An artist's impression of the luxury hotel to be built at Funnel Bay.
An artist's impression of the luxury hotel to be built at Funnel Bay. Contributed

REVEALED: Plans for luxury hotel to rival Hamilton Island

AN INCREDIBLE tourism attraction is about to be developed in the heart of the Whitsundays.

Developers have taken an interest in the paradise that is Funnel Bay, a secluded getaway near Airlie Beach.

Plans for a six star hotel have been in the works for the past 12 months but now, with approval from Whitsunday Regional Council, construction can begin.


The location of Funnel Bay, near Airlie Beach.
The location of Funnel Bay, near Airlie Beach. Contributed

Well Smart Funnel Bay Development Pty Ltd will build a hotel with 140 accommodation units, indoor children's play area and pavilion, outdoor theatre, refreshment premises, cafe, restaurant and professional office.

Although the development has council approval, it is subject to 112 conditions relating to building height, design and appearance, provision of services, car parking and environmental management.

A spokeswoman for the council said the development application was approved because it complied with the relevant provisions of the planning scheme, with the exception of building height.

"The proposal exceeded the acceptable height limit by between one and two stories, and council was satisfied that the design would blend in well with the natural backdrop."

PRD Nationwide Whitsunday chief executive officer Annette Harm said the new hotel development would boost the region's economy.

She said it would also create employment opportunities in the area.

"More than 150 construction jobs will be on offer and another 100 jobs once the hotel opens," she said.

"There will also be a new restaurant and function areas for weddings and events.

"I think what makes it unique is that it's just a short drive from the main street of Airlie but it's away from the hustle and bustle.

"It will feel like a peaceful retreat."


Aerial view of the location for the Funnel Bay resort.
Aerial view of the location selected for the new Funnel Bay resort. Contributed

Ms Harm said construction on the hotel would likely begin before the end of the year.

Development first began in Funnel Bay in 2015 when a group of 20 local investors created the Funnel Bay Unit Trust.

The trust purchased vacant land in Funnel Bay and several luxurious homes, roads and a public carpark now exist in the area.

The vacant land where the new hotel will be situated was originally earmarked for subdivision and sale as residential lots before Well Smart expressed its interest in building a hotel.