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And it’s bookable with points!

If you’ve ever considered flying thousands of miles just to don some snorkel gear, there’s no finer place than the Great Barrier Reef. By any standards, this enviable stretch of Australian coast offers crystal blue waters, outstanding marine life and an experience unlike any other. Getting there however can be a bit of a grind, requiring a flight from a major city to a smaller city, then a long ride via sea plane or ferry to a nearer place to get you near enough to zip out in a guide boat. No longer!

Intercontinental has just completed a head to toe makeover of Hayman Island, a luxury private island resort near the Great Barrier Reef, which looks out of this world. By all accounts, it actually is. There’s no neighbours, no zipping cars – just a tranquil island paradise which looks something like Maldives meets Langkawi, with the minor detail of the Great Barrier Reef in the backyard.

That’s right – scuba, snorkelling and other reef trips launch directly from the island, if you can be steered away from the outrageous pools and beachfront views dotted along your private island.

As you’d hope, and these days, hopefully expect, the resort has gone to great lengths to minimise its environmental impact. Guests are given reusable water bottles, a glass crusher helps convert all glass used into sand and everything has an eco chic feel, even the private plunge pools.

This is the part where you’d typically close your eyes, afraid to see the price tag attached. While it’s not light, it’s not the heaviest either. We found rates from £300 ($311) per night, but being that the property is a part of IHG Rewards, it means that you can use points to book free nights from 70,000 per night, or cash in certificates from the Intercontinental Ambassador program. See, it’s not all bad news after all?


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