Bedroom review: Crystalbrook Riley in Cairns leads the charge on responsible luxury travel
We know about fat calories, but have you heard of climate calories?
While perusing the menu of one of the restaurants at the Crystalbrook Hotel in Cairns, I was faced with an array of options regarding where my food should come from.
There were symbols on the menu indicating whether my food had been locally sourced within three hours, cultural considerations such as using indigenous ingredients and working with indigenous communities, or whether it was of ethical meat. Has the whole beast been used? Was it farmed or fished sustainably?
The Crystalbrook Collection, a portfolio of hotels in Australia, prides itself on delivering responsible luxury travel, but in such a subtle way, many guests don’t even know they’re choosing a hotel group that has reinvented every aspect of their business to ensure they lead by example when it comes to sustainability and customers travel with a lighter footprint.
* Long-distance bus travel in Australia: The boldest way to travel is ripe for a comeback
* Sleep with the fish on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
* The hospitality industry is changing its mind as businesses become more sustainable
One of three Crystalbrook properties in Cairns, Riley is a chic, contemporary property on the northern seafront promenade, within walking distance of all major shops and restaurants and the marina.
Crystalbrook is a partner of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a movement to step up conservation efforts at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and reefs around the world. When I arrived I was given a card to say that the hotel had donated $50 in my name to the movement.
Down the street are the Flynn and Bailey Hotels of Crystalbrook – Flynn providing a fun and lively space while Bailey celebrates the arts.
With 311 rooms and suites, the hotel’s towering wings create a large U-shape to delineate a stunning lagoon pool, facing the waterfront. There’s a man-made beach around the pool with lounge chairs and comfortable pods scattered around the edges.
The atrium and reception area is a beautiful, contemporary space filled with natural light that encourages guests to relax, rather than simply using it as a waiting area for check-in or check-out. Decorated with greenery and plants, there’s plenty of comfy seating overlooking the pool and even a pool table for those who like to play 8-ball.
Staying in a resort view room, my balcony overlooked the lagoon below while still having a view of the ocean. Wood, gold and blue accents in the furnishings were a stylish nod to the coastal setting, and a large piece of coral artwork on the wall highlighted the importance of sustainability to protect the reef.
The rooms are large enough for a desk and an armchair, as well as the garden furniture on the balcony. The kitchenette is equipped with a refrigerator, a coffee machine with recyclable pods and a spacious and modern bathroom with soft lighting and a rain shower.
It’s the little things that make a big difference in a sustainable strategy. There are no single-use plastics in the hotel and the bathrooms are ‘100% waste-free’ – toothbrushes are made from sugar cane and cornstarch, and all products are in recyclable or biodegradable bottles and packaging. The hangers are made from recycled materials and the key cards are made of wood.
There are also reusable glass water bottles in the fridge – goodbye plastic. According to Crystalbrook, they have saved more than four million plastic amenity bottles and 1.5 million plastic water bottles since 2018.
The hotel has even partnered with a local clothing rental company, so guests can rent their holiday outfit rather than buying something new and helping to ensure clothes and fabrics end up at home. dump.
The on-site Paper Crane restaurant offers Asian-inspired cuisine, and this is also where the buffet breakfast is offered with a huge range of teas, coffees, continental and cooked options and even fresh honey hanging from a piece of honeycomb.
There’s also the rooftop bar and restaurant Rocco with panoramic city and ocean views.
Just down the street, head to sister resort Crystalbrook Flynn’s “Italian” restaurant for an amazing meal – this is where you can choose your meal based on climate calories so you can determine where it’s coming from your food and how it was purchased and packaged. For a unique dessert, choose the chocolate ravioli with caramelized hazelnuts and black truffle shavings.
Worth going out
You cannot visit Cairns without visiting the national treasure that is the Great Barrier Reef. But be sure to go with a zero-carbon eco-certified operator, like Passions of Paradise. Go diving with a Master Reef guide to ensure it’s an educational experience where you give back to the environment and contribute to the future protection of this incredible Unesco World Heritage area.
Closer to the hotel, take a walk on the Esplanade, enjoy the liveliness of the seafront and the many restaurants and pretty shops within walking distance.
I could have spent all day and evening in the pool and on those deckchairs if I had nothing else to do.
My evening swim in the lighted pool, undisturbed by other guests.
My only complaint is that breakfast didn’t start until 7am and would have liked it to be open at 6am, for those leaving early for day trips.
Resort view rooms start at AUD 355 per night. See: crystalbrookcollection.com
The Spirit of Queensland train can take you from Brisbane to Cairns, or pick you up at any of the stops along the way between the two destinations. See: queenslandrailtravel.com.au
The writer was a hotel guest.