Hamilton Island’s $30m family-friendly boutique hotel: ‘In the pool with the kids 30 minutes after landing’

Hamilton Island’s $30m family-friendly boutique hotel: ‘In the pool with the kids 30 minutes after landing’

Traditionally, luxury and family-friendly have sat at polar ends of the travel experience. Whilst luxury hotels are known for their opulence, style and, well, peace… family-friendly resorts are known for being a little more chaotic.

Yet despite the perceived chasm between the two markets, demand for family-friendly luxury hotels is sky-high, Michael Branagh, GM sales and marketing for Hamilton Island told Travel Weekly.

Michael Branagh.

“Something we hear a lot from the premium segment of the market – who enjoy the likes of [luxury Hamilton Island resorts] Beach Club and Qualia – is that ‘It would be great if you had something like this for families’.

“If we could find a sweet spot of a luxury proposition for families then there’s a really strong opportunity in that.”

And so The Sundays was born!

Hamilton Island’s new boutique hotel in the heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was created with families in mind and is located at the northern end of palm-fringed Catseye Beach. The Sundays offers 59 rooms thoughtfully designed to capture the essence of Hamilton Island’s tropical surroundings, plus suit family stays.

An impression of the restaurant and bar at The Sundays.

Guestrooms offer kid-friendly features such as interconnecting rooms and private cabanas around a pool, for the exclusive use of guests. There’s also a waters-edge restaurant and bar offering al fresco dining with views of the aquatic playground that is Catseye Bay.

The project, estimated at more than $30 million is on top of the $400 million the Oatley family, of Wild Oats wine and Sydney-Hobart yacht race fame, has invested in improving the guest experience on Hamilton Island since acquiring the island in 2003.

The famous Heart Island. Image: Adam Rikys

The hotel’s tropical appeal means that as well as drawing in families that might usually holiday in other Queensland locations – such as the Gold Coast and Port Douglas – it will also pull in visitors who usually prefer the likes of Bali, Thailand and Fiji, Branagh said.

Given Hamilton Island has direct access to big cities on the Australia’s east coast – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – families will be able to get there in 2-3 hours, without the hassle of international travel.

“You can be in the pool, swimming with the kids within 30 minutes of landing,” Branagh said.

A render of a room in The Sundays.

Sundays not too far away

In terms of activities The Sundays offers guests – aside from the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and White Haven – Branagh was tight-lipped.

“We haven’t finalised all of the inclusions and all of the experiences that will go alongside The Sundays yet,” he said. “It’s very much something that we’re working on at present.”

As well as drawing in Aussie families, The Sundays is also gaining the interest of international travellers who also have a strong appetite for family-friendly trips, Branagh noted.

“The North American market sees a really good opportunity for us with this new product as to some of the Southeast Asian and North Asian markets too.”

Hamilton Island is already family friendly.

Since publicly launching the proposition, The Sundays has helped Hamilton Island regain the attention of buyers.

“The feedback we’ve received so far around the Sunday’s proposition is that it has piqued interest in Hamilton Island, again, from both partners we’ve dealt with for a long time but also new partners as well,” Branagh said.

“To be true, we haven’t had a lot of a lot of new in recent years. We’ve told a very strong and very familiar story about Hamilton Island so it’s nice to have some new news, which has really caught the attention of the markets.”

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