Photo by Andrew Watson, courtesy The Reef House / Mgallery by Sofitel
The Reef House
Located in the heart of Palm Cove village in North Queensland, this one-time family home on Williams Esplanade still practices some of its old traditions, including a candle-lit “Twilight Hour,” when guests gather over complimentary glasses of the house punch. It’s a relaxing way to end what might otherwise be an activity-filled day—the concierge here can arrange for everything from hiking through the Daintree Rain Forest and canyoning off the Behana Gorge to parasailing above the Trinity Inlet and, of course, exploring the Great Barrier Reef. More laid-back activities also abound, including lounging around one of the property’s three pools, enjoying a warm seaweed wrap at the on-site spa, or dining under 300-year-old Melaleuca gum trees at the hotel restaurant. With plantation shutters, carved headboards, and wicker furniture, the 67 rooms and villas give off a plantation vibe. Keep it low-key in one of the 365-square-foot king studios, or splurge on the four-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot Villa Casablanca, which overlooks the rest of the resort and features its own plunge pool.