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.
- 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