When the entrepreneur Reg Ansett, of defunct Ansett Airways fame, chose Hayman Island as a place for a resort in the 1940s, he began a process that would enshrine the Whitsundays jewel in the hearts of holidaying Australians as the quintessential tropical paradise.
A couple of incarnations later, and Hayman has just reopened as the quintessential luxury resort, ticking all the boxes of glamour, exclusivity and barefoot chic.
Now managed by InterContinental Hotels Group, Hayman has undergone a $135 million refurbishment, with DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, all contributing to the reinvention of the property into a 166-room private resort approached via luxury catamaran, helicopter or seaplane. Now called Hayman Island by Intercontinental, it has three wings of rooms, suites and villas all positioned to give views of the Coral Sea.
Sure to be a celebrity magnet is the new, 400-square-metre Hayman Beach House, fronting Hayman Beach. It comprises three suites with their own plunge pools, master en suite and oversized bathtub plus open-plan dining and living, private sun loungers and direct beach access.
The resort has five restaurants and bars including Pacific for the breakfast buffet and Bar Fifty with a 1950s vibe, the place for sundowner cocktails. An Italian pizzeria, poolside dining and an Asian restaurant round out the options.
As Hayman is the closest private island to the Great Barrier Reef, resort activities naturally focus on accessing its wonders: diving excursions, turtle-swimming adventures and helicopter tours of the Whitsundays are just some of the offerings.The Planet Trekkers kids' club has a program that includes fun sessions learning about the Great Barrier Reef, junior meditation classes and coral planting activities, the latter being part of the resort's commitment to conservation of and education about the ecosystem in which it exists.
Rooms at InterContinental Hayman Island by InterContinental start from $750 a night.