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Reef House Resort & Spa, Palm Cove review


Dreaming of a Palm Cove getaway conjures up thoughts of lazy days, palm trees, balmy nights and cool cocktails preferably with an umbrella propped perkily on top. A stay at Reef House Palm Cove is all this and more.

Palm Cove in Tropical North Queensland is easily accessible, just 30 minutes drive from Cairns Airport, but manages to feel a million miles away. Time seems to stand still in this resort town, where the big decisions of the day might be gelati or Margarita?

Entering the Colonial plantation style of The Reef House Resort instantly makes you feel relaxed. Breathe out, shoulders down, shoes off....bliss


The history of the Reef House is intriguing and embraced by the current management team. Originally built in 1958 by a Cairns bookmaker and used as a family home, it was then purchased in 1970 by a syndicate who opened a restaurant and limited accommodation of three suites in the garden.

In 1972, Brigadier The Hon. David Thomson acquired the property and began operating 'Reef House' as a private residence with visitors treated as personal guests. Some of the Brigadier's special touches remain today; guests can borrow bikes, books from the library or borrow fishing rods for a spot of angling.


Back then, guests helped themselves to drinks from the bar with an honesty system that still prevails today in The Brigadier's Bar. Also continuing with tradition, each evening candles are lit throughout the resort denoting Twilight Hour, where guests are invited to meet and mingle poolside for complimentary canapés and a glass of Brigadier's Punch. During our stay, guests happily chat about their travels and share stories, creating a relaxed atmosphere, which you don't normally encounter in a traditional beachside resort, it's a far more personal experience.

I am delighted to find my room is positioned right opposite the beach. The room is light & breezy, with a balcony overlooking the comings & goings of the resort entrance and the beach beyond. The one bedroom ocean view suite has a spacious lounge room; separate bedroom with romantic netting surrounding the bed (doubling to keep the mozzies out if needed) and is decorated simply by white wash walls and nautical blue furnishings. The bathroom features Appelles amenities and the rooms are serviced daily. Despite its boutique feel, the resort actually has 69 rooms with a choice of room types, but it's hard to go past an ocean view!


The resort is made up of a number of white wash buildings overlooking three pools and 2 spas framed by shaded pathways and tropical gardens, restaurant overlooking the beachfront and day spa.

No stay is complete without a visit to the Reef House Spa. Recently refurbished, you're greeted with a cool refreshing towel, chilled water and fruit - the perfect arrival in the tropics! The spa menu is extensive and uses Australian brand Waterlily as its in-house products. It's really a heavenly way to start a relaxing break.


There are plenty of restaurant choices along the strip, but it's worth lazily dining in at Reef House. Start your night by enjoying cocktails on the deck under the beautiful 300 year old Melaluka trees overlooking the Coral Sea. The restaurant offers a seasonal la carte menu or opt for the Chef's Tasting menu, 5 courses for $99 or $149 with matched wine if you're celebrating a special occasion. We enjoyed the Sea Salt & Pepper Calamari, wasabi mayonnaise, fresh herbs which were perfect with a glass of bubbles on a balmy night, followed by Roast Chicken Supreme, potato gratin, prosciutto beans, rocket & jus.

Don't you just find you always sleep better after breathing in the sea air and sleeping to the sound of waves? It's true of our peaceful night at Reef House too. Breakfast is included in your stay, so don't miss the buffet at Reef House which is well stocked in tropical style with yoghurt and seasonal berries, muesli, seasonal fruit and traditional continental fare.


Spend your days lazing by the pool or beach and browsing the boutiques along the strip. New addition to Palm Cove scene is Jack & Shanan's Gelateria & Creperie for some indulgent desserts. The team at Reef House can also look after you by arranging tours if you're keen to explore the Great Barrier Reef or Daintree.

A stay at Reef House is a holiday experience where you feel more like a personal guest of the Brigadier. Its all part of the casual elegance and colonial charm of a bygone era that provide a warm welcome and memorable stay at the Reef House boutique hotel.

Reef House Palm Cove

99 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

Rooms from $249 per night. Book online at alluxia with best rate guarantee, no booking fees and no credit card fees.

Have you holidayed in Palm Cove recently? Comment with your travel tips or ask us any questions about Reef Resort or Palm Cove!

The writer was a guest of Reef House Palm Cove
Image credit: IG @vivopalmcove, IG @alluxia

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