3 May, 2024

Crowning glory

ONE of the biggest developments at Port Douglas in decades – the $250 million The Davidson by Gurner – has been given the green light with construction expected to start next year.

By Nick Dalton

An artist’s impression of the central lagoon surrounded by luxury hotel rooms as part of the $250m The Davidson by Gurner resort at Port Douglas. Picture: Hunt Design/Gurner Group
An artist’s impression of the central lagoon surrounded by luxury hotel rooms as part of the $250m The Davidson by Gurner resort at Port Douglas. Picture: Hunt Design/Gurner Group

The resort will bring together 112 hotel rooms across a three-storey building, including six “underwater” aquarium rooms with a glassed wall creating an underwater visage into a central lagoon. 

The Gurner Group said the company worked closely with Douglas Shire Council over the past 18 months to re-imagine a new level of luxury accommodation for the area, with the developer engaging Port Douglas-based Hunt Design as lead architect to elevate the offering beyond the traditional to create something completely unique to the market on the site of Dougies Backpackers Resort Accommodation and the Pandanus Caravan Park.

The resort has been inspired by Europe’s best beach clubs, including Saint Tropez and the Greek islands, that centres around a distinctive blue lagoon and features bars and restaurants, a day spa and gymnasium facilities.

The resort will also feature a residential component, consisting of 44 ultra-luxury homes and town homes (priced between $2.5m-$10m), with seven different villa types and the ability to provide both short-term and permanent accommodation. 

Gurner Group chief executive officer Tim Gurner said it was “a huge opportunity for the future of Port Douglas”. “The incredible area is crying out for some amazing accommodation that highlights its natural beauty, which is what inspired the design of our luxury wellness experience that locals will be proud of,” he said.

“Port Douglas is one of my favourite parts of the world – I love holidaying there with my family, and I’m looking forward to seeing this family-friendly resort experience come to life and bring more visitors to the area,” Mr Gurner said.

“As with all our lifestyle and property projects, we always try to push the boundaries of what is possible – at Davidson Street in Port Douglas there’ll be lagoon-facing underwater rooms, wellness facilities and our signature brand of high-end residences, culminating in a new experience that you won’t be able to get anywhere else in Far North Queensland.

“We believe in creating spaces that inspire and elevate the human experience. With this project, we are setting a new standard for luxury hospitality, where wellness is woven into every aspect of the guest experience.”

Hunt Design principal Gary Hunt said the resort would set “a new benchmark for Port Douglas while bringing new energy to local industries”. 

“We believe it will put the town back on the map as the pre-eminent destination for tourism,” he said.

“We have worked closely with the Gurner and Douglas Shire Council teams to ensure the finished product aligns with council preferences, and we believe this project will set a new benchmark for luxury accommodation in the region.”

Port Douglas-based councillor Michael Rees told this week’s council meeting the project was “fantastic” and “wonderful” and a good example of a developer adhering to the council’s planning scheme.

Cr Damian Meadows, also of Port Douglas, said it was “good engagement” between the developer and the council.

Mayor Lisa Scomazzon said it showed a developer working well with the council planning scheme.

She said the resort appeared to have “a really good family atmosphere” and she looked forward to construction starting.


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