LUX Hotel & Spa Awards 2016 30 LUX - Hotel & Spa Awards 2016 Best Eco-Friendly Luxury Accommodation & LUX location award: Best Beachfront Hotel - Australia The Observatory Hotel, 400km to the north of Sydney, is known as “Port Macquarie’s best address” for good reason: this modern, architecturally distinct hotel is poised over manicured parklands edging the city’s most popular beach, where waves tumble ceaselessly onshore, lulling guests into a sense of peace and harmony, and perfect seaside relaxation. Just a few steps from the hotel’s front doors guests can plunge into rolling surf, cruise the crests on longboards, paddle in sheltered shallows, explore rock pools or merely indulge in sunbathing, reading or feasting under Breton-striped umbrellas at the beachside fresh food kiosk. Early birds can join in morning surfside yoga sessions. Nearby, energetic youngsters are free to ride skateboards in a frenzied, action-packed purpose-built arena. Across the way, families spread out luncheon fare on tables next to gas-fired barbecues dotted around the park’s lawns. Still more strike out on a coastal odyssey on grassy hilltops along the beaches, on mountain bikes, with picnic backpacks and iPod navigators supplied by The Observatory. Seasonally, many will marvel at the sight of whales breaching the ocean surface: Port Macquarie’s coastline is visited twice a year by migrating pods including a rare albino whale, and delighted tourists on cliffside vantage points report witnessing mother whales giving birth to young. A number of whale-watching boat operators also offer sightseeing tours out to sea. Best Eco-Friendly Luxury Accommodation & LUX location award: Best Beachfront Hotel - Australia The Observatory Hotel, Port Macquarie Email: info@observatory. Address: 40 William Street, Port Macquarie 2444, New South Wales, Australia Telephone: +61 2 6586 8000 HS160067 Closer to home, without the need to even wander, The Observatory itself offers all the essentials holidaymakers desire in a boutique resort, 91 guest rooms, including one, two and three bedroom apartments and two penthouses. The apartments and penthouses come with the opportunity, if preferred, to self-cater in fully-equipped open plan kitchens looking through picture-window bi-fold doors to the surf. Also on site are the region’s most popular coffee house and casual cafe, and Scampi’s seafood restaurant, a local icon. Port Macquarie enjoys an equable climate year-round but on rare cooler days the hotel’s indoor heated swimming pool and cascading waterfall, bubbling spa and Finnish sauna beckon. In its serene garden setting the pool complex looks through full-height glass to the adjacent open-air but sheltered barbecue and dining tables and protected lawn area, perfect for children to explore and play. Every need is catered for, and additional diversions include soothing organic treatments and massages offered in the on-site day spa; shopping for quality fashion, jewellery, homewares and gift discoveries in a charming ground-level nook; in-room fitness equipment on request; WiFi options, as well as family bicycle outings to a close-by koala reserve. If this vast array is not enough, the hotel’s self-serve travel bureau offers complementary brochures describing some 150 other local attractions and helpful advice from front-of-house staff. These attractions include fishing, river cruising, water skiing, boating, dolphin sightseeing, golf, history walks, strawberry farm and vineyard tours, scenic flights, paddle-boarding and more. Observatory guests have the satisfaction of knowing their holiday is entirely impact-free on the environment: the hotel is the current holder of Australia’s premier award for sustainability, its reputation earned over more than a decade since its opening through a multi-faceted avant-garde Green Future program. Ultimately, the Observatory was one of Australia’s first officially-endorsed 100% carbon neutral hotel and remains one of just three Deluxe hotels nationwide so credited, and it is easy to see why. Among its many innovations, more than 200 solar panels atop its roof provide the entire energy for thousands of guests annually. Moreover, the hotel reaches out with its environmental message, leading by example with comprehensive recycling and waste minimisation practices and supporting native tree-planting and bush regeneration initiatives in the community. Additionally, it is also Australia’s most awarded Deluxe hotel for excellence of guest service and satisfaction. A warm welcome awaits visitors from around the world. The Observatory Hotel Two aspects define the uniqueness and appeal of The Observatory Hotel, on Australia’s sun- blessed eastern coastline: the distinction of being formally acknowledged in 2016 as the country’s leading green hotel and its unparalleled location at the head of a string of eight golden sandy beaches washed by the Pacific Ocean. We profile this stunning property and showcase the beauty and wonder guests experience at a fantastic destination.