Luxury Rottnest Island Experiences – Holiday island transforms.
Perth, once described as “Dullsville” by Lonely Planet magazine, has rapidly transformed into one of the hottest travel destinations in the world right now.
The New York Times put the city on its “52 places to go” list for 2019. Last year CNN called Perth “one of the coolest cities” globally. And both Conde Nast Traveller and the Association of British Travel Agents listed the city in their top destination guides.
The positive coverage is desperately needed. With the local economy struggling these days, much has been invested to lure more visitors.
The city is indeed set up to capture a larger slice of the affluent international travel market, with direct flights from London with Qantas and soon, Paris.
There is also the upside of being closer travel time to Singapore than Sydney, being in the same timezone as most major Asian cities. Although, Western Australia still lacks a decent share of the China-Australia travel market, there’s plenty of opportunity to attract it.
Part of the promised new tourism equation is the recent collection of new hotels and resorts dotted across town, as well as the new sports stadiums. Billions of dollars in investment, mostly approved during the spectacular heights of the mining boom just a few years earlier.
Chic hotel rooms, swanky day spas and fancy restaurants adorn the likes of Crown Towers, Westin Perth, Como Treasury and the Ritz-Carlton Elizabeth Quay.
Perth is now a luxury tourism mecca in waiting, eagerly anticipating new business.
So what attractions are going to bring all these cashed up visitors to the west?
ROTTNEST ISLAND TRANSFORMED
Part of the story may be the two new luxury experiences just a 30-minute ferry ride off the coast, at Rottnest Island.
Rotto, as the locals love to call it, has recently become part of the Australian tourism folklore.
The quokka selfie, an online meme that developed into a global phenomenon thanks to some buzzy millennial media coverage and a smart social media celebrity push, has become a boon for the boom-bust city.
While Rotto is now known globally for it’s ultra happy marsupials, the Island has been a popular holiday playground for generations of Western Australians. Attracting thousands of day-trippers at a rapidly increasing rate, few visitors are able to stay overnight, with limited available accommodation. Until now that is.
One of Australia’s most unique resort experiences, Discovery Rottnest Island, was launched earlier this year to much local fanfare.
The eco-resort is the first of its kind here, a luxurious glamping experience taking the Rottnest overnight experience to a completely new level.
The resort mostly caters for young families, the traditional Rotto holiday demographic. Although Discovery Rottnest also is set up to attract couples, presenting a unique, romantic paradise experience.
There are 83 tents dotted across the resort, originally designed for five-star safari resorts.
These tents offer guest the perfect balance of an uber-luxury hotel stay and pristine natural surrounds, linked by raised boardwalks to limit ecological impact.
There’s also a glamorous pool, adjoining cocktail bar, a grassed area dotted with reclining chairs, bean bags and large umbrellas; The perfect spot to sit back enjoy a cocktail and take in the famous sinking Indian Ocean sun.
The resort hosts Pinky’s Beach Club, a bar open to the visiting public for service and a restaurant hosting the best meals this side of Gage Roads.
HOLIDAY LIKE A HEMSWORTH
The resort is going to be a school holiday family favourite for years to come.
In fact, some of Hollywood’s most famous celeb families have already checked in. Chris and his wife Elsa Pataky and three children stayed a night, with Matt Damon and family visiting the day after.
According to a well placed source, the Hemsworth family stayed in a hidden Superior Family Tent — No.15 — in what shall now be referred to as the Hemsworth suite.
A NIGHT AT THE RESORT: TENT NUMBER 5
Dotted atop the sand dunes — a short stroll away from the main resort and beyond the beach club and pool — an exclusive line-up of tents. These are Discovery’s Deluxe Dune tents, some with views of postcard adoring Pinky’s beach, others host vast and sweeping Ocean views.
This part of the resort is extremely Insta worthy, with direct views from your king sized bed to the water. There’s few places like this anywhere in the world.
Already the most in-demand tent at the resort, it has direct access to a pathway leading directly down to Pinky’s Beach, almost as if it was your private route to the iconic beach.
This deluxe tent includes an ensuite, his and hers vanity, a shower with beach views, walk in robe, study area, a lounge, fully equipped kitchen and bar fridge. There’s a large deck with a weber barbecue, outdoor couch and dining table.
At dusk, as the sun sinks and the weather cools, it’s pure bliss at No.5. Quokkas quietly hop in the dunes below and the westerly swells gently break over the reef just beyond the shore.
Discovery Parks Rottnest Island.
The crashing ocean sounds, the wind calm, the sky full of the brightest stars of the Milky Way, the blinking lighthouse just over the hill, the moonlight dancing off the water. This place is something else.
The morning was just as spectacular. If you leave the tent blinds up, you may be woken by the breaking of the day. And the early morning wake up call was worth it.
A stunning sunrise to rival the best sunset, bright pink and orange colours darting the sky.
After a relaxed laze on the deck with fresh fruits and coffee for breakfast, we took a darning morning dip in the pristine, calm waters below. It was surprisingly warm and refreshing.
This was the perfect start to the day, before a morning bike ride around the island to discovering more crystal clear, turquoise bays, pristine white beaches, a few quokka selfies along the way, and onto a special new “Ocean to Plate” experience.
Views for days at Rottnest Island.
THE ULTIMATE LUXURY SEAFOOD EXPERIENCE
Besides the happy Quokka, it doesn’t get more Rotto than a catch and feast of local Western Rock Lobster.
Every day from 11am, Rottnest Cruises Wild Seafood Experience leaves Thompsons Bay with a boat full of hopeful lobster lovers, for a three-hour cruise like no other. The sun-shining, the water sparkling like blue crystal, the way only Western Australian waters seem to, this tour is billed as an incredible seafood extravaganza.
Guests will gain an appreciate Western Australia’s high-demand, international western rock lobster market, one of the world’s most valuable seafood products and the first ecologically sustainable seafood industry.
On board, select guests are invited to don gloves, pull up one of the half-dozen “cray pots” set by the crew the day before, pick up the kicking lobster catch for an informed inspection and a prized lobster selfie.
Seafood platter? Don’t mind if I do.
After the catch, the boat anchors in a bay away from the ocean swell, as the crew below get to work preparing lunch.
A beautifully laid out long table is put together, with wine and sparkling flowing.
The first course is an incredible seafood platter. Fresh oysters, Mandurah blue manna crabs, northwest king prawns, marinated octopus, barramundi and salmon all on the menu.
The main course — fresh lobster barbecued on board, cooked with a touch of garlic and lemon juice. An absolutely blissful meal for seafood lovers.
The experience is sure to attract many in the high-end Asian travel segment, looking to show off to friends and relatives back home. After all, western rock lobster can fetch $90 per kilogram or more at a restaurant in Singapore or Shanghai.
The best is yet to come.
The poker chips on the table for Rottnest are vast, with millions set to be invested to drive even more luxury travel seekers to Perth and on to the island.
The old Hotel Rottnest is set to nearly double in size, with exploration underway for the possibility for other accommodation opportunities elsewhere on the island that spans 19km square in size.
The popularity of the quokka has been big business for WA. The island is on track for 800,000 visitors per year by the 2020s, well ahead of what authorities bad previously planned and that figure may actually swell beyond that.
Thanks to the social media age, the island is set to become one of the most enduringly popular drawcards, not just for Western Australia, but for the entire nation. Welcome news for a city struggling with post-mining boom blues.
The writer was a guest of Rottnest Discovery Resort and Rottnest Cruises’ Wild Seafood Experience.