History of Reef House

The Reef House is a unique and stunning getaway. It is one of the few boutique resorts that can boast a history and a character molded from a remarkable background.

The original Reef House was built in 1958 by a Cairns bookmaker and used as a family home. According to an article in a 1972 issue of The Bulletin, a swimming pool proprietor was allegedly heavily indebted to the bookmaker, but managed to repay his debt by offering to build 'the best swimming pool in North Queensland'.

In 1970 it was purchased by a syndicate and opened as a restaurant with limited accommodation of three suites in the garden. In 1972, Brigadier The Hon. David Thomson, MC, RL, (later Federal Minister for Science & Technology), acquired the property and operated 'Reef House' as a private residence with visitors treated as personal guests.

Guests helped themselves to drinks from the bar, and in the true tradition of an officer's mess, signed chits on an honesty system. This still prevails today in The Brigadier's Bar. Also continuing a tradition, each evening candles are lit throughout the resort denoting Twilight Hour, an opportunity to meet with other world traveller's over a complimentary glass of Brigadier's Punch.

The earlier tradition of The Reef House continues to this day, and the General Manager takes pride in meeting as many guests as possible when they arrive and also joining others for evening drinks.

It's all part of the casual elegance and colonial charm of a bygone era that is the boutique experience of The Reef House.