Wednesday 30 September
Silky Oaks Lodge rediscovers itâ€™s old 'locals' magic
New owners Paul and Barbara Van Min have massive plans for Silky Oaks Lodge and Healing water Spa.
The idyllic location of Silky Oaks Lodge has always captivated visitors whether locals, interstate or international but over recent years the previous owners as part of a large corporation could not allow the staff or the environment to express themselves in the relaxed way that is essential to this heritage venue. With the change of ownership you can already feel the atmosphere of this rainforest wonderland returning to its former welcoming glory.
Paul and Barbara are quick to acknowledge the valuable input from their many long serving staff members who are now being allowed to express their views having experienced, in some cases, almost ten years of service in both the good times and the bad. Their loyalty to the Lodge demonstrates their passionate commitment for the place and what it is capable of delivering.
Paul Van Min has a fascinating background. He was a successful professional tennis player who played in every Grand Slam tournament around the world and represented his native country, Holland, in the prestigious Davis Cup for decade throughout the seventies and early eighties. He has been on the organising committee of the Australian Open, one of the biggest Grand Slam tournaments on the world circuit and he was in charge of the Melbourne Park assets. He and Barbara are still involved with their passion for tennis. They own the largest indoor tennis centre in Australia based in Melbourne.
But having spoken in depth with Paul, you are left in no doubt that their new passion is for Silky Oaks Lodge and ensuring that it regains its rightful position among the 'must dos' of the Douglas region.
They are realistic in their approach to the rebuilding of the reputation of Silky Oaks Lodge. They know that time will be required to claim back the reputation of the venue for both holiday guests as well as the locals. But they have a determination only seen from independent owners and with the support of a staff, whose morale has grown dramatically since Paul and Barbara's arrival, they are already winning the game.
Carefully targeted investment has ensured that the refurbishment of the 50 Treehouses and Riverhouse rooms, each featuring wide verandahs and spa baths, has been completed in a softer more appealing way. The
Treehouse restaurant has been beautifully remodelled to complement the breathtaking location overlooking the Mossman River, which when lit up at night takes on an enchanting and captivating ambience.
The grounds have been re-landscaped to allow some of the older established native flora to flourish again recapturing some of the natural character of the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest from under the grip of faster growing foliage..... And of course the tennis court has been rebuilt !
Their marketing campaigns are being carefully constructed to ensure that the international travellers are made aware of the re-vitalised experience that Silky Oaks Lodge can once again offer.
The wedding market holds a special place in the hearts of the Silky Oaks Lodge and why wouldn't it be ? Silky Oaks Lodge has a large over water balcony function room and the perfect romantic riverside setting on a timber deck next to the sandy beach and billabong for the marriage service. It's no wonder that after a fairytale wedding day at Silky Oaks Lodge, the management boast that to "Get married here, you'll never get divorced' and with this much magic in the air, who would argue ?
Conferences and conventions can comfortably be accommodated. There are two meeting rooms each with a capacity of up to 100 delegates in a
theatre style layout and with the natural stress free tranquility of Silky Oaks Lodge and the near location of night time entertainment in Port Douglas, Silky Oaks Lodge is an ideal venue for all sizes and types of conferences and conventions.
Paul and Barbara and the team have also identified that in this current era when airlines are restricting air traffic in a bid to ride out the global financial crisis, Silky Oaks Lodge can offer the domestic market a short break or full holiday that once experienced will not be thought of as a second best option.
Silky Oaks Lodge has so many facilities that staying on site to enjoy your stay is a great option. The Spa caters for every type of alternative therapy and massage, the poolside chairs allow you to relax within a natural rainforest environment.
Of course, if you want to get out and about and experience the other wonders of the region, there are an amazing menu of activities within easy reach of the Silky Oaks Lodge and most of them can be accessed either by the Resort Courtesy bus or pick ups that are usually included within the organised tours.
There's a huge diversity of trips from which to choose including an Australian Wilderness Experience Day tour to Cape Tribulation, Great Barrier Reef trips, cruises on the Daintree River. If youâ€™re feeling like a good healthy walk then there are tours such as the Mossman Gorge Walk or a naturalist guided rainforest walk from the Lodge including Mossman River. Or maybe a round of golf in either Mossman or Port Douglas ? Why not try horse-riding along the beach or for the more adventurous amongst the visitors there's even ballooning on the Atherton Tableland. All these tours
can be booked at the front desk at reception.
Very astutely, Paul and Barbara have also set their sights on 'wooing' back the locals market. Once upon a time Silky Oaks had an irresistible draw for the locals, with its wonderful natural swimming facility, riverside bar and Treehouse restaurant and the unique opportunity to escape the â€˜worldâ€™ after just a short 20 minute drive from Port Douglas.
Paul and Barbara have brought an infectious enthusiasm and endeavour to Silky Oaks Lodge. As the Van Mins talk about their fresh, yet simple, approach to the massive task they have set themselves, you find yourself entranced in their honesty and desire.
Once the locals and holidaymakers have been further encouraged to give the new â€˜Silky Oaksâ€™ a try, they too will rediscover the magic that Silky Oaks Lodge holdsâ€¦â€¦ See you there !
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