey straight from the comb - didn't try the cooked breakfast), but the parakeets (?) flying around the trees by the breakfast verandah were captivating. Feeders are provided in the trees there to attract the birds. There's a 'breakfast with the birds' at one of the rainforest discovery places nearby - I can't imagine it would be livelier than the early breakfast at the Thala (go later and you'll miss it). I suspect that our pleasure was all the greater because we 'discovered' it by ourselves - don't raise your expectations too high if you're a bird spotter.

Transport to and from town was free, which seems to have been fixed since some of the earlier reviews. However the transport was infrequent and not ideally timed (you could return on the free transport at 1845 or 2215, but not in between). Make sure you are ready for the transport at least 5-10 mins beforehand - the bus was early every time, and we would have missed it if we hadn't been there early). Taxi fares were $40 each way; too far to walk.

We did use the 'borrow for free' DVD service one evening - rooms have a DVD player. Choice limited, perhaps not appealing to all tastes. Given the location of the hotel, would like to have had the opportunity to watch 'Finding Nemo' or even 'Open Water'!

There has been a comment that the beach was messy. Yes, there were palm fronds and coconuts scattered on the land next to the beach - this helps to protect against erosion. Note there was no rubbish. The beach itself was picture perfect. Note that you can't go into the water during the summer months because of jellyfish, a problem all down the tropical east coast. You need to worry about box jellyfish (these are what 'stinger nets' protect against - there's a stinger net in Port Douglas), irukanji (small, poisonous but rare), and bluebottles. Out at the reef, only irukanji are a problem, but they're not common at all.

We went out on a Thala recommended day trip to the rainforest (Discovery tours), and the recommendation was a good one (they had had very positive feedback from previous guests). We would recommend the sea kayaking side trip option (also available as an option directly and more locally from Thala).

If you don't like nature or if you want access to lots of restaurants and nightlife, then this is not a great place for you. It's too far from town. And I suspect that the (infrequent) negative comments in previous reviews reflect that the writers wanted this hotel to be something it's not.

We enjoyed Thala. With specific thanks to Johann.

Garry and Katja.

  • Liked — Prxoimity to nature
  • Disliked — Difficulties getting to town
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Skizz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2006

We attended a wedding at Thala in September and stayed at the hotel on the night of the wedding and then for an additional 2 nights.

The wedding itself went very well and the feedback from the bride and groom was that they were delighted with the management of the whole event.

Our own experience of Thala was an excellent one too. Nothing was to much trouble for the staff at Thala and the resort itself is a fantastic location to relax and escape from life for a short while.

The restaurant was very good with a great selection of wines. Mrs Harrow Rovers is a vegetarian and every day the kitchen went to the extra effort of preparing and offering a couple of additional vegetarian options, as well as allowing for dishes to be “invented” from ingredients from other dishes.

Tops marks go to Thala for making the end our stay in Queensland before heading back to Sydney most enjoyable and very relaxing.

  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank HarrowRovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2006

We stayed at Thala Beach as part of our honeymoon to Australia. This is truly a romantic hideaway with good food and nature all around. Sometimes the nature gets a "bit" too close, especially on a night walk back to your bungalow! We met small snakes, toads and lots of lots of lizards. We should have worked it out when upon arrival, our ride to our bungalow was delayed whilst we waited for a python to cross the road first! Only down side was it is located quite a way outside of Port Douglas. We enjoyed the "back packer" atmosphere of the town and were a bit disappointed having to travel a way out - although the hotel offers a free minibus to and from the town.
Fabulous meal in the restaurant and we had two picnic baskets while we were there - they are not your "run of the mill" baskets - wonderfully luxurious.
All in all a great place for a honeymoon and luxury amidst the rainforest.

  • Liked — Eco friendly nature setting
  • Disliked — Some distance outside Port Douglas
  • Stayed August 2004, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Scarletchez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2006

Arriving at Thala after a long day of travel, we were met with friendly staff, an immaculate entry way with fresh flowers, and some fruit juice to unwind. I was very impressed with the location, with the resort blending with the location, rather than intruding. The individual bungalows, the beautiful views, and the long quiet beach were all highlights. We enjoyed two lovely 3 course dinners. Breakfast was as pleasant as any place I've been. We had typical things, coffee, bread, cheese, fruit, but it was exceptional in the relaxed pace in the sun filled, open air room. We took our time and watched the exotic birds in the trees nearby. This place shouldn't be missed and I only wish I had planned the trip for more than two nights.

My big complaint is with Orbitz... They posted an offer that was not valid, telling us we got breakfast and dinner included in our price. When we had an issue with our vocher, we could not get i touch with anyone at Orbitz to help. This obviously cut into our relaxing vacation time. The kind staff at Thala honored our voucher even though it turned out to be Orbitz mistake and I consider that really 5 star service -- absolutely going above and beyond. When I got back from the trip Orbitz offered to refund us for the breakfasts and dinners (which was too little too late.) They blamed it all on outrsourcing booking to an Australian company which seemed very unprofessinal. I thought that their customer service was shockingly disorganized. This is no way reflects on the high quality of Thala.

  • Liked — location
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank annemess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 31, 2006

We had the pleasure of staying 7 nights at Thala Beach Lodge honeymooning from the Barossa Valley. It was a pleasure to completely switch off and enjoy the fantastic location and grounds, particularily Ospreys restaurant, what a magnificent and memorable setting.

Without going into minute detail, the grounds, room, beach, pool and atmosphere matched our expectations. We feel the best asset however were the staff (Team Thala), full marks and special mention to Johan, Michael, Emma, Robert and Chef Clemant and their extended team/s...thanks for the TLC.

Both coming from hospitality and tourism backgrounds it was great to spend a week in paradise with very little to fault. If any issues arose they were dealt with promptly...well done.

The inclusive option proved a winner for us as we did'nt have to worry about a thing...food, beverage, transport plus extras took the hassle out of our stay.

I had to laugh about some of the negatives read regarding walking distances, wildlife and weather ... my suggestion would be to stay within the comfort zone and stick to the safety and sterility of inner suburban, multi-floored complexes which one can easily find any place, any time.

Thala is a different and unique experience showcasing Tropical Far North Queensland which we feel we benefited from and will enjoy again in the future. Cheers!

Helpful?
1 Thank frogster72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2006

We had 6 nights at Thala Beach in October for our Silver Wedding anniversary. I travel a lot and can honestly say that this was one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at. We had a bungalow overlooking one of the two beaches at the property, which is set in over 100 acres of forests and woodland. The room was big and immaculate, the bathroom also with separate bath and shower. The furnishings were excellent and the attention to detail in the room was refreshing. The hotel itself is about 20 minutes out of Port Douglas but a free shuttle runs during the day and evening (although not frequent) if you want to go into the town. There was also a complimentary pickup at Cairns airport although this did take a while as it picked up people from all over the place before we got to the hotel. The restaurant is in the main lodge and the food quality and presentation was lovely. Our only gripe would be that the menu did not change during the time we were there and was a bit small if it does not change at all. The property has 2 beaches, one of which is very large with beautiful sand. The grounds are maintained by a team of gardeners who have created walks through the trees and conduct guided walks to look at birds, animals and plants. In our view, this is a grossly underestimated asset, and if you have any interest in nature, this hotel has it all. The shop also houses the tour desk where tours to the reef and rainforest and other areas can be organised to suit individual requirements. All the staff were very friendly and helpful and we loved every minute of our stay.

  • Liked — Excellent rooms
  • Disliked — There were some young children which was wholly innapropriate
  • Tips/Secrets — If you want to get out of the hotel often, rent a car
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank Mark W
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

Property: 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):
Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a family owned 58 hectare nature and wildlife reserve 15 minutes south of Port Douglas. Get there from Cairns via a spectacular 45 minute drive along Captain Cook Highway. Elevated on stilts, 83 eco designed timber bungalows are discretely concealed within the forest canopy, blending in with the natural environment and feature ocean, mountain or forest views. Panoramic views are enjoyed from open-sided Osprey's Restaurant across the forest canopy and beyond to the Coral Sea. Guests and visitors dine amongst birds in the surrounding treetops, whilst enjoying modern Australian cuisine with friendly and attentive service. Granite boulders, waterfalls and overhanging trees create natural swimming pools blending discretely within the environment. Paths wind through rainforests and woodlands, connecting with secluded coves and beaches, passing through habitats for endemic birds, wildlife and flora. Guests enjoy complimentary guided nature tours by onsite rangers including tree planting, stargazing at an outdoor observatory, beach discovery, wildlife walks and bird-watching tours. A completely organic 650 tree coconut plantation is home to a unique coconut odyssey tour highlighting the extraordinary qualities of the 'tree of life'. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thala Beach Hotel Port Douglas
Thala Beach Resort
Thala Beach Lodge

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