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“Amazingly relaxed, brilliant staff and food.”

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Orpheus Island Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Orpheus Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 10, 2012

We stayed at Orpheus Island for a special treat for three nights in September and absolutely loved it. Although it's expensive, it was great to know the cost up front and there were no hidden extras. All meals, activities and drinks were included, so we didn't spend anything extra. Of course we could have if we wanted to, as a full bar was provided but as the house white wine, sparkling, red wine and beer were all perfectly fine.

I was a little worried about this island being a bit pretentious but I needn't have been. From the moment we got there we were made to feel welcome and the staff were friendly. It was a most relaxed atmosphere and quite laid back. We were welcomed by the new managers, Alex and Cat and given a delicious welcoming drink by Ari the chef. It had fruit and liqueur and coconut and I could have happily drunk a bucketful. We sat down to a 'light' lunch of about six small dishes which were all delicious. I think I put on at least two kilos there as every mouthful of every meal was so good. Lunch was followed by our 'Dining With The Tides' experience, where we had a romantic candlelit dinner on the pier. The seafood is very fresh...in fact some of it is caught by the guests. I tried to resist the cooked breakfast...considering I'd had muesli and fruit too but I couldn't. But I guess a place like Orpheus isn't about restraint. Ari knew we liked chilli and made us some great chilli sauce too. It would have to be some of the best, consistently good food I've eaten.

The rooms were beautifully decorated yet uncluttered and the view from my front decking was of a hammock swinging between two palm trees, with a blue ocean and sky in the background. To the side was the infinity pool, which looked amazing. The view changed as the day progresses as when the tide goes out, there is a huge mangrove beach and although perhaps not as pretty, it was nice to walk along when the tide was out as the rocks and roots made some great photos.

Each day there is an activity, with a sunset trip to see the giant clam beds on the first night. On our first full day there, we went snorkelling. We saw so many different species of fish, coral, giant clams. I just wish I had a waterproof camera. On the second day, we went fishing while two of the other guest who had 'eloped' were married on the lawn. I had my doubts when the hand lines came out, thinking that we weren't going to catch anything on those but within a few minutes the first fish was caught. I caught the fish of the day, which was a huge red emperor apparently. The fish all went into the esky to be cooked up the next day. My husband is the only one on the boat who didn't catch a fish and a couple of the other guest felt sorry for him so they all agreed to go out early the next morning in a dinghy so he could catch one..he did.

My favourite experience was one that wasn't organised. While my husband was lazing by the pool, I took a canoe out to the edge of the bay, The water was so calm it was really easy to paddle. So I went back to the pier and made my husband grab two glasses of champagne and we both paddled out to watch the sunset and sip champagne, circled by a cute little reef shark (not the dangerous kind!).

Other things I liked...the toiletries were in big bottles so there was none of the wastage that you get in other hotels. I guess that's important when you think that all the rubbish has to be taken out by barge. The toiletries also smelt great too. Nice special teas in the room and a stocked mini bar, all included. Everyone gets an Orpheus drink bottle to keep, handy for taking on walks. Magically, afternoon snacks would appear in our fridge.

My only suggestion would be that they need a small gym as I felt I needed to shed a few calories. Apparently there used to be one pre renovations and I think that for the price, that should be on offer.

All in all, it felt like a holiday with friends rather than an anonymous stay in a big resort. We met some great people and have swapped photos. Loved sharing the post wedding celebrations. The staff encourage a relaxed atmosphere. They would ask if we would like a drink but I liked being able to just walk up to the fridge and help myself too. And I think as a final really nice touch, Ari knew we had a long wait at Townsville airport, so he made us a packed lunch. The only thing I was disappointed in was that our fishing trip was on the last day, so we didn't get to eat the fish feast from our catch but everyone assured us they'd enjoy it for us!

Thanks to Kim, Sam and Steff for their friendly service, Ari and Ryan for brilliant food, Jackie for organisng everything boating wise and Alex and Cat for their organisation (great guitar playing Alex!)...and all the other behing the scenes people.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank catupover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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234 - 240 of 267 reviews

Reviewed October 10, 2012

We eloped at Orpheus and had a amazing, relaxing time. The staff were great and the food was amazing. The wedding was stress free and went without a hitch. We definitely brought back great memories and plan to revisit for a future anniversary.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jo H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012

We spent 5 nights on this beautiful island and although we had a wonderful time it certainly was not the kind of stay we thought we would get for the price we paid.
On a positive note the food was exquisite and chefs Ari and Ryan were absolutely brilliant. The location is just gorgeous and we believe that you are paying for the privacy and exclusivity of the place not for any luxury as the rooms are very simple. The outlook though is magnificent so perhaps the understatement of the room is for this reason.
On a negative note you know you are in Australia and not a luxury overseas resort as the staff have no ability to preempt anything for your stay. The same girl served us breakfast every morning and on all five mornings my wife had to ask for sugar for her latte. We ran out of toilet paper twice as they don't leave you a spare roll and even though there were three of us we were always left with only two towels...having to ask every day the same person to get us one more.
Although the staff were very polite and friendly! We were shocked that the guests had no say or ability to choose what activity they wanted to do. While we were there the only guests there wanted to go fishing but we were told we couldn't because that was not the activity for the day. When you are paying $1400 a night to stay somewhere and you and the only other guest on the island want to go fishing you would think that the staff could be a bit flexible. All of the activities were very much staff dictated...we had a little chuckle that the resort is almost like a front for the 17 staff to enjoy a holiday at the expense of the guests.
We also had been told we could use one of the DVD players on the island before we went. One of the staff went to get one and then came back and said the Manger Ben had said there wasn't one. She admitted she thought they were all in the staff quarters as they had had a big weekend watching DVD's. Little things such as this were so disappointing.
Overall though we had a lovely stay but won't be going back or recommending it to anyone unless you have money to burn. Treat yourself to a real luxury stay in the Maldives, Seychelles or even Thailand for the same amount of money.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank Luv2travelwedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rachel H, Guest Relations Manager at Orpheus Island Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded September 19, 2012

Many thanks for taking the time to provide us with your honest feedback!

I was disappointed to read that your stay didn’t live up to your expectations, and for this I wish to sincerely apologise on behalf of the team.

Whilst our professionalism and friendly service is often praised by guests, your experience demonstrates that improvements need to be made. Since reading your comments we have conducted an audit on all of our procedures as no guest should go without toilet paper and towels, I am sorry you were subjected to this!

As you have mentioned, the island is a secluded gem amidst the stunning Great Barrier Reef and thus we encourage guests to spend less time in their rooms and explore their beautiful surrounds. The accommodation on the island ensures utter comfort in a laid-back luxe environment. The room types blend a contemporary and minimalist setting in keeping with the relaxed island aesthetic.

In regards to our ‘experience,’ we offer a different scheduled activity each day which is stipulated at the time of booking – either fishing, snorkelling, sunset cruise or a local island tour.
We must run these activities on a rotation as each guest has a favourite and we need to ensure their expectations are met. During their stay, guests are allowed to take the helm of their own personalised dinghy and fish within the locals waters between Yanks Jetty and Pioneer Bay.

Apologies for quoting during the reservation process that a DVD player would be made available during your stay. It seems the DVD players have recently been replaced with external hard-drives which are loaded with movies, documentaries and TV series for guest consumption.
I am of the understanding that you were offered one of these hard-drive during your stay to compensate for the lack of a DVD player. We have since purchased some DVD players in the event that future guests might also bring their own collections.

On a positive note, it’s lovely to read that you were impressed by Ryan and Arie’s creations during your stay. They are two extremely talented chefs!

Should you wish to discuss your stay further, please feel free to contact me directly as I would be more than happy to chat with you!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We just got back from 6 days on Orpheus and overall it was a really lovely, relaxing holiday and a great way to soak in the natural environment of the Great Barrier Reef.

First all the positives-and there were many: beautiful scenery, amazing food (Ari is an awesome chef and super nice guy who is aiming to please, we had some food allergies and he was really attentive to them which we really appreciated), lots of opportunities to snorkel, kayak, connect with nature, and relax, and some really helpful staff (Jen the gardener is an absolute wealth of knowledge on all things environmental and Jackie the boat skipper is awesome too!). The sunsets are spectacular, and we were able to check out several different areas of coral to explore by snorkelling. Also, the island is not very crowded, so you really felt like you got a lot of privacy and space to yourself. The helicopter ride across from Townsville is also really scenic, and we saw several whales en route too.

There are a few minor things that we feel we should point out though. If you have been to other 5 star properties around the world, especially those in this price range, you may be disappointed. It is not of the same standard in terms of level of accommodation, service, amenities, etc. We spoke with other guests who agreed with us on this point. This is compared to top resorts in Bali, Thailand, Maldives, etc. Also, not sure about all the raves about the manager Ben in other reviews. We were there 6 nights, and never even spoke with him-he simply never approached us to check in at all-and 2 of the days we were the only guests on the entire island! We would expect that at a property of this level that the manager checks in with you, etc as has been our experience at other resorts. The place felt like it was without guidance in general, but it did just re-open recently so maybe it's still finding its feet. That being said, all the staff we did interact with were lovely and I"m sure with some direction and leadership the level of service here could be exceptional.

Also, the accommodation is quite simple. This didn't really bother us, but if you're expecting something really decadent you might be disappointed.

If you are looking to connect with nature, relax, eat delicious food, and enjoy a high level of privacy then Orpheus is definitely a great option for you. If you want serious levels of decadence in accommodation, high-end service, and lots of amenities, then you might find yourself disappointed.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank treadlightly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2012

We spent a very enjoyable 5 days on Orpheus Island and both agreed it was one of the best, most relaxing, short holidays we have experienced. It was also very nice to be one a few couples there; it varied from 4 to 8 guests in total. This island paradise is made so enjoyable by the staff; you can tell that they actually love being there and making the guests’ visit as nice as possible. The manager, Ben, is just terrific; he is always ready to make suggestions and help with the day’s activities if that is what you want, such as a fishing trip, a visit to other islands, snorkelling or diving, and just out on a boat to see the coral gardens with the giant clams. The fishing trips which we enjoyed with Ben at the helm were ably assisted by Linden, who knows the spots to fish and does all the helping with the lines and bait and bringing in the catch. The time disappears quickly with the breakfasts anytime between 8am and 10 am, lunch around 1.30 and dinner around 7pm. There are nice walks to picnic bay and the lookout on bush tracks, as well as along the beach at low tide to the mangroves and giant clams, or the pick oysters off the rocks. A chat with the gardener, Jen, is well worthwhile; she has been there 12 years and is a mine of information on the flora and fauna. Kim, Sam and Stef are just amazing with the service they provide, and the two chefs, Ari and Ryan, produce the most delicious food you could possible imagine. The head chef, Ari, creates some very spectacular dishes, always four or five courses at dinner, but not too much and nicely balanced; smaller but several dishes at lunch; and it is all good healthy food, lots of salads and vegetables in the mix. Absolutely no problems in catering for all kinds of allergies or dietary needs. Ari’s able assistant chef, Ryan, is always creating something new for after lunch, like the lightest chocolate brownies ever imagined, (just a taste), and Ryan’s poached eggs at breakfast are so perfect it is a shame to eat them. But they taste so good too. This is gourmet cuisine and one of the highlights of being on Orpheus. The house wines and beers are fine (all included) but there is an extensive wine list if you want to lash out. The accommodation is very good (we had a suite with a sitting room); all newly renovated units on the beachfront. Just go and enjoy this lovely island. If you want total relaxation without having to make decisions about anything, this is for you.

Room Tip: The suite was excellent
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank FunTimes030
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2012

Orpheus island is THE place to visit. Tranquil surroundings, excellent service, fantastic staff, fabulous food. I can not rate this place highly enough.
If you are looking for the perfect getaway, this is it!!!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Cat-Shilling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

This resort is the ideal place to chill out and enjoy excellent amenities and accommodation. The cuisine is absolutely superb which when combined with an excellent wine selection delivers an out of this world dining experience.
The activiees are great if you want to indulge and the staff are terrific. Alswasy very helpful but unobtrusive.
Highly recommended.
We will be back
Ron and Gaynor

Room Tip: Ask for a beachfront room on the south side
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Ron T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Orpheus Island Lodge

Address: PO Box 549 | Garbutt East, Orpheus Island, Queensland 4810, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Orpheus Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Orpheus Island
Price Range: $1,051 - $1,819 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Orpheus Island Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Orpheus Island Lodge is the Barrier Reef‘s most secluded tropical island. Catering for just 28 indulged guests at one time, Orpheus truly epitomizes service and luxury. Located just a 30 minute scenic flight from Townsville or a 90 minute flight from Cairns, the picture perfect luxury hideaway stretches across 11km of immaculate turquoise coastline, and comprises a pristine National Park and surrounding World Heritage-listed Marine Park. With its unique location, Orpheus has access to the largest range of activities set amongst some of the most preserved areas of the reef. You will not be short of things to see and do on and around the island. The ultimate culinary escape is a foodies paradise. The Orpheus rate is all inclusive of artfully prepared gourmet meals tailored to your individual taste, selected Australia wines and beers, as well as unlimited use of the islands kayaks, stand up paddleboards, catamarans, motorised dinghies, and snorkeling equipment. Perfect as a holiday destination, a picturesque wedding setting, or booked in its entirety for exclusive use, Orpheus is a secret to the outside world and offers guests the ultimate tropical haven. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Orpheus Island Hotel Orpheus Island
Orpheus Island Resort All Inclusive

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