Lizard Island isn't your run-of-the-mill offshore retreat. Australia's northernmost island hideaway closed earlier this year in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Ita but is set to reopen for business in March, 2015, much to the delight of discerning travellers.
Private-plane-only access means you won't find too many footprints on the island's powdery white beaches. Your encounters might be limited to face-to-face meetings with curious Potato Cod beneath the surface of the Coral Sea, intimate discussions with the executive chef in the resort's open-plan kitchen, or friendly exchanges with your own personal butler.
Before it was forced to shut up shop, Lizard Island consistently ranked among the world's top places to stay, and the resort is not keen on renouncing any titles.
Sitting 92 kilometres off the coast of Cooktown, Lizard Island is on track to retain its status as an exotic stay close to home, with the refurbishment and addition of luxury accommodation.
Exclusivity doesn't come much better than The Villa – a brand new two bedroom, two en-suite abode with a plunge pool, wrap-around deck and butler's kitchen. Before The Villa there was The Pavilion, which will undergo deluxe expansions along with the existing Sunset Point Villas.
General Manager Amanda Silk says she is committed to ensuring the developments meet the standards Lizard Island guests have come to expect.
"I am also relishing the chance to restore Lizard Island to its rightful position as one of the leading resorts of the world,” she says.
The views from each room will serve as a design palate for their new look, from the soft blues of the Great Barrier Reef to the golden hues of sunset.
A dedicated wine and cheese room will be a delicious new addition to the kitchen, while a fresh space for manicures and pedicures will ensure you never have to lift a perfectly polished finger.
More reef-focused activities are on the cards for 2015 too, taking full advantage of the island's prime Coral Sea location, while the renowned Cod Hole diving site is still just a short boat ride away.
An utterly indulgent menu of spa treatments, gourmet picnic hampers, degustation menus and luxuriously appointed pavilions make a stay at Lizard Island as close to paradise as you can get, and all just an hour's scenic flight from Cairns.