Right in the heart of Surfers Paradise, Queensland, sits the iconic Islander Resort Hotel. The hotel dates back to the late 1960s and is surrounded by many newer establishments, but they all lack its character.
The Islander is known to many Australians for the hosting of schoolies, a traditional, week-long holiday for Australian high school graduates after they finish their exams, and football teams. The two different kind of groups have been coming to celebrate at the venue for years. The part hostel, part hotel establishment has a total of 153 rooms.
Because it’s partly a hostel, there are always people around to have a chat with so it’s ideal if you are a single traveler and want to engage with someone. If you don’t, you can always retire to your room to read a book, watch TV or venture out to the various tourist attractions that Surfers Paradise has to offer.
The Islander Resort was bought by the Katarzyna Hospitality Group in 2015. The Group owns many other businesses including Bunk Backpackers and Cloudland in Brisbane. Paul Campbell, the Islander’s senior duty manager, said Cloudland is one of the best nightclubs in Australia. Mr Campbell also said the company is planning to start some major renovations in the coming months to bring the hotel more up to date.
The hotel is a bit tired so renovations would be a good thing, but it really does have everything that a tourist or traveler would want or need; restaurant, bar, poker (slot) machines, pool, Jacuzzi, internet café, wifi, car rental and tourist desk. There is also an off license (liquor store) on the premises. It has so much to offer that I have probably missed something.
The Islander Resort is one block from the main tourist strip and only a bit further to the ocean. The tram that takes you up and down the Gold Coast from the University Hospital in the north to Broadbeach South and Pacific Fair Shopping Centre in the south is also one block away and there is also a taxi rank about the same distance away too. The bus to the train that takes you to the Brisbane International Airport is about an eight-minute walk.
In addition to all of this, the hotel gives you discount vouchers when you check in. They include 15 extra minutes of internet use when you buy 60mins; a free drink at the bar; and it offers of a lower rate if/when you book another stay at the Islander.
I paid about US$90 a night through the website www.hotels.com. The reservation clerk said that if I re-booked, (as I initially only booked two nights of my four night stay) the hotel would match that price.
The staff at the Islander Resort is very friendly and wanted to make sure I had a good experience there. Meeting other people was easy too. There were two young women from Canada who I met as I jumped into the pool and, on my visit to the pool, there was a very pale British lad who had just arrived in Surfers that morning and was having a swim to try to stay awake until that night.
I did enjoy my free drink at the bar, which stays open until 5am, but I didn’t get a chance to try the restaurant. Meals were priced at about A$10 (US$7) for lunch and A$15 (US$11) for dinner.
My room was basic, but clean and comfortable, and I had everything I needed to enjoy my stay including soap and shampoo.
There was a double bed and a single, many television channels to choose from, a phone, alarm clock and a fridge with cold water, which came in very handy. There was a great view from my fifth floor balcony.
The Islander Resort pool was big and there were a handful of deck chairs surrounding it. Although there weren’t many chairs, there was never a problem getting one. The Jacuzzi area was quite big too. There was hardly ever any noise coming from either area except on Australia Day, Jan 26, which is understandable. I must add that it was the only time I noticed that the no liquor rule in the pool and Jacuzzi areas was broken during my stay. Everyone seemed to be well behaved so why not.
As a single traveler, I really enjoyed the Islander Resort. It was a good find. As a man that I met on the beach put it, “It’s the best hidden secret in Surfers.” I look forward to seeing what the new owners do with the renovations, but I do hope they keep the character of the place. To lose that would be a real shame.