New private residences, beach villas, and a stunning Diane von Furstenberg suite make Hayman one of Australia’s most beautiful Great Barrier Reef island retreats.

It seems fitting that Hayman offers a deluxe beach villa numbered 007. After all, upon arriving here, guests will feel they’re channeling Daniel Craig as the private seaplane delivering them from the airport on nearby Hamilton Island—after a seamless two-hour flight from Sydney—splashes down on the impossibly blue waters of the Coral Sea and slips smoothly into Hayman’s marina. The cinematic James Bond, surprisingly, has never set foot in Australia in 50 years of action and adventure, but Hayman would surely top the list of every movie location scout as the perfect place for 007 to romance yet another stunning femme fatale.

On this occasion, we’re welcomed by Friedel, a fresh-faced South African, who quietly introduces himself as our personal butler and whisks us to the sanctuary of a beachfront villa, where we are encouraged to take a dip in the plunge pool while he arranges a spot of lunch. Friedel then offers some amazing choices for our afternoon activities: a diving or snorkeling trip to nearby Blue Pearl Bay, a helicopter flight to iconic Whitehaven Beach and its vast swirls of pure silica sand, or a catamaran to sail off Hayman Beach. We could almost hear M telling us to get back to work as we weighed our options.

The most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands—a cluster of 74 densely forested isles basking in sunshine off the tropical coast of Queensland—Hayman makes the most of its rare natural beauty and unique position as a jewel in the crown of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef retreats.

A private beachfront plunge pool

Perched on a crescent-shaped beach with panoramic views of neighboring Hook Island and Australia’s mainland in the distance, the 209-room resort is divided into two low-rise wings, one cascading to an eye-catching hexagonal swimming pool, and the other set around a tranquil lagoon, complete with a pair of white swans. The pool wing’s 90 rooms and six suites are the smaller of the two annexes but offer spectacular views of the swimming pool, beach, and Coral Sea. (Opt for a pool-access room on Level 1 and you can dip into the saltwater pool directly from your private balcony.) A more secluded and residential experience awaits in the lagoon wing’s 90 rooms and 12 suites, with each suite featuring a separate bedroom, dressing room, lounge, and dining area, double balcony, and an open bathroom that boasts a deep tub for an after-sun soak. A renovation program for both the pool and lagoon wings, scheduled to commence this year, will bring the accommodations’ interiors to a new caliber mirroring that of their beautiful setting.

Eight beachfront villas added a new layer of luxury to Hayman when they opened in 2010, and they remain the resort’s most sought-after accommodations, along with a private beach house next to the villas, which comes with an outdoor plunge pool. Designed by renowned international architect Kerry Hill, who has won acclaim for his work with Amanresorts, each beach villa is a light-filled hideaway featuring a spacious and contemporary bedroom and bathroom separated by an open-air gallery with an oversize plunge pool, daybed, and outdoor shower. Beach villa guests also enjoy dedicated butler service, and a concierge is on hand to arrange reservations in Hayman’s myriad dining venues and for booking island and reef activities.

The resort’s pièce de résistance, however, is a stunning new suite designed by global fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, who is a friend of Hayman’s Malaysian billionaire owner, Seng Huang Lee, and his wife, Peggy Yeoh. One of three penthouses on Level 4 of the lagoon wing, the DVF suite opened in October last year to worldwide critical acclaim and set a new benchmark in island resort accommodations in Australia. There’s something inherently joyful about the two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite, which is decorated with sand-colored walls, vivid white trims, bleached European Oak timber flooring, and offset by von Furstenberg’s wonderfully vibrant fabrics, textures, and colors. The suite accommodates up for four people and is priced at AUD $5,000 (approximately USD $5,200) per night, including around-the-clock butler service.

The resort’s pool

While most guests check into the resort for a few nights, a select few can now buy into the Hayman lifestyle, thanks to the release of brand new residential properties, the first private ownership opportunity ever offered on the island. Situated on a hillside just east of the resort, with magnificent views of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the first two Hayman Private Residences designed by Kerry Hill have been completed recently and sold to undisclosed buyers for a reported AUD $18 million (USD $18,750,000) each. More will become available in the near future.

One of the residences, a five-bedroom masterpiece with an infinity pool, media room, and expansive indoor and outdoor entertaining areas, is being leased back to Hayman for vacation rentals (per night rates on application). A complex of Hayman Marina Residences to the west of the resort, overlooking the marina and the island’s two sleek luxury ocean cruisers, Sun Goddess and Sun Eagle, is also being planned—the perfect place for 007 to put down roots should adventures Down Under come calling.  

The water views from Australia’s Whitsunday Islands may be spectacular, but few rival the jaw-dropping panoramas of Sydney Harbor as seen from two of the best luxury hotels in the city—Park Hyatt Sydney and Hayman’s sister property, InterContinental Sydney.

Fresh from a multimillion-dollar renovation, which included the addition of three new rooftop suites, the Park Hyatt Sydney looks directly out to the iconic Sydney Opera House, as well as the Sydney Harbor Bridge and city skyline, from virtually every room. The hotel’s newly designed living room, dining room, bar, rooftop pool and spa, and 155 bedrooms create a chic and sophisticated residential atmosphere, with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies maximizing the constantly changing harbor views.

Savvy guests staying at InterContinental Sydney book a Club room or suite, which provides access to a dramatic, glass-enclosed rooftop lounge on the 31st floor, where guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, all-day light refreshments, and twilight cocktails and canapes, along with nearly 360-degree views of Sydney Harbor from the wraparound terrace.

Perched on opposite sides of Circular Quay—one of Sydney’s major ferry, bus, and train hubs—each hotel is a kangaroo’s hop from most of the city’s best attractions.