Hello / Hayman Welcome back / In partnership with Hayman Island / Inter Continental / By Madelin Tomelty /
LUXURY TRAVEL MAG
With a two-year, $135 million investment and the world’s biggest hotel brand behind it, Hayman Island is finally back where it belongs – firmly on our radar for a tropical island escape that’s not too far from home
Hayman Island has just opened its sustainable wooden doors to guests for the first time under the InterContinental name – and thank goodness for that. It’s been two years since the private island closed to the public after copping a battering from Tropical Cyclone Debbie, and the iconic island’s reawakening has been hotly anticipated ever since.
The island has seen many guises in the decades since it was first acquired by Australian aviation pioneer Regnald Ansett more than 70 years ago for 10,000 pounds. And since the news emerged that InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) would be taking over management of the private island resort from One&Only, suspense has been steadily building, with little more than a handful of select teaser images released to the public – in newspapers, magazines, websites and even on buses – in the lead-up to its 1st July opening.
Even the handful of media lucky enough to attend last month’s exclusive preview – Luxury Travel included – weren’t allowed to see the restaurants, rooms or facilities, and photo-snapping was strictly off-limits.
Now with the resort finally open, the question on everyone’s lips is, what is Hayman Island by InterContinental like, and will the private island once again stake its claim as an icon of the Australian luxury hotel scene?
“Hayman Island … created a new benchmark for the Australian market upon opening and our investment of $135 million to reposition and relaunch Hayman will create a new standard for luxury resort travel in the region.”
Tucked at the northernmost point of the Whitsundays close to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island possesses immense natural beauty, and its its private island status has long been a glamorous drawcard.
It is also home to one the largest swimming pools in the southern hemisphere, spanning the length of seven Olympic-size pools and comprising both a saltwater pool and a surrounding fresh water pool… with a bar in the centre, naturally.
There’s been a lot of build-up to the resort opening, and a lot of talk about “Immersive Luxury” – a timely focus given the modern luxury traveller’s new focus on unique, original and memorable travel experiences.
Mark Eletr, General Manager for Hayman Island by InterContinental says that a meaningful connection to the island’s surrounds is at the heart of the resort’s activities. From diving excursions to one of the seven wonders of the world to guided tropical hikes across the island, guests are encouraged to explore at their own pace.
“It was important for us to identify ways for guests to experience real immersive luxury from the moment the doors opened; that is, experiences and activities that will leave them feeling connected, transformed and fulfilled. ‘Immersive luxury’ means more than how we interact with our guests or what thread-count the sheets are: it is about redefining how our guests can interact in meaningful ways with the surrounds.”