The Ville is Townsville’s best-kept secret (until now)
It’s not often a hotel is the deciding factor for your next holiday destination. In fact, in my experience, a hotel usually doesn’t come into play until a destination and flights are booked. Unless it’s a truly bucket-list worthy resort such as qualia or one of these properties in the Whitsunday islands or an entire island like Bedarra Island in Tropical North Queensland.
But a hotel caught my eye on Instagram recently. A hotel I hadn’t heard about before in a place I hadn’t ever really considered travelling to. The sparkling blue infinity pool surrounded by lush tropical foliage, complete with a Palm Springs-style swim-up bar screamed HOLIDAY to me. I had to investigate further.
So, tell me more…
The Ville, as it is now named, recently reopened after a significant $44 million makeover that rendered its former tired incarnation, the Jupiters Casino, pretty much unrecognisable. I looked further and found the rates were really reasonable and that Townsville has more than enough activities for a family holiday. Without further persuasion needed, we are on our way to Townsville for a three-night escape just a few weeks later.
What are the rooms like?
We are checked in immediately, which is always a good thing, and directed up to our Resort King Ocean View room, which overlooks the Coral Sea and the gorgeous pool that lured us here in the first place. We’re staying on one of three floors that have been completely refurbished to match the resort’s new fresh look. The hotel design was overseen by international firm Woods Bagot and inspired by a classic Queenslander home.
Our room is bright and airy, with white panelled walls and black and white historic local photographs – all complemented by emerald green décor and palm-frond-patterned carpet.
The bathroom is simple with a similar colour palette, and there’s a walk-in shower, which is a big tick. But one of the first things I notice is the spaciousness of the room; a complimentary cot has been set up for our son, and with two suitcases and a pram stashed in the corner, there is still ample room to move around. Tick, tick, tick.
What activities are there?
A quick freshen up and we head downstairs to Quarterdeck for a late lunch, passing a playful mint green neon sign that promises Cocktails & Dreams at the entrance. We settle in the outdoor area under a navy blue and white striped umbrella.
Beyond fuchsia bougainvillea that sits atop the terrace’s white walls, I spy the mountains of Magnetic Island. This casual dining venue offers pub-style food (burgers, pizzas, salads, bar food). We’re not ravenous, so we order the Antipasto plate to share. It tastes as delightful as it looks.
Down at the pool, bronzed bodies lay about on sun lounges; friends mingle in the reservation-only poolside cabanas grazing on lavish platters and sipping champagne; while others laze in the pool, happily chatting with ice-cold drinks in hand.
Though it lures beautiful young things and kid-free adults lapping up the indulgence of it all, there are plenty of families like us about too. The large shallow walkout into the pool is perfect for our two-year-old to play about and the water is the ideal temperature to cool off and linger for a while.
What kind of facilities can I expect?
Indeed, the entire resort is the type of place you want to linger. While it’s a fabulous location to get out and explore Townsville (everything is walking distance: the Magnetic Island ferry terminal; The Strand promenade, which traces the waterfront and is dotted with several really great kids’ playgrounds including a free waterpark; and the must-visit Reef HQ Aquarium) it’s also a destination in itself. You could spend a weekend here without needing to go anywhere else and be thoroughly entertained – and this doesn’t just mean wagering money on the Blackjack table.
The Ville is the new social hub of Townsville with a lineup of concerts and live shows – Thirsty Merc, Peking Duk and Jimeoin have all performed here, long lunches, pool parties, quiz nights, and functions on special event days. We spend our Sunday afternoon on the poolside lawns listening to the soulful acoustic sounds of a live musician. There are lawn games to keep our toddler entertained. We lie back on beanbags and enjoy a drink from the pool bar in the shade of palm trees that lean toward the ocean.
I’m hungry. What can I eat?
Guests can also bliss out in the resort’s spa, sweat it out at the gym, and dine out at any of the five eateries including the aforementioned Quarterdeck and Splash Bar.
The Palm House is definitely up there when it comes to the best hotel buffet breakfasts. All the usual continental and hot breakfast items, plus made-to-order dishes, cute mini bircher and yoghurt jars, freshly squeezed juices at the ready, pastries, a sweet-tooth station, and good coffee.
We also dine at Miss Songs one evening. Within this refined yet edgy space, we savour traditional Chinese dishes including black pepper beef and kung bo chicken, with flavours that pack a punch. This mod-Chinese restaurant made it onto the delicious. 100 list in late 2018 as one of Queensland’s most delicious restaurants to dine at.
Word certainly spreads, and so do Instagram likes, and with this recognition The Ville Townsville is putting Townsville on the agenda for those (*coughs) who hadn’t considered this north Queensland city the fabulous tropical holiday destination that it is.
Feeling inspired to visit Townsville?
- You’ll never be short on things to do with this list of 100 things to do in Townsville
- If you do want to leave your luxurious resort for the day, here is our guide to 20 cheap and (almost free) things to do in Townsville
- Visit one of Townsville’s natural wonders