Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas (formerly Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa)
You can't get much closer to Noosa's 4000-hectare national park, or Queensland's first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, than this eco-conscious, architect-designed resort, which opened in July 2010. Sprawling up a rainforested hillside, it offers serenity and seclusion just a five-minute stroll or courtesy buggy ride from Hastings Street and the beach.
A surfboard at reception reminds you of Noosa's surfing roots, otherwise the resort's 198 self-contained apartments, villas and penthouses in grey-toned four-storey blocks look more inner-city than beachy. The surrounding greenery and three swimming pools (including a sublime saltwater lap pool) soften the look and sustainability is a clear focus, from the resort's passive solar design and extensive reforestation of the site, to biodegradable bathroom products and energy-efficient lighting. The in-house spa, Stephanie's, has luxe-sounding treatments such as vinotherapy wine bath immersions and raindrop detoxes.
My one-bedroom apartment has an earthy décor and an all-green view from the balcony of Noosa National Park. There's a split king-size bed, a walk-in wardrobe and a small, wall-mounted TV; the living room has a larger TV (both have cable channels), a stereo and a DVD player (DVDs are available from the resort shop for $5 a night), and a kitchenette at one end, thoughtfully kitted out with filtered drinking water on tap, a gas stove, a dishwasher, even a coffee plunger (more eco-friendly than an espresso machine with disposable pods, but you'll need to BYO coffee). The huge bathroom has two showerheads, a hairdryer, Zambeli sustainable toiletries scented with wattle and lemon myrtle, and a washing machine and dryer. There's air-conditioning, but also ceiling fans, sliding glass doors and louvres for natural ventilation. And, hallelujah, free and fast Wi-Fi throughout the resort.
The service is five-star and Sunshine Coast-friendly from the moment I check-in at 11am and find my "room" ready. It feels like a home-away-from-home, luxury apartment living with hotel touches such as room service and daily housekeeping. The green surroundings (no neighbouring homes or holiday apartments are visible from the resort) remind you of Noosa's natural side; I wake the next morning to birdsong and rainbow lorikeets speeding past my balcony.
View on Little Hastings, the resort's high-ceilinged, industrial-chic restaurant, is one of Noosa's premier dining venues and features local, seasonal produce from the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Mooloolaba, Hervey Bay and Queensland's Moya Valley. Its open-air ocean views between the bunya pines also make it the perfect spot for a sundowner, perhaps a Double Island Iced Tea or Mango Margarita. The superb buffet breakfast includes pastries and yoghurt made in-house, fresh fruit, cooked offerings and espresso coffees made to order. I order room service one night and my barramundi, chips and salad comes in a biodegradable cardboard container with corn-starch cutlery, an original touch but it might be more eco to provide re-usable plates and cutlery.
A short rainforest walk down the hill brings you to Hastings Street where you can café-hop (try Café le Monde, 10 Hastings or Aromas with its French-style cane chairs facing the footpath), take in casual chic boutiques from Kookai to Pain de Sucre, and have a beachfront bite to eat at Bistro C, Sails or Berardo's, or catch the historic ferry upriver to Noosa Boathouse floating restaurant.
Make the most of Noosa's natural surrounds by walking the famous coastal track through the national park, surfing the famous point break (Tropicsurf has a shopfront in the resort and offers lessons and five-star surfaris, see tropicsurf.net), taking a moonlit gondola cruise on the canals of Noosa Sound (gondolasofnoosa.com) or exploring Noosa Everglades on a wilderness tour (thediscoverygroup.com). The resort also has electric bikes for rent.
This resort promises, and delivers, luxury apartment living with five-star hotel service and amenities in an environmentally sustainable package in sync with its natural, national park setting. Five green stars.
Noosa is on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, 45km north of Maroochydore airport and 160km north of Brisbane.
Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas is on Little Hastings Street, Noosa, with its main entrance at 33a Viewland Drive. One-bedroom apartments start at $249 a night including breakfast. See www.peppers.com.au/noosa for bookings from July 1..
Footnote: Following the recent acquisition by Mantra Group, Outrigger's four Australian properties (the others are in Coolangatta, Surfers Paradise and Airlie Beach) will be re-branded effective from June. Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa will be rebranded to Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas in July.
The writer was a guest of Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas.