When you think of a romantic tropical island getaway, you envision pristine sand, glistening ocean and a bounty full of sunshine. You picture a haven where swimming with sea turtles and humpback whales is a recreational activity and a beach all to yourself is considered obligatory.
If a getaway with your partner is on your mind, be it of the kids-free kind or one sans any technological devices, the islands off the coast of Australia are a prime destination. Set amid the World Heritage Site of the Great Barrier Reef, these three private playgrounds will send you to your very own paradise.
Lizard Island Resort, Lizard Island
Tucked away in the northernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island evokes relaxation, seclusion, romance and tranquillity. The high-end barefoot paradise is beloved by celebrities such as Kate Hudson for its remoteness. You will be forced to unplug, thanks to its no-Wi-Fi, no-TV and no-phone-reception policy. But with 24 white sandy beaches to discover and accommodations for only 39 other couples, who really needs cable?
A sanctuary of understated luxury, the Scandinavian-style Anchor Bay Suite gives you direct access to the powdery beach, ideal for that moonlit stroll with your loved one. But it’s really the thoughtful touches to your indoor-outdoor room that top off the experience: a complimentary jar of housemade cookies, an aromatherapy oil burner, calming meditative music coming from the Bose sound system and a sizeable wooden deck.
If you tire of looking at the boundless horizon over the ocean or floating in the turquoise-hued water, head out to snorkel at Cod Hole, one of the top dive sites in the world.
Qualia, Hamilton Island
This resort serves up a cocktail of luxury, glamour and kids-free silence to honeymooners and celebrities such as Oprah and designer Donna Karan. But once you enter its big brown doors, don’t expect to see fellow guests; the resort becomes your own sanctuary.
Beyond a sense of seclusion, this architecturally striking property provides a deep sensory experience through its 60 one-bedroom pavilions, all of which strategically face the Coral Sea. The openness of the rooms cannot be escaped — the ventilated panels and the combination of polished timber (flooring, entertainment center) and stone (bathroom) complement the rainforest surroundings. So attuned with nature is the property that you might find a wallaby on your doorstep as you head out for a private sunset dinner cruise.
Hayman’s history goes back to the 1950s, when the island was a popular destination among wealthy Australian families. Today, it offers a new style of distinctively Australian casual elegance — the hotel has joined the One&Only family of properties, and will close for further enhancements from January 15 to March 31, 2014 — with hints of vintage luxury.
An hour-long boat ride from Hamilton Island, Hayman is bespoke paradise — you can either follow its itinerary or create your own. As you’re ushered into your Beach Villa, the vista of sun-speckled water and swaying palm trees overhead will dazzle. And if that does happen, just set afloat in your private heated pool. As you drift, you’ll also notice the glorious panorama of the beach — the sand is only about a five-second walk from your bed.
Even though the resort welcomes children, and has 210 bedrooms, seven restaurants and lounges, a dedicated sports area, spa and a convenience store, there is still a sense of solitude. If you choose a beach house, beach villa or penthouse, a private butler will pamper you from the second you set foot on the island until the moment you leave its shores.
Photos Courtesy of Hayman Island, Lizard Island and Qualia