The Great Barrier Reef Is Set to Score Its First Underwater Hotel

Sleep below sea level on a floating pontoon, with floor-to-ceiling views of the reef through your window.
Sarah Ward
Published on August 11, 2019

Seeing the Great Barrier Reef sits on every Australian's bucket list, especially given the thriving underwater expanse is under threat from climate change. And while most of us have been content to simply swim, snorkel or sail through it — or stay in the Whitsundays and gaze out at it from a sandy beach — visitors to Queensland's far north will soon be able to spend a night underwater.

Prepare to sleep under the sea at Reefsuites, the Great Barrier Reef's very own underwater hotel. It's not the first space of its type around the world — a resort in the Maldives, submerged villas in Dubai and a room at an African hotel all boast similar experiences — but it will be the first at this Aussie natural wonder.

Due to open at a yet-to-be-revealed date this summer and built into a new floating pontoon called Reefword, Reefsuites will feature two underwater rooms that can sleep four in total, with guests able to choose between king double or twin single options. A stay onsite includes all meals and beverages, a night dining experience under the stars, a guided snorkelling tour and a semi-submarine tour. Of course, that's all well and good, but it's the floor-to-ceiling views of the Great Barrier Reef and its marine life that are the real drawcard — not only in the bedrooms, but in the attached private ensuites.

Enjoying all of the above will start from $749 per night per person, so it doesn't come cheap — to the surprise of no one. If you'd be happy to sleep above sea level, that's also available on the pontoon's upper deck, catering for 28 people at $595 per night.

As for the $8 million Reefworld pontoon itself, it's a partnership between Cruise Whitsundays and the Queensland Government, and will have the capacity to host 300 visitors per day. Measuring 12 metres by 45 metres, it'll be located at Hardy Reef off Airlie Beach, and will feature an underwater observatory. A hub for diving and snorkelling, it'll also offer guests access semi-submersible vessels.

Announcing the project, Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones noted that Reefworld and Reefsuites will add something new and unique to the popular tourist hotspot. "This will give more people the chance to see the Great Barrier Reef and will allow tourists to experience this natural wonder in new ways."

The aim, of course, is to ramp up tourism, with an extra 60,000 visitors per year expected thanks to the new attraction.

For more information about Reefsuites, visit the Cruise Whitsundays website.

Images: Cruise Whitsundays.

Published on August 11, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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