New resort and residential development planned for Hamilton Island

Stephen TaylorJuly 31, 20130 min read

An even more opulent resort and residential development is being planned for Hamilton Island in moves designed to thwart looming competition from Lindeman Island's new Chinese owners.

The Whitsunday island’s owners, the Oatley family, are considering building another five-star qualia resort as well as a 200-house development and a hotel around Dent Island's 18-hole golf course, The Australian reports.

The course was designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thompson.

Executive chairman Sandy Oatley says the existing qualia is starting to get ‘’very high’’ occupancy rates and the family is looking at future expansion.

"We are waiting to see when Lindeman Island's (redevelopment) happens and (what is happening at Mulpha's) Hayman Island. We are quite keen for the region to move forward because it's a great spot in Australia and we love it and we are proud to be there," he said.

Voted ‘Best Resort in the World’ in the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, qualia’s prices reflect its stature. Its Leeward rooms cost $975 per night, Windward rooms $1550 per night and Beach House $3650 per night

The Oatleys bought the Whitsunday Island for $200 million in 2003 and have spent about $350 million redeveloping it. It’s now said to be Australia’s largest tourist resort.

The redevelopment will be a shot in the arm for the $95 billion tourism industry.

Oatley suggests the next five-star qualia resort on Hamilton would have its own flavour. Unlike the existing 60-suite qualia, he says options for the new resort might include putting out the welcome mat for children, or creating a two- or three-bedroom luxury apartment complex.

The existing qualia has a beach house, which is a bigger version with the double room and bigger pool. It might be some of those sorts of things, he says.

With infrastructure and electricity already established at Dent Island, Oatley says the family might opt to develop there. He says part of a development application to get the golf course approved includes a hotel and 200 home sites on the island. ‘’More buoyant’’ economic conditions would encourage holiday investment.

If the 200-lot development on Dent Island proceeds, it’s believed individual houses would be sold to private owners and put into a real estate ‘letting pool’.

Holidaying around a golf course would appeal to a different group of visitors, Oatley believes. They would enjoy the island’s tranquillity and proximity to Hamilton Island.

It’s reported the Oatleys, and patriarch Bob, sold their Rosemount Estate wine business to Southcorp for $1.5 billion in 2001. Four years later they sold their 18.8% stake in Southcorp for $584 million.

‘’We are thinking about the next five years, thinking about what we will do with new attractions and amenities for the guests, and our usual refurbishing (program),’’ he told News Ltd.

Dent Island’s par 71 championship course was designed by champion golfer Peter Thomson, and features two distinctly different nine-hole circuits. Encircled by panoramic vistas of blue Coral Sea and shimmering Whitsunday Islands, the course is designed to challenge professionals and satisfy resort golfers.

Oh, and that word ‘qualia’? It’s Latin for "a collection of deeper sensory experiences".

Stephen Taylor

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Find out more in our privacy policy.
Accept Cookies