10 December 20
The Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and undoubtedly the best way to explore this tropical oasis is by boat. Last month, my husband and I were privileged to experience this world-famous region for a weekend on board the luxurious Ocean Alexander 26R. While the scenery was postcard-perfect, it was life on board that was an absolute dream.
At just under 26 metres long, with a beam of over 6 metres, the Ocean Alexander 26R is as grand in size, as she is in beauty. Boasting a wide bow, with sleek lines and supersize black windows, she was by far the most impressive yacht docked at Hamilton Island’s Marina.
The transom was raised when we arrived, revealing the Beach Club, a unique and inviting space that opens up on to the yacht’s rear swim-platform. It features a large rain-shower as well as a fully-stocked wet bar, and it was here we were greeted by the Alexander Marine Australia crew, who treated us to a champagne welcome.
After a few sips, and already feeling like VIPs, we were keen to take a look around our home for the next two days. Climbing a few steps to the main deck, an electric door opened to reveal the incredibly spacious main saloon. Thoughtfully and beautifully designed, the area was bathed in natural light, thanks to large wrap-around windows, with low profile furniture allowing sight right through to the bow.
It felt as if we were walking into high-end apartment, with striking stone and timber finishings throughout and multiple spaces to enjoy, including two sumptuous lounge areas, a formal dining area for eight, as well as a state-of-the-art open-plan galley. And should we want to enjoy a movie, there was even a 55in television that popped down from the ceiling at the touch of a button!
Already blown away, we couldn’t wait to see the four cabins below – a master stateroom, VIP stateroom and two guest cabins - each with their own ensuites.
While we weren’t staying in the master stateroom – it’s an honour reserved for the future owner – we did take a moment to relax on the two-seater sofa inside this opulent retreat. It’s huge, large enough to house not only a generous sofa, but a king bed, two nightstands, a makeup vanity and two walk-in wardrobes, with plenty of room to move around. The same can be said for the ensuite (or head) which features his and hers toilets and sinks, stone finishings, plenty of storage and a very roomy shower that could easily fit two people – it was bigger than our ensuite at home!
My husband and I were to be cosied up in the VIP stateroom, located in the bow, which was also incredibly spacious with a queen bed, two nightstands and a small sitting area, as well as a substantial walk-in robe and ensuite.
The exquisite décor continued in the Flybridge upstairs, with another large and comfortable lounge area as well as the Captain’s navigation hub. The expansive skylounge outside took our breath away, especially when we laid eyes on the jacuzzi! Wow! It’s the ultimate party deck, spacious enough for a large group of people with everything you could possibly need when entertaining.
With the tour complete, and buzzing with excitement that we were on board this luxurious vessel, it was time to head to our first destination – Chance Bay. We ventured out to the foredeck to take in the view, and were served a delicious seafood platter to enjoy on the way. This area would fast become one of our favourite spots to relax while on board, with a sizable lounge and table as well as a huge daybed that was perfect to soak up the sun.
Chance Bay is located on the south-east side of Whitsunday Island, roughly a 45-minute trip from Hamilton Island, so we were soon anchored and ready to start activities. My avid-adventurer husband was quick to backflip off the roof of the flybridge into the warm water below – a feat he did multiple times over the weekend. (Don’t worry – it was all approved by the Captain!)
Meanwhile, the tender had been prepared to take us ashore to a completely deserted beach. With a stocked basket of champagne, beers and towels, and two stand-up paddleboards in tow, we ventured to the sand and set up to enjoy a few hours on our own in paradise.
It was pure bliss. The warmth of the sun, the colour and clarity of the water, our own private beach and a gorgeous view out over the bay to where the 26R was glistening in the light.
Even so, we couldn’t wait to get back on board, so after exploring the rocky inlets around the secluded bay, we paddled out to the waiting yacht. The wide swim platform had been lowered to the water, making it extremely easy to step back on board, and we spent some time making use of the fabulous Beach Club area and the heavenly rain-shower while looking out over the bay.
With the sun soon to start setting, it was time to move to the next destination, May’s Bay, where we would anchor for the evening. By this stage, the jacuzzi was beckoning, so we spent the hour and a half journey unwinding in the warm water, sipping cocktails, while taking in the glorious islands and the sunset. It was unlike anything we had ever experienced before – that moment was the pinnacle of luxury.
May’s Bay was the perfect spot to anchor and spend the night, and as darkness fell the underwater lights were turned on, creating a magical glow around the yacht. It was simply breathtaking. Following a moreish Italian dinner with the crew on the aft deck, we ventured back to the Beach Club below to watch the sea life, including about five reef sharks, flit in and out of the light.
Our onboard experience so far was beyond exceptional and the crew were not only fun company, but were meticulous in their duties. Unbeknownst to us, they had turned down our bed before we retired for the evening – there were even chocolates on our pillows!
Come morning, we were very well rested – the bed was so plush! – so we couldn’t wait to enjoy our second, and sadly last, day on board. We indulged in a delectable breakfast on the aft deck while on route to our next destination – Whitehaven Beach. We pulled up at Tongue Bay, just to the north, and took the tender to shore to walk up to Hill Inlet Lookout – a must do if you are visiting the area. The view from the top is spectacular and completely different from what you see at sea level. After taking it all in, we ventured down to the Inlet, where the 26R was anchored just offshore. The beach was deserted giving us opportunity to enjoy a peaceful stroll along the pristine white sand before heading back to the yacht.
With only a few hours left, we spent the time making the most of the luxury on board - diving off the yacht, swimming in the crystal clear water and sunbaking up on the skylounge daybeds, with fresh gin cocktails in between.
Exploring the Whitsundays on board the Ocean Alexander 26R far surpassed any of our expectations and will be hard to top. While the destination was sensational, it was the exquisite vessel and the outstanding service from the crew that we will remember forever. For us, it was an absolute dream weekend, but for you, this dream could be yours every weekend!
~ Carla Tooma (My GC & Hot Tomato) ~
View the full photo album here!