Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hamilton Island Yacht Club Opens its Doors to the Public

Hamilton Island Yacht Club has opened its doors to visitors and members. Designed by renowned Australian architect, Walter Barda, alongside famed yachtsman, Iain Murray, it is already being dubbed the ‘Opera House of Queensland’.

Its iconic architectural design is a result of Bob Oatley’s vision to create a building of world-class significance on the island that he has owned since 2003. Housed under a billowing sail-shaped copper roof, the venue promises to be a centre for lifestyle as well as yachting, with first-class dining and leisure facilities.

Walter’s use of timber and smooth lines continue the yachting theme throughout the building, even down to the beautifully carved hull-shaped door handles in the Bommie Restaurant, the Yacht Club’s signature restaurant.

Open to the public and with sweeping views of the marina and Dent Passage, this restaurant hosts a menu featuring contemporary Australian cuisine created from fresh local ingredients and serves dinner, lunch and brunch.*

It takes its name from the shallow, isolated and colourful reef patches found in the waters surrounding Hamilton Island. Short for the Australian Aboriginal word 'bombora', these bommies provide a haven for tropical fish to feed and play, but also present a challenge to yachtsman, who must remain vigilant to their presence.

Walter took his inspiration for the long deck extending from the Yacht Club from the Horn of Plenty. The Bommie Bar at the end of the deck is open every day, providing light snacks and drinks and is an especially magical spot from which to view the famous Whitsunday sunsets. The neighbouring flag deck hosts a flag mast with an extraordinary history. Once the mast of maxi yacht, Bumblebee IV, line-honours winner of the 1979 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, it was recovered from the bottom of Sydney Harbour after a particularly challenging race. Since then, it has rested peacefully in the warehouse of well-known skipper, Sid Fisher, and owes it’s revival to Murray, who thought it a fitting addition to the racing start line of the new club, of which he is Commodore.

Yacht Club members have access to an exclusive level of the building, hosting a private restaurant and library. In addition, there is a members’ health club which includes a lap pool running along the lower length of the Horn of Plenty deck. The building also houses extensive conference, function and wedding facilities.

A collection of 35 luxury villas have been built adjacent to the Club as part of the development. Barda’s vision for these four-bedroomed villas was to capture an informal ambience and beauty that makes the most of the unique setting of the Dent Passage waterfront. A handful of villas remain for sale with prices starting from $2.8 million. Each villa owner will be granted a Founding Membership to the Yacht Club.

Sandy Oatley, Chairman of Hamilton Island, commented, ‘The Oatley family was originally drawn to Hamilton Island through our passion for sailing and it seems fitting to recognise the Whitsundays’ reputation as one of the World's great sailing regions with the building of this Yacht Club. We expect the creation of the Yacht Club to further cement Hamilton Island’s status as a centre of international boating excellence.’

The Yacht Club was ceremonially opened by Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, during Audi Hamilton Race Week in August. This occasion also marked the opening of the Hamilton Island Golf Club on neighboring Dent Island. This 18-hole championship course is the only course on its own island in Australia and is already proving popular with guests. The development of the Yacht Club, Golf Club and Villas are part of the Oatley family’s ongoing investment in the island since their purchase in 2003. During this time, over $300 million has been spent enhancing the island’s infrastructure and facilities.

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