Bronwyn Sell checks into Freedom Shores, Whitsunday Coast, Australia.
From Proserpine Airport, I caught a 30-minute Heart of the Reef Shuttle with a bloke called Cameron from Hawke's Bay. There are also regular shuttles Thursday through Sunday to and from Airlie Beach, the tourist and sailing hub of the Whitsunday Islands.
Check-in experience : Check-in came to me. The manager saw Cameron pull up and came out to meet me and take me to my room. It's that kind of place.
Location : Ten minutes around the coast from Airlie Beach, in a secluded bush-clad valley on the waterfront. I'd no sooner stepped into my accommodation than a kookaburra started up.
Room and view : A super-cute weatherboard boathouse-style cabin, with a little deck for a prow, overlooking a pond, plenty of greenery and the harbour. Air-conditioned.
Bathroom : Small and perfectly formed. No eco-destructive power showers in these environmentally responsible parts. Think warm gentle rain.
Toiletries : Local soaps hand-crafted for the resort, and Wallawa Indigenous Botanical Skincare.
The bed : The manager used to work in a bed shop so she knows how to pick 'em. Leave the door open (and the insect screen in place) and you'll wake to the sun rising over the "prow" and onshore breezes drifting in.
Price : $319 a night for the cabin, including breakfast. Family suites $425.
Room check: The Literary Man — Obidos Hotel in Portugal
Facilities : An outdoor pool and landscaped grounds with a nautical theme. (Trivia: after parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales were filmed on famous Whitehaven Beach, the owners of this place got word that a bunch of palm trees that had been brought in for the filming were destined for landfill. They rescued them and rehomed them in the gardens.)
Wi-Fi : Included.
Entertainment : If you need screens to entertain you, you're doing it wrong. There are a few satellite channels, but keep the telly off and play beach volleyball instead.
Noise : When I arrived in the late afternoon, live music was drifting over from a pavilion on the property, which gave the place a laidback beachy feel. That soon wrapped up, leaving the rush of the ocean, the patter of rain on tropical leaves, and the calls of those brash Aussie birds. At night it's so quiet, your ears ring.
Food and drink : A fab restaurant on site — Northerlies, which is a favourite with locals. The semifreddo was divine. Room service is a staff member driving your meal up on a golf buggy. The open-air pavilion is available for casual beachside dining on certain days.
There's a nice selection of local wine and beer in the minibar, best enjoyed on the prow. A simple, fresh breakfast is served in the lounge of the house that doubles as head office. What's in the neighbourhood? Not a lot in terms of amenities, and that's the point. It's coastal and mangrove-y and backs on to native bush.
What's so good about this place? The simplicity, the cute factor and the setting.
And the bad? Not much. It's the tropics, so expect mosquitoes and midges. It's not unheard of to find a frog in your toilet or see a snake.
Perfect for : A night or two between sailing trips around the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Or set yourself up here for a week and explore the coast and islands and reef on day trips.
Contact : freedomshores.com.au .
The bottom line : Affordable serenity.