The Ville Resort-Casino review, Townsville, Queenland: Serious retro vibes and a swim-up bar

The Place

The Ville Resort-Casino

The Location

On the edge of the Townsville breakwater and overlooking Magnetic Island, the marina and Townsville CBD, The Ville is also framed by Castle Hill, a craggy ochre coloured cliff face behind the town, and Mount Stewart mountain range in the background. Just over Magnetic Island is the Great Barrier Reef (where you can take snorkelling or diving trips to). To the north, Orpheus and Hinchinbrook Islands, and to the south, the Whitsundays.

The Space

Formerly the iconic Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino, the hotel underwent a $43 million renovation and reopened as The Ville in mid-2017. With 194 rooms, plus six restaurants and bars including exclusive Chinese restaurant, Miss Songs, the Quarterdeck bar overlooking the ocean, and the casino towards the hotel's entrance, The Ville has become a serious social hub for locals.

The resort has an enviable position between the marina and Magnetic Island, overlooking an infinity pool with a swim-up bar and cabanas for hire that scream "Instagram me". Inside, the fashion-forward hotel is dotted with tropical plants all southern Australians enviously eye off. Eye-popping tropical colours are splashed on cushions and wall features, inducing serious retro vibes.

The Room

I'm in a resort king room that's flanked by views of Townsville to one side, and Magnetic Island to the other. The suites are large and filled with natural light, with a king bed in the bedroom one end, spacious bathroom with separate spa bath in the middle, and loungeroom, desk and full mini bar filled with ice-cold drinks on the Island side. A small private balcony sits on the Townsville side, overlooking the marina. There's a lot of bang for your buck in these suites, which feel more like a one-bedroom apartment. Striking, tropical green foliage decorate the carpets, and their rest of the colour scheme is white and pine.

The Food

It pays to make a booking for Miss Song's, which offers a new take on classic Chinese dishes such as lemon chicken and Singaporean chilli prawns. At buzzing Quarterdeck you'll find pub-style food, including excellent pizzas, in a casual setting, or you can take it away to your room if it gets too rowdy. Across the board, there's a nice variety of South Australian and Victorian wines, plus cocktails you can enjoy at the poolside Splash Bar. A breakfast buffet is served at the Palm House, an open-air, breezy and busy smorgasbord located on the ground floor of the hotel.

The Service

While service is not up to the standard of a five-star luxury hotel in the city, it's friendly and helpful and welcoming under pressure, which appears to be constant during the busy Christmas season. I order breakfast to my room for an early start and it arrives promptly at 6am. The basic internet service can be a little sluggish, so business guests – or parents – might need to upgrade.

Stepping Out

It's a three-minute walk to the Sealink ferry terminal for Magnetic Island, and a 10-15 minute walk into Flinders Street, which is where you'll find the shopping, restaurants and nightlife, and on Sunday mornings, a pleasant market. The Strand begins near the hotel and extends along Townsville's coast. Along the way you can take your pick of public pools for swimming. The Strand makes for a pleasant bike ride, and you can borrow nice cruising bikes from the hotel.

The Verdict

With newly renovated rooms in a beautiful location for an excellent price, this is an enticing weekend option for city-slickers.

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Essentials

Rooms priced from $155 a night, with resort king rooms from $195 a night. Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Townsville City QLD 4810. Phone: (07) 4722 2333; the-ville.com.au

Highlight

The rooms, the location, the Splash Bar.

Lowlight

Service at Miss Song's is super-friendly, but could be a little snappier for an upmarket restaurant.

See also: This bargain island paradise is Australia's best day out

See also: Dream destinations - Australia's 20 best islands

 

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