Hamilton Island with young kids: where to stay Posted by Katrina Whitehead - 9 November 2015 No matter how much you like to fly by the seat of your pants when you’re travelling, once you’ve had kids, thorough planning is essential. Even the most seemingly minor details can suddenly become deal-breakers: Is there a microwave where you can heat up your baby’s bottle? Can you hire a cot? Is there a separate room for your pre-schooler to nap in during the day? Is breakfast included? Is the room toddler-proof? We all have our own personal criteria when it comes to selecting somewhere to stay, but if you’re currently evaluating accommodation options on Hamilton Island, here’s a quick overview of our suggestions after visiting the island with a two year old and a five year old. Reef View Hotel An iconic part of Hamilton Island, the towering Reef View Hotel is famous for its spectacular views and generous rooms - larger than the rooms you’ll find in most Queensland hotels. The Reef View Hotel is close to most of the island’s key features and virtually all of the rooms (from the fourth floor up) have incredible views over Catseye Beach. The lower floors also have lovely views of the hotel’s tropical gardens and have a quiet, relaxed feel. Most of the rooms in the Reef View Hotel have spectacular ocean views just like this. We chose to book a Reef Family Room so our kids could have their own adjoining room and bathroom, and so our two year old could take an uninterrupted nap in the day. It was huge and had everything we needed for the week. Our (larger) room had two very comfy queen size beds, and the kids’ room had two singles (although the hotel staff will happily configure your beds the way you choose). If you have a baby, the hotel is also very happy to provide you with a cot. As we have a two year old who is partial to climbing, we asked for the lowest level Family Room in exchange for the ocean view, which suited us well. Also, in the Family Suite, there’s no balcony off the kids’ room, which gave us added peace of mind. The sparkling Reef View Pool - exclusively for guests of the Reef View Hotel. If have a baby or toddler and don’t mind him/her being in the same room as you, a Coral Sea View or Garden View Room would also be perfect. If you don’t mind being a little higher up, the Reef View Hotel also has a spectacular Terrace Suite (there’s a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom version available), and a Presidential Suite. Both have their own kitchenettes and two bathrooms, and incredible views over the island. However, these options are probably more suitable if you have slightly older kids who can appreciate the view and the added luxury. Why choose the Reef View Hotel? Room to move. With plenty of space, our family of four could happily co-exist for a week. Buffet breakfast. If you have breakfast included in your package,, you can enjoy breakfast at one of three locations: the Reef View Pool Terrace, Sails Restaurant, or WILD LIFE Hamilton Island (where you can have breakfast with the koalas). It’s a great way to prepare the kids for a full day of activity, and a nice way to start the day as a family. There is also a huge amount of choice in the buffet - so even the fussiest little eaters will be happy. Housekeeping. Let’s face it, when you’re away with kids, having someone else make all your beds, replace your towels and freshen up your rooms is a holiday in itself. Views. Although we opted for a lower-level floor (which still had a lovely view of the palm trees), if you are travelling with a baby or older children the views from the higher floors are jaw-droppingly good. Service. The concierge and front desk are extremely friendly and accommodating. We requested a microwave in our room so we could prepare meals and snacks for our kids, and also asked for two single beds to be made up in the kids’ room, and they were very happy to oblige. Facilities. The Reef View Hotel has the convenience of its own restaurant, bar, exclusive pool and Tour Desk. Kids Stay & Eat Free. When you stay at the Reef View Hotel, any child under 12 stays free and eats free if dining with you before 7.30pm at selected restaurants and if they are choosing an item from the kids’ menu. This is a huge bonus, and can really save you quite a lot over the course of your holiday. We also found the participating restaurants to be very welcoming and child-friendly. Just one aspect of the spectacular, wrap-around view from the Presidential Suite at the Reef View Hotel. Palm Bungalows If you’re travelling with young kids, the Palm Bungalows are another great option. These self-contained huts have all just been renovated, and each one features lovely, breezy, contemporary interiors and a little kitchenette with a stove - so you can prepare your own meals if you choose. There’s also a small pull-out couch which could easily fit a toddler or pre-schooler, and you can also request a cot if you have a baby. For a small family, the Palm Bungalows have plenty of space and all the facilities you need. Reasons to choose the Palm Bungalows: Convenience. The kitchenette (with a bar fridge, microwave and stove) means you can eat in if you prefer (great if your kids are quite small), and there’s a little patio at the front where you can enjoy your meals. Fresh, modern designs. Recently renovated, each bungalow is very clean and modern inside - and has everything you need for a relaxing getaway. Housekeeping. Your Palm Bungalow will also be magically tidied and cleaned while you’re out exploring the island. Buffet breakfast. Even when you’re staying at the Palm Bungalows, you can tap into the Reef View Hotel breakfast option - and you also have the same option of choosing a different location every day. Kids Stay & Eat Free. As with the Reef View Hotel, every child under 12 stays free, and eats free if they’re dining with you before 7.30pm at selected restaurants and choosing an item from the kids’ menu. Lush, tropical outlook. The bungalows are surrounded by lush tropical gardens and have a very peaceful and private feel. The pull-out couch can easily become an ideal bed for a toddler or pre-schooler and the bathrooms are fresh and modern. Hamilton Island Holiday Homes The Hamilton Island Holiday Homes are also very popular with families, and there are hundreds to choose from - ranging from one-bedroom apartments, through to some pretty spectacular five-bedroom waterfront houses. Reasons to choose a holiday home: Wide range. You can browse through all the options available to find an option to suit your particular family and the ages of your children. Buggy included. Each holiday home comes with a four-seater buggy - so you can explore the island at your own pace. Completely self-catering. While dining out on Hamilton Island is fantastic, it’s also obviously great to be able to dine in when you want - especially if you’re staying for a while. Each of the holiday homes has a fully-equipped kitchen, as well as a laundry with a washing machine and dryer, a TV and a DVD player. Pools. While you have access to all the main island pools, most of the holiday homes also have their own pools - and lots also have views! A few handy things to remember when booking your accommodation: If you ask in advance, the Reef View Hotel will happily put a microwave in your room (depending on availability), and all rooms come with a small bar fridge (although the kids’ fridge in the Family Room is empty!), as well as tea and coffee making facilities. There is a well-stocked IGA supermarket on the island where you can pick up a range of items. Breakfast is included with your room cost at the Reef View Hotel if you are staying for more than four nights. If you would prefer a lower-level room for young children, speak to the Hamilton Island staff when booking and they can try to accommodate your preference. It all adds up! When you’re travelling as a family, costs can quickly add up. However, when you stay at the Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows or any of the Hamilton Island Holiday Homes, you and your kids receive all kinds of great, complimentary benefits that it’s worth making use of, including: Return airport/marina transfers. Access to the Kids Stay & Eat Free program (you can take advantage of this this at any of the island’s participating restaurants before 7.30pm, and the kids need to eat with you and choose from the kids’ menu). Use of any of the non-motorised watersports equipment on Catseye Beach. This includes kayaks, windsurfers, catamarans and stand-up paddleboards. Use of the island’s tennis courts (although you’ll have to pay a fee to reserve them for a session). Use of the gym, spa and sauna (although some gym classes do attract a fee). Access to most of the island’s pools, including the Main Pool, Sails Pool or Bougainvillea Pool, all of which are on the resort side. If you’re staying at the Reef View Hotel you can also use the Reef View Pool. Also, be sure to check the Hamilton Island App and website for last minute holiday packages. About the Author When she’s not daydreaming about her next holiday, Katrina spends her days working as a freelance writer in Sydney. She’s her happiest when embarking on a new adventure, accompanied by her husband and two young kids. While her travels have led her all over the world, she still thinks there’s nowhere quite like Australia. And at the end of a long day, when she’s dreaming about escaping to a tropical paradise, Hamilton Island always comes to mind.