When I was tasked with finding suitable accommodation for our family trip to the beautiful Hamilton Island for 9 adults and 5 kids I had some serious searching to do. We had a brothers 21st, a fathers 61st and mums 60th birthday to celebrate all in one week so there were plenty of perfect excuses for an impromptu holiday!
There is plenty of accommodation options on the Island and Gianni knows them like the back of his hand as he and his family used to holiday here almost every year when he was younger (and I am keen to make a habit of that too). With such a large group though and with lots of kiddies we needed something particular. I came across ‘The Round House’ on Luxury Holidays and was instantly sold. Us Australians like to keep things simple and that means keeping things literal. We call a spade a spade, call the great big reef in our ocean the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Sandy Dessert, heck we even named this state the ‘Queens-Land’. It’s no surprise then that the owners of this architectural beauty named it ‘The Round House’, although, I think it is only fair that it should have a 'Great' somewhere in that name too.
For those of you who haven’t been to Hamilton before; it may come as a surprise to you that part of its charm is that there are no cars to hire on the island, you can only drive golf buggies! Fortunately the Round House had two luxury 4 seater buggies included and a garage big enough to fit the other two we need to cart us all around!
We arrived by buggy along with our airport transfer full of luggage to the circular driveway of the Round House. To grand; no, great, wooden front doors and huge ceilings that opened (yes, the ceiling opened as well) to reveal an amazing and unexpected mini rainforest paradise which was the central hub connecting all of the upstairs living areas. Each with their very own amazing views of the gorgeous scenery there spanned four bedrooms, complete with air-conditioning and their very own ensuites (because even with family you need your privacy!). The master bedroom was seriously fit for royalty with a four poster king size bed, 5m ceilings, walk-in robe with bar fridge and a rainfall showerhead perched above a spa bath that we probably all could have hopped in at once (it was seriously big).
The main living area upstairs overlooks the open plan living downstairs which practically gives you floor-to-ceiling panoramic breathtaking views over Catseye Beach and the beautiful blue and green horizon of the Whitsundays. Downstairs there was a giant dining table (lucky because us europeans really like our food) which we often filled with a home cooked BBQ/fresh seafood banquet or an old fashioned Italian carb overload. Beside it is the kids hideaway; an entertainment room with four couches that looked more like a cinema and certainly was treated like one! The house is fully wheelchair accessible too with a built in lift and ramp.
The large kitchen and island bench was big enough to handle everyone’s recipes and overlooked the masterpiece of the entire Round House; the infinity pool. The little diving deck, rock cave, waterfall and kids splash area made all of the resort pools on the island literally redundant! The kids worked up an appetite swimming for hours on end every single day and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it just as much they did (albeit from above, floating around on my very cliche inflatable pink Flamingo).
It was thumbs up from everyone including the children for our house selection; comfortable, fun, affordable and big enough so that we weren’t all stepping on each other’s toes! It was like having our own little private resort on the island; a slice of paradise you really must try for yourself.
Hamilton Island has plenty of different food options for families both casual and formal. In the 7 days of our stay we had cooked at home a bit and pretty much tried them all either for lunch or dinner. Hands-down the favourite was the exclusive Bommie Restaurant at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club. I learnt from experience last time to book in early as these tables are highly sought after real estate, much like the rest of the island! We went with a party of four because the restaurant doesn’t allow children under 12, which is a shame because I would love to see how executive chef would recreate the usual chicken nuggets kids meals, but it does certainly make for a much more intimate and exclusive ambience!
Before heading in though we started firstly with some seriously refreshing pre-dinner cocktails at the iconic Yacht Club Bar; frozen daquiris of tropical fruits that help to soothe the burn of the boiling sun as we watched its rays slowly set behind us. Feeling rejuvinated we ventured in to our table with an amazing view of the marina and were greeted with a tasting menu by the executive chef Trent Dawson. With 12 amazing sounding courses we were hesitant but decided to go a-la-carte to try to avoid gorging (have to think of that bikini body tomorrow). We skipped entrees and went straight to the mains but even that couldn't stop us from over-eating.
After a beautiful delicate amuse bouche of tom yum spiced tuna ceviche with a kimchi gel and caviar that got the taste buds tingling there was delicious house baked sourdough bread I already began filling up on (I just can’t help myself). Our mains arrived soon after though, absolutely perfect lamb fillet you could slice like butter, with a burnt carrot puree and beetroot. Couldn't believe it was a gluten free coeliac dish! A delicate snapper fillet atop spring vegetables, pumpkin, baby carrot and zucchini with the miso lathered eel on the side a real stand out. Tender cooked pink beef fillet with earthy eggplant and a hazelnut romesco sent from above. Finally, a red emperor fish fillet lightly dusted and cooked in tapioca flour to lock in the moisture, with an intricate arrangement of pickled vegetable and salad. This was not just food to fill the stomach. The artistic plating arrangements made the ingredients pop and made each dish feel like it was reading you a little background story of where the main piece of protein came from.
We thought we had been mildly good, so we ordered two desserts to share, little did I know there was a ‘pre-dessert’ that was coming… little mason jars filled with a liquid gold passionfruit mousse, strawberry powder, merinque and fresh fruit accompaniments. I would have been content just with that; until our ‘wagon wheel’ arrived, assembled with precision, featuring rich chocolate and marshmallow blobs adorned with gold flakes and cherry droplets sandwiched between decadent and equally delicious chocolate biscuits with a side of English breakfast tea icecream! When your dessert comes with a side, you know you have over done it... and then the second arrived! A coconut sorbet quenelle sat beside delicious mango curd, broken meringue, tapioca pearls and a mango jelly disc all arranged like a little yellow-brick road to a sweet-tooths heaven.
All I needed now was a nice coffee; instead I ended up with a nice coffee, some petit-fours chocolate and macaroons and, alas, a 5 cheese tasting platter! Safe to say that our golf buggy had a much harder time dragging us back home than it did on the way here. If we knew Bommie was going to be this good from the very beginning we probably would have booked in for every night!