I'm sitting in a perfectly positioned deck chair gazing out onto palm trees, a sweep of blue sea and one of the biggest pools I've ever seen.
It's the new improved revamped and regenerated Hayman Island in Queensland's Whitsundays, post cyclones Anthony and Yasi.
The gardens are a tropical visual feast filled with bromilides, unusual palms and more designed by garden guru Jamie Durie, but that's only the beginning.
Everything has received a major spruce up and the resort feels like a lux Asian getaway (with distinctly Aussie tones) all just a couple of hours from Brisbane and no international airport hassles.
In less than 10 minutes the Air Whitsunday sea plane whisked us from the airport near Shute Harbour over the azure sea to Hayman Island with an oh-so-smooth flight. We appreciated the extra 30 minutes the flight saved us over the launch and the scenic view of the Whitsunday Island group islands along the way.
The greeting at Hayman was impressive with smartly dressed staff waiting in attendance to guide us to the check in desk. It was a first taste of the luxury to come.
Walking along the sweeping marble covered walk ways en route to my room I was swamped by memories of lux Asian resorts, but all this luxury is not new, it just looks that way. It's hard not to stop while walking to dinner and admire the gardens which, according to my press release, include 33,000 new plants and 327 new plant species. To me they look like they've been there for ever and I only wish I had their landscaping budget to buy established plants!
I'm just here overnight on a three night exploration of the Whitsundays but it's enough to put Hayman up there on my 'must return to list'. Normally my budget doesn't stretch to this sort of luxury but there are some pretty fabulous opening specials out there. Check the website for deals.
I stayed in a Pool View room which was on the second floor with views over the pool. With a spacious balcony, plenty of room space and an open bathroom it certainly gave me the holiday feel. A visit from the resident cockatoo was all the invitation I needed to kick off my shoes and relax before dinner.
Dinner was a very special affair - a Chef's Table - which deserves it's own blog post.
I'll skip to breakfast which was a full treat in itself. I've never been to a breakfast buffet where wine was included as a standard item.
Nor one where there was an ice cream bar.
The range and quality of the breakfast offering was mind boggling and my only problem was finding space to fit in everything I wanted to try. In true international style there was plenty from several different cuisines to choose from.
When I could drag myself away from the food and the breakfast view, we did a quick tour of the resort and saw some of the rooms.
There are eight fabulous Kerry Hill-designed Beach Villas, overlooking the sparkling Coral Sea. Each features a large private pool in an open air gallery with a day bed, a private terrace and outdoor shower, and a vast bathroom. Villa guests receive a dedicated Butler service and exclusive dining experiences including Chefs’ tasting menus.
All too soon it was time to leave, but even leaving Hayman was done in style. I've never been greeted with a drink of choice when boarding a boat transfer either but then I haven't been on the Sun Goddess before. And then there was the little selection of sandwiches and more that appeared to keep us from hunger on our journey home.
But the surprises didn't end there. On the way back we saw two whales slapping their tails in the sun so joyously their exuberance was infectious.
During the next few weeks, the presence of whales and their young in the warm Whitsunday waters, promises more unforgettable sightings.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK stayed as a guest of Hayman Island.