Hotels

Review: Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows

a room with a bed and a television

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If you’re unfamiliar with Hamilton Island it’s located in the Whitsundays, an archipelago off the coast of Queensland, Australia, that ideally serves as a base of operations for those wanting to see the Great Barrier Reef.  The entire island, and neighboring Dent island, are owned and run by the Australian winemaking family, the Oatleys.

Hamilton Island is non-motorized, other than official vehicles, and the main means of transport is either foot or shuttle. You do have the option of renting a golf cart, which is pricy, but ultimately worth it – you’re on vacay in the middle of the ocean, off the coast of Australia, for goodness sake!

There are 4 hotel choices

  • Qualia
  • Beach Club ( $600+)
  • Palm Bungalows ( $250+ )
  • Reef View Hotel ( $250+ )

They’re sorted from the most luxurious to the least, but nothing on the island is cheap. In fact, everything is intra-connected, so when you go to the harbor to eat dinner, you can charge to your room. It’s really an incredible concept that I’m extremely grateful to have experienced both at Qualia and at Palm Bungalows.

Why we chose Palm Bungalows

The Palm Bungalows are individual cottages set adjacent to the Reef View and across the street from the Beach Club. When we were booking, the Palm Bungalows were roughly the same price as Reef View, and almost half that of Beach Club, and we’d already booked two nights at Qualia on the other side of the island. We knew Qualia would be insane, and we were splurging big time to experience it, so we were primarily looking at Reef View and Palm Bungalows.

The Bungalows seemed far more quaint, but also nicer, than the accommodations at Reef View, and we were right. Unless an ocean view is imperative, I’d choose the bungalows over reef view, all things considered.

a row of buildings with palm trees and grass

Paying for the trip

There is a fee to use American Express so for that reason only we utilized our Chase cards that earn us 3x points on Travel: The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred.

The Deets:

  • When: April 2018
  • Where: Hamilton Island Australia

Check-in

The Palm Bungalows check-in is a part of the Reef View hotel, and it was an absolute madhouse. We arrived from the tranquility of Qualia to an explosion of guests checking out at Reef View. Bags lined up, guests dashing here and there. We were snapped back to the reality of travel that keep people from traveling…chaos.

The Bungalows

I loved our little Bungalow. While we were in the middle of the pack, we didn’t share a wall, and judging by how packed the hotel was, I can imagine that there were a lot of kids running up and down the hallways in the Reef View. We felt “in the action,” but we also had privacy and some space to ourselves.

a room with a bed and a television

Each one is fit with a hammock at the entrance, high ceilings, and a small little kitchenette. It was very well maintained with a little porch, and a place to plug a golf cart if you rented one.

A small bathroom with shower

Renting a golf cart

While you can certainly make do with walking everywhere or taking the shuttle, I think your experience on the island is immensely improved with your own transportation. Here’s a look at prices.

You can walk over to the beach as well

Neither the Reef View nor the Bungalows are on the beach ( that’s only the Beach Club in this area of the the island ) so grab your flip flops, towel, and lotion and head on over. The islands popping out of the water are simply a breaktaking backdrop.

a beach with a tree and water

Taking a hike to Passage Peak

If you head past the Reef View Hotel the road will narrow and end at the start of the trail. In total… I believe it took us about 2 hours bungalow to peak to bungalow.

Check Out

We needed to be out of the room at 10am. Yeah…pretty early, but the hotel does have a lounge where you can hang out, or as we utilized, lockers.  While we were a bit concerned leaving our bags outside while we went to the harbor to eat lunch, we also didn’t want to carry our laptops, etc. We scurried over and easily nabbed a place to lock our stuff up while we mosied around.

Overall thoughts

Hamilton Island is someplace I’d highly recommend visiting. You can check out more thoughts and ideas on visiting, but if you’re looking for accommodations on the island that are private, nicely appointed, and get the most bang for your buck – I’d go with the Palm Bungalows.

The next installment on this series will feature touring the Great Barrier Reef by helicopter. Helis aren’t always worth it, but for this great wonder…it absolutely was worth every penny.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
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Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

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  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
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We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Comments

  • MB March 12, 2019

    April 2019? Typo?

    • Miles March 12, 2019

      ah, thank you. corrected!

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