Travel-starved holidaymakers are laying down eye-watering sums to snap up the Sunshine Coast’s most-desirable accommodation away from the crowds these summer holidays.
While the region may have a shortage of 5-star premium hotel accommodation, we specialise in unique boutique offerings, secluded retreats and high-end holiday homes for high-flyers for whom money is no object.
Leading the pack in premium “rock-star” style is your own private island in the stunning Noosa River.
A three-night exclusive-use stay on heart-shaped Makepeace Island from January 8-11 will set you back an eye-watering $75,000, but you are able to celebrate the season with plenty of friends.
Makepeace’s three villas, Boathouse and Island House will accommodate 16 guests in 11 bedrooms with 8.5 bathrooms, and offer plenty of spaces with privacy and serenity to unwind and relax amid unpretentious luxurious surrounds and beautifully landscaped gardens.
Built as the home away from home for three big-business identities: Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson (Caribbean-based), Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey (Brisbane) and chairman and founder of Light Warrior Radek Sali (Melbourne), the island’s handcrafted Balinese-style doors have been welcoming the general public for special celebrations and wellness retreats, celebrities such as entertainer Justin Bieber, and corporate types needing some serious downtime since late 2018.
The jewel in the centre of island life is the tropical, multi-channelled pool but guests also have full use of amenities, from boating and kayaking to the games room and gym.
Located just a private boat ride from Noosa Marina, the island stay includes airport and river transfers, a private chef, champagne on arrival, daily tea and hors d’oeuvres, mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. But villa pre-stocking, housekeeping, massages, childcare services, activities and excursions are an extra cost.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel has previously told Sunshine Coast News that while our region had not benefitted from any new five-star hotel development for 30 years, high-end holiday homes were filling some of that niche, delivering the comfort and location that consumers desired.
He said the Coast had “a fantastic pool of holiday homes” and properties such as the Barra Luxe Beach House at Point Arkwright, which took out the No.1 spot in the Stayz annual list of Australia’s top 10 holiday homes.
The five-bedroom, four-bathroom Barra Luxe Beach House on Stayz has limited availability left over summer. A five-night minimum stay from January 27 will cost $5033.
While Makepeace Island is the most expensive accommodation on the wishlist for some this festive season, other top-of-the-range properties are still available for those booking last-minute.
In a class of its own, with six ensuite bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, the secluded property draws inspiration from the adjoining Noosa National Park.
The property has panoramic beachfront views, award-winning features and all the amenities of a day spa: sauna, heated spa, ice bath, gymnasium and a 25m pool overlooking Sunshine Beach.
If that’s a little out of your league, Booking.com has listed a two-bedroom house at Noosaville this Saturday night, December 18, at a reduced overnight rate of $1733. The price with free cancellation of the house in Regatta Circuit with balcony, two bedrooms, living room, three bathrooms and five beds is $1925.
A secluded retreat in Noosa hinterland at Verrierdale for eight guests (four bedrooms with 2.5 bathrooms, pool and air-conditioning) this Saturday night will set you back $1213 (originally $1702) through Airbnb.
An absolute beachfront house at Wurtulla for eight guests (four bedrooms, three bathrooms and air-conditioning) for $1057, a home close to the Great Walk at Montville for 10 guests (four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and air-conditioning) for $1005 and Doonan’s Light House luxe abode with panoramic Noosa views for eight guests (four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, pool and air-conditioning) for $1964 also are on offer at the website for December 18-19.
For pet-friendly accommodation through Airbnb this Saturday night, try a three-bedroom home on the Mooloolaba waterfront (10 guests in three bedrooms, with two bathrooms, pool and air-conditioning) for $1100.
And for something out of the box, a residential home in Diddillibah called Palma Soleada – billed as a luxury photo shoot location – will accommodate nine guests ( five bedrooms, six bathrooms, pool and air-conditioning) for $2496 overnight this Saturday.
Perhaps most surprising is a humble abode in suburban Bli Bli, described as a “Sunny Coast family getaway” for eight guests (four bedrooms, two bathrooms and air-conditioning) for $1422 for Saturday night.
Stayz offers these to add a little ritz over summer:
- River House Noosa: (pictured) an average $5541/night, sleeps 10 (pool, waterfront, pontoon)
- The Beachhouse Sunshine Beach: an average $4893/night, sleeps 10 (pool, beachfront)
- Beachfront Noosa: an average $3244/night, sleeps 14 (pool, sauna, waterslide, beachfront)
- Coolum Ocean Views: an average $1200/night, sleeps 9 (pet friendly, pool, ocean views).
For a longer three-night summer getaway from January 11-13, an opulent hinterland homestead at Tinbeerwah for 15 people (six bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and air-conditioning) is welcoming guests for a reduced price of $4018 (was $5441).
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And Soul Beach House at Alexandra Headland still has bookings available from late January.
A minimum five-night stay for the coastal chic two-storey house near the beach is an average $550 a night.
Co-host Linda Serle-Thrussell said that the accommodation was ideal for people living on the Coast or those with family and friends visiting to gather together under the one roof.
As of December 16, Booking.com still had more than 60 Sunshine Coast properties on offer from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, including a four-bedroom penthouse apartment (three bathrooms and six beds) at Rise Maroochydore for $6556 total for the two nights.
Airbnb has about 120 Sunshine Coast properties available for the same period, including a Buddina home “four rooftops to the beach” for six guests ( three bedrooms, pool, two bathrooms, pool and air-conditioning) for $3489 total.
A Visit Sunshine Coast spokesperson said that in a highly competitive market and to generate future growth, the region needed to enhance existing offerings and add investment in 5-star accommodation.
However, the most recent TripAdvisor Travellers Awards showed clearly that the Sunshine Coast’s strength was in the distinctiveness of its boutique accommodation. One of the latest additions is HOLA at Eumundi, with rooms ranging upwards from $550 for two nights’ minimum stay.
“The Sunshine Coast was the star performer in categories such as Romance Hotels and B&Bs,” the Visit Sunshine Coast spokesperson said.
“The trend towards travellers wanting to ‘escape’ to somewhere environmentally-sensitive, green, welcoming and indulgent has worked well for our operators.”
Glorious summer weather has combined with Christmas-New Year demand and the border reopening to make forecasts of a 90% occupancy rate for accommodation across the board a reality for our region.
Visit Sunshine Coast expects any remaining availability to be snapped up quickly.
But the spokesperson said tourists were likely to “wait and see” – taking in the weather, cost of flights and travel confidence – before booking from early to mid-January when forecasts indicated a drop back to 60-65% occupancy.
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Pete Wargent – co-founder of Australia’s first national network of buyer’s agents, BuyersBuyers – said although international travel had returned to some extent, he expected to see a surge in staycations this year, as Aussies feared being shut out on return.
“Travel and flight rules are changing quickly at the moment, and over the coming months, we expect booming rental demand in destinations such as Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and the northern New South Wales coast, among others,” he said.
“Everything is already full in many of the lifestyle locations, and that’s only going to intensify over the Christmas break.
“Aussies have built up a huge war chest of savings, an unprecedented $1.5 trillion in cash and deposits.
“We’ve seen the renovations boom. Next comes the staycations boom.”