You’d imagine a hotel brand with a good reputation guarantees a great stay, but Tiana Templeman discovers that even the nicest resorts can have dodgy rooms. Does the rest of the place make up for it?
Dirty Harry isn’t the kind of guy you’d normally associate with a posh Noosa resort, but when I collect my key at the Outrigger Little Hastings Street, it’s his gravelly voice that immediately comes to mind.

“You’ve got to ask yourself one question,” he says. “‘Do I feel lucky?’”

Unfortunately the answer is no. Our room for the next two nights is located in the block directly across from reception. It turns out we’ve been allocated an accommodation category you’ll never see listed on any hotel website: “Noisy Hotel Driveway View”.

It’s a shame, because the resort itself is far from a disappointment. Perched above sparkling Laguna Bay and adjoining the Noosa National Park, this modern five-star apartment complex is one of the smartest-looking places in town. For travellers like me, who love a bit of luxury but aren’t fussed about staying right on Hastings Street, this could well be the perfect Noosa accommodation. Sure, the resort is 500m from the beach but it’s also in a beautiful, secluded location and doesn’t come with an eye-watering Hastings Street price tag.

I head back to reception wearing my best “please help” expression but the same friendly receptionist, who rather looks like she’s been expecting my return, is unable to move us to a quieter room as the hotel is fully booked. Her genuine regret doesn’t change anything but it does somehow make us feel better, and while the view isn’t great, the apartment is still good value for what we paid. Especially when we discover there are ocean glimpses from one corner of the balcony.

Our one-bedroom Resort View room may be the cheapest category available but it’s still very much five-star: upmarket decor, designer appliances, quality linen and an iPod docking station soon have us smiling despite the location. A compact entry hall leads to an open-plan kitchen/living area featuring a comfy couch and flat-screen television, and next to this is a bedroom which can be closed off via a sliding door. We discover that this also comes in handy for blocking out the noise from the driveway.

Our apartment is impressively large, but the modest bathroom feels a little cramped given it’s also home to a washing machine and dryer. But it’s an issue we’re happy to overlook given the room rate and the fact that, unlike most self-contained accommodation, the rooms here are serviced daily. It’s a lovely surprise when we return from the beach to find our apartment beautifully made up.

Balconies are generous and come with sliding louvred privacy screens. For apartments with a more private outlook, these can be used to block the sun without sacrificing the view.

We make good use of the 25m lap pool and palm-fringed resort pool, both of which are heated, and there’s another private pool for those staying in one of the lavish three- and four-bedroom deluxe villas.

We aren’t planning on trying the on-site restaurant, View on Little Hastings, but fate steps in when we discover the “microwave/oven” mentioned on the hotel website is nothing more than a standard microwave with delusions of grandeur. Our pre-purchased pizza ingredients remain in the fridge: that will teach us for being so organised. We order room service instead. Our meals take a while to arrive but they’re worth waiting for – especially the burger, which comes with lashings of chunky chips and aioli.

Noosa’s famous beach is an easy stroll along an attractive boardwalk, but families with young children may find this aspect of the resort less than ideal as it’s uphill on the way home. There’s a complimentary buggy service but this only runs at certain times, necessitating a little forward planning. Failing that, the promise of an iceblock from the resort’s handy on-site convenience store should help little legs make it up the hill.

Apart from this, the resort is extremely child-friendly and seems to be a big hit with families. If you’re after a romantic couple’s getaway and aren’t particularly fond of kids, you may want to head elsewhere, but otherwise the Outrigger is hard to beat.

The Details
Where? Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Little Hastings Street, Noosa.
Notes: Tiana booked direct with the resort for $189 per night, although an equivalent deal was also being offered on www.lastminute.com.au. Midweek stays offer the best value, and it’s worth paying extra for a National Park View room. Every guest receives a $20 voucher for the gorgeous on-site spa, but book it early or (like Tiana) you could miss out.

Contact: (07) 5449 2277; www.outrigger.com.au

What’s the gossip?
“We enter via our own remote-control garage on the fairly unprepossessing street level – and are immediately won over. Wide balconies on two levels open onto a thickly forested hillside so steep and so close it feels like we’re in a treehouse … The lower level (bedrooms, ensuite, bathroom, WC and laundry) and the lofty upper floor (lounge, dining for six indoors and out, great kitchen, pantry, study area and WC) shout ‘stay for a month!’” – Cathy Osmond, The Courier Mail (Note: she stayed in a two-level Treetop Villa)

THE AT Verdict

Tiana Templeman, who paid her own way and visited anonymously, says:
“Modern, thoughtfully designed accommodation that provides an impressive new take on an iconic Queensland beach destination.”


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