Member Postcards

A Second Honeymoon

Indagare member M. V. just got back from a second honeymoon in Australia with her husband. She sent us this postcard.Lizard Island

was an amazing and unique experience. The owner/manager came to greet every guest at arrival and the staff overall was well-trained and friendly. Everyone at the resort was raving about the food for good reason—it was very refined and balanced. The activities available were really special. We took a fun day trip with a group to the Outer Reef to snorkel. All the staff organizing this trip were managed by the resort which made the experience seamless. We also had our own “Robinson Crusoe” experience when the staff gave us a little boat to take a to a private part of the island and prepared a special picnic for us. Every day you could stroll down the beach and snorkel in the reef just off the shore. The bathrooms in the rooms had just been renovated and felt very spa-like, but the rest of the rooms, while clean and fine, gave away that they hadn’t been updated since the 1970s. My only complaint was that the return charter flights weren’t as organized as they could have been: three couples flying back to Cairns at the same time could have flown together, but the resort had booked three separate planes.

Longitude 131 at Ayres Rock is a unique property. The tents are an experience in and of themselves and the common spaces are also well-designed. But for the price, the service was sub-par. The staff was not trained well enough; it felt like a bunch of recent college grads were trying to figure out how to serve clients best. This lack of service was an anomaly in our Australia experience. The activities were all done as a group in a tour-bus style. The lack of customization and personalization felt more like a mid-range Club Med rather than high-end luxury. Additionally, some of the tour staff was simply not engaging. One couple we met at the camp came back from one of the outings and said ‘I can’t listen to one more word out of that guy’s mouth.’ I understand some of the tours have to be done in a group but they should offer at least one private guided tour, have better tour guides and curate their schedule in a smarter way. A lovely experience however was dinner under the stars one night and I am so happy we got to see the different landscapes. I would still recommend this trip to people for a day and a half; if they did something about the staff the destination would vastly improve because the hard assets are there. Being in the countryside made a nice balance to our trip, after the beach and before the city.

We could tell the Intercontinental Sydney is an institution with a heritage of great service, an engaging and helpful concierge and good rooms. We took the ferry to Manly Beach and spent a day cycling to the top of the rock, having an awesome lunch at Hugo’s, which apparently won the best pizza in the world competition, and strolling through the town. It was such a happy day. On another night, we climbed the Harbour Bridge which was a unique and unforgettable experience—everyone should do this when they go to Sydney. Our dinners and overall food experience was great—I did not realize Australians were such foodies! For a trip to the Blue Mountains, we used Indagare’s recommended tour guide who was really engaging, knowledgeable and quick-on-his-feet to turn around our day when the weather changed.

Published onMay 18, 2013

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