The unexpected location of the Whitsundays' newest hotel
A NEW hotel with a focus on luxury has opened in the Whitsundays, but it's not where you would expect it to be.
Opal Ridge Motel in Collinsville staged its grand opening last weekend following a significant two-year redevelopment.
Located about 90km from the nearest beach, it's a far cry from the traditional idea of Whitsunday hotels.
The original structure was all but destroyed during severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March 2017.
After the destruction of the old building, co-owner Trevor Anderson said he started to think immediately about the next move for the hotel.
"We were insured, but like many when we started to see what the payout was going to be, it was looking like we were going to get a third of what we needed," Mr Anderson said.
"So we started thinking 'We need to turn Collinsville into more of a destination'.
"So we started looking at what we were missing here that we love to see when we travel.
"What you see today is the culmination of all of that hard work, and we couldn't be more ecstatic with the end result."
It's an impressive final product, boasting more than 30 well-appointed rooms with luxury fittings, a bistro and cafe, a fine-dining experience and a fully-integrated business and function room.
During the day the restaurant will serve cafe items including pancakes, coffees and bacon and egg rolls before transitioning to a bistro menu in the evening.
The cafe will also offer a drive-through service, giving customers the ability to order online beforehand.
"We tried to think about how we could add something new to the town without taking anything away from the great businesses already here," Mr Anderson said.
"A drive-through was one of the ideas we came up with. People travelling out from Bowen or the surrounding region early can order coffee or bacon and eggs through our online app and just pick it up on their way to work.
"It's the things people take for granted in the bigger cities and we wanted to see here."
Offering a fine-dining experience was also high on the list for the enthusiastic owner, and The Black Opal provides the opportunity for guests and residents to "have something a little different".
Mr Anderson said he had hired an Italian chef from Mackay who had spent the last 18 months sourcing local ingredients and developing the menu.
"It'll be like nothing in the area," he said.
"Things like the steaks have been specifically sourced from the region so that we can provide a truly amazing dining experience with fresh produce."
Mr Anderson called the fit-out a true labour of love and said the goal of the final product was to provide something that the western Whitsundays had never seen before.
"We want to see Collinsville be a location that people come out to experience," he said.
"This is the first part of that. We want guests to have the option to come out here and get food, accommodation and service that rival or beat those in the bigger cities.
"We've kept the prices on everything deliberately quite low so that we can attract people from everywhere."
Landscaping will be the final piece of the puzzle for the hotel, which will be completed in the coming months.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox, who helped cut the ribbon at the grand opening, said the redevelopment had been a tremendous undertaking that looked to have paid off.
"This will be a huge drawcard for Collinsville and I encourage everyone to go out," he said.
"Have a look around, it is the western Whitsundays after all."