In the heart of the Queensland tropics sits a town recently ravished by Mother Nature’s forces. Only a matter of weeks ago, floodwaters left sunny Townsville underwater and unrecognisable. The usual turquoise skies turned dark grey, homes and memories were washed away and – tragically – precious lives were lost.
Because of this, holidaying in Townsville felt bittersweet. While the raw emotion of utter devastation is still alive, I felt the town deserved, more than ever, to be put on the map again. Although Townsville may not be a top-of-mind destination for luxury holiday seekers, the town is home to one of Australia’s most deluxe resorts – The Ville Resort and Casino. Recently having undergone a transformative $43 million redevelopment, The Ville showcases unbelievable views of Magnetic Island and the Coral Sea and boasts world-class interiors for the ultimate resort feel.
I was welcomed to The Ville on a cloudy Friday afternoon with 90-something-percent humidity in the air. The resort’s paradiso décor and genuine greetings from the friendly staff instantly transported me worlds away to a tropical nirvana. It was almost hard to believe I had only spent two hours on a plane to get here, and who could blame me? My thoughts about luxury destinations were typically reserved for the exotic countries that clog up my social media feeds.
To set the tone for a weekend of indulgence, a DIY Tiki Cocktail and delicious cheese spread was left in my suite for my arrival. Not one to turn down a beverage, I poured in the fruity cocktail mixture, clapped in a sprig of mint and scoped out the room. I appreciated the spacious rooms that perfectly combined traditional Queenslander style interiors with clean modern elements; a style which is constant throughout the resort.
A trip to The Ville isn’t complete without tasting the Asian cuisine from Miss Song’s. The restaurant has made a name for itself by taking guests on a culinary journey by re-creating traditional dishes in a fresh and flavourful way. Combined with impeccable service, a chic restaurant layout and buzzing atmosphere, Miss Song’s is a must-visit for an all-round satisfying dining experience. Top food picks: Dishes such as duck san choi bao, salt and pepper calamari with spicy chilli salt, steamed barramundi with ginger and light soy and a scotch fillet hot plate with Cantonese sauce leave a lasting impression on the taste buds.
My first official day in Townsville began on the gloomy side, making for the perfect excuse to spend the morning indulging in fresh local produce at The Palm House restaurant’s breakfast buffet. The Palm House’s aesthetically magnificent light tones and gold finishings truly set the scene for what was to be a culinary showcase. With an interactive live cooking station, a fridge full of freshly squeezed juices, and all of my usual simple breakfast favourites, The Palm House buffet proved to be in a league of its own.
Once the sun finally shone over Townsville, I embarked on a five-minute walk to the ferry that would take me across to Magnetic Island. After twenty minutes of admiring stellar water views from the ferry window, I made it to dry land and was ready to explore Horsehoe Bay. With magnificent views of natural wonders, an average of 320 sunny days each year, endless watersport offerings, twenty-three beaches and delicious cafes like Barefoot Art Food Wine, one can see why Magnetic Island is a global tourist hotspot. Tip: If you are feeling the heat, cool down with a few scoops of sorbet from Adele’s Café – just be sure to eat it quickly before you wear it.
To recharge after a day of exploring, I made my way back to The Ville’s laid-back Saturday night watering hole, Quarterdeck. Overlooking the resort’s show-stopping aqua infinity pool and Magnetic Island, Quarterdeck was the perfect afternoon spot to enjoy a few cocktails and a tapas plate while watching the sun disappear for another day.
To top off a weekend of indulgence, I spent my final morning around one of The Ville’s decadent poolside cabanas. With a jug of Pimm’s in one hand and a platter full of cheese and fruit in the other, there was no way I was complaining. Just to add that personal touch, each cabana came fully equipped with Bluetooth sound systems to ensure that the vibe was always just right. The odd Green Tree Frog cameo provided that much needed reminder that I was – in fact – still totally immersed in some of nature’s greatest offerings.
The Ville Resort and Casino
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