on February 11, 2013
It may only have four suites but Whitfield House in Cairns, Far North Queensland has developed a reputation as a luxury haven for discerning travellers from around the world. A recent visit showed us why.My wife and I had spent a hectic week in North Queensland visiting the Whitsunday islands then enjoying the pleasures of Townsville and Magnetic Island. By the time we reached Cairns we needed a break. The approach to Whitfield House is through the tropical rainforest of the Cairns Botanic Gardens. The sweeping private driveway is beside the award-winning Gardens Information Centre. Behind the large iron gates we found a superbly renovated Federation-style mansion which is an oasis of peace and luxury, just what we needed.Our suite had the usual five-star amenities with a writing desk, high-speed internet access, flat screen television with cable access and beautiful spa facilities within a large marble bathroom. What most other five-star properties don’t have are the magnificent forest and garden views from our window and the heated pool and adjacent gazebo in tropical gardens. While the property itself is exceptional, perhaps the best aspect for us was the personalised hospitality that we enjoyed. Joy and the staff went out of their way to make us feel at home. We were welcome to use the Fitzalan Library with its rare Australian books while sipping on complimentary champagne. We appreciated the nightly bed turndown and the chocolates. We remember the afternoon teas served beneath majestic trees. We luxuriated in the daily complementary massages.One of the highlights of our visit was dinner one night in the beautiful Phillips Room when we ate with the owners. The food was superb and the opportunity to talk about the local area and world events was wonderful. Whitfield House operates on an all-inclusive tariff. This includes limousine collection and departure from the airport, breakfasts, lunches and dinners and complimentary wines, cocktails, spirits and champagne for the duration of the stay. It is not cheap but it is exclusive and could be right out of the pages of one of Somerset Maugham’s books. In my experience there are few places left like this in the world. The owners live on site and were happy to meet all of our needs.
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