It’s less than three hours since switching off our mobile phones and saying goodbye to a busy week in Brisbane, and here we are strolling hand-in-hand down the main strip of picturesque Palm Cove. We can’t help but wonder why we haven’t already been enjoying regular weekend escapes to this little piece of paradise — getting here was ridiculously easy and it took just moments for the stress of our hectic city lives to disappear.
We pass other couples enjoying a drink or bite to eat at the restaurants along Palm Cove’s main strip as we look for our own little perch from which to grab a glass of bubbles. We’re in town for just 48 hours to check out Lancemore’s beautiful Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore, and we quickly realise it’s going to be a fantastic (kid-free!) weekend away.
A sophisticated little sister to neighbouring Cairns and Port Douglas, the coastal enclave of Palm Cove is less than 30 minutes’ drive from Cairns International Airport. Positioned directly on the beach (the only resort in Palm Cove that can boast this), Alamanda is pure laid-back tropical luxe.
Just a small grove of coconut palms is all that stands between you and the golden sands of the beach where you’ll find sun lounges (for hotel guests only) and hammocks swaying between palm trees. Palm Cove’s melaleuca-lined esplanade is just metres away, so you’re perfectly poised for a memorable short break.
Best room for two
They don’t build hotels and resorts like this anymore. The rooms here are some of the more generous we’ve come across, starting at 85-square-metres for one-bedroom suites, with the signature four-bedroom Alamanda Suite (perfect for a group of couples to share) coming in at a luxurious 250 sqm.
All apartments offer a kitchen with Miele appliances and a good-sized balcony that captures a view of either the shimmering Coral Sea or over two of the resort’s tropical pool areas.
As soon as we started telling people we were going to Palm Cove, we were fervently advised we had to eat at Nu Nu. Helmed by Nick Holloway (ex-Pearl in Melbourne), this 169-seat restaurant takes advantage of its beachfront position with bi-fold doors opening onto the picture-perfect vista, with the waves lapping beyond.
The resort’s breakfast is served here: a beautiful introduction to how modern cuisine is turning to local, sustainable sources. The menu looks a million miles from our usual Sunday bacon-and-egg fare at the local cafe. From lighter options (such as spiced pineapple & coconut cream-soaked muesli, Daintree vanilla, mango, seasonal fruits & toasted coconut) to more substantial offerings (smoked ora king salmon, wattle seed blini, poached egg & green sauce, or perhaps the North Queensland mud crab omelette), the entire menu is deliciously creative.
Breakfast is a treat but it’s the four-course meal at dinner that really blows us away. Arriving just on sunset to enjoy a cocktail overlooking the palm-fringed beach, we are served a tangy, puffed, pita-like bread (artisan breads are fresh-baked twice daily) and house-cured barramundi with orange and toasted hazelnuts to start. Then, tiger prawns — the large, meaty variety that only Australia seems to be able to produce — barbequed with rainforest honey, and taro. Tropical North Queensland flavours seem threaded through every tasty morsel, with the pineapple and turmeric curry of wild ginger pork belly, caramel, coconut and Thai basil bringing a taste of Asia.
Nu Nu also handles the resort’s room service and will deliver meals poolside. So, if it’s too hard to get out of those swimmers and into the restaurant, you won’t have to miss out on this stellar dining experience.
The spa at Alamanda Palm Cove is one of the best in Queensland and an absolute must for both in-house guests and those staying anywhere within an hour radius. It is worth the trip!
The ground floor comprises several spa suites with an outdoor courtyard. It is here that I enjoy my hour-long Signature Massage, which is terrific. The therapist then leads me upstairs to see the spa’s pièce de résistance — private spa pavilions with a plunge pool overlooking the ocean where you can float any remaining cares away with a glass of Champagne. Be sure to pack your swimmers for this lovely surprise!
Couples will love
The promise of poolside peace in the adults-only swimming pool is a massive bonus for a romantic getaway. Alamanda Palm Cove is one of those rare resorts that has mastered the art of relaxation for couples seeking serenity and reconnection — and for families. You’ve also got to check out the gorgeous beachfront chapel. If you’re yet to tie-the-knot (or looking to renew your vows) this is the place to do it!
Besides the four-course dinner at Nu Nu, a must-do for any stay, couples looking for shared indulgence should book a massage à deux and a private spa pavilion on the rooftop. Or, talk to the resort about any romantic surprises you have in mind. The staff are incredible, and would no doubt go over and above to create a unique experience in this seaside paradise.
To find out more or to book your own romantic getaway, visit the Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore webiste here…
Image credit: Kara Rosenlund