News and Events

News from December 2014

20-Dec-2014

Greetings from Pinetrees!

We’ve had the busiest year in memory with major renovations, new events, film-making, media visits, kids, staff, and of course, our wonderful guests. Despite the frantic period since we took over the business, just under a year ago, we finally feel like we’re making some progress (see below).

Have a great Christmas and New Year and we hope to see you in 2015.

Take care

Dani, Luke and Ed

Winner in People’s Choice Awards

Pinetrees just won the People's Choice Award for 'Best Affordable Resort' in Australia, as judged by the readers of Australian Traveller Magazine. To be honest, we’re still a bit stunned. We were surprised to make the shortlist with hotels from Uluru, El Questro, Hunter Valley and Kingscliff, but to actually win is, well, mind-boggling. You see, small independent hotels don't normally win national awards. We don't have a PR department or a large advertising budget, and relative to big destinations, we don’t have many guests. So to those of you that voted, clearly in large numbers – THANK YOU! Pixie would be proud. Have a look at the list of winners.

Major renovations in 2014

After many years of dreaming and planning, we finally completed major renovations in September. We resisted the urge to compete with other 5 star destinations and introduce in-room movies, keycard locks, designer furniture and pillow menus, and instead kept our focus on quality food, great service and an egalitarian culture where everyone is welcome and shoes are optional. This isn’t to say that we took the budget options. Our new bathrooms are timeless and elegant, the decks and boardwalks are made from beautiful NSW Blackbutt, and the louvre windows and French doors provide enough breeze for a lovely long siesta.

Pinetrees doesn’t compete in the annual refurbishment competition that many luxury hotels get drawn into, so this renovation is intended to last for another generation. It was scary to commit to such expensive works, but now it’s finished, we’re absolutely confident that we got the design right. The pressure of guiding Pinetrees through the 6th generation is something that keeps us awake at night, but it’s also exciting. The current renovations are our contribution to the place, and no doubt our daughters, Elsie and Pixie, will have their turn in 30 years’ time. Have a look at the photos of our new rooms, dining deck, boardwalks and gardens.

Best Job in Australia

In June we advertised for the Best Job in Australia. It included a 2 month all expenses paid trip to Lord Howe to produce professional videos of island activities, events, landscapes and culture. After receiving 45 entries, five of which were amazing, we selected Andy Lloyd who was a film maker and photographer with the perfect package of skills and experience. Andy had filmed for adventure brands such as GoPro and Red Bull, and also dabbled in the fashion world with films of Megan Gale, Jessinta Campbell and Ashley Hart. Andy’s real talent – the bit that caught our attention – was his ability to weave ‘adventure sport’ and ‘nature’ films into something moody and inspiring.

After 2 months of annoying us with his enthusiasm, gadgets and big lenses, Andy just delivered his first 4 videos, and (without wanting to inflate his ego too much) they are absolutely stunning. I’ve lost track of the number of people who needed a tissue when watching his Wellness and Adventure clips. He’ll continue to deliver videos over the next month, and will return to Pinetrees in February to work on a short documentary. Please click here to watch Andy’s first 4 video clips – they’re only short, but convey so much about the Lord Howe experience.

In the Media

Our great run in the editorial media continues. Australian Traveller Magazine just published a 9 page feature article on our Adventure Challenge Week, and Nikki To’s images are the best we’ve seen in any magazine for years (so good that we’ve asked her to shoot our first cookbook in 2015, but that’s another story). We’ve also had feature articles in Women’s Fitness Magazine, Australian Photography and Australian Geographic online, and one of our photos just made the cover of Wild Magazine.

In September, Helen Razer – the legendary 1990’s breakfast host at Triple J and later ABC broadcaster – wrote a review of our Spring Wellness Week. Now, most travel writing is a bit dull and formula driven, and wouldn’t be complete without a smiling family with fishing rods and picnic baskets. Helen’s article is, safe to say, less dull and more gonzo in style with the use of words such as ‘bitch’, ‘poo’, ‘filthy facehole’, ‘arse’, ‘idiot’ and ‘east-meets-west grab-bag of science-lite nonsense’. Yes, and it’s funny - so funny (and embarrassing) that it took me a while to build the courage to share it. Trust me, you’ll read it twice, and laugh.

Ocean Swimming with Trevor Hendy

Our inaugural Ocean Swim Week with Trevor Hendy has just finished, and it was a very special week. We swam in pristine subtropical water over coral, reef fish, turtles and (harmless) sharks every day. Trevor was an inspiration in so many ways, and the good news is - he's agreed to return for two more Ocean Swim Weeks in March and November 2015. Stay tuned for a few feature articles in the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Events calendar for 2015

We’ve just released the dates for our events in 2015, and we’re running a full program of wellness, food & wine, wilderness, photography, adventure and ocean swim weeks. Click here for more details.

New activities for 2015

For years our guests have had limited options to explore the remoter parts of Lord Howe, but with the growth of adventure travel, we’ve had enormous demand to get people to the remotest reefs, highest mountain tops and most secluded beaches. So we’re now offering at least 15 tailored adventure activities, through partnerships with the best local guides, to help guests experience parts of Lord Howe Island that very few people see. We expect that our return guests will love the new options! All the details are on the lodge noticeboard and can be arranged once you arrive.

Early Bird Deal

Autumn and Spring in the subtropics are the best times of year, and if you book by 9 January 2015, we can offer one FREE night’s accommodation and meals, FREE glass of wine with dinner and discounted spa treatments. Best of all, we can also save you up to $600 per person on airfares. Qantas flights to Lord Howe Island are limited to 32 seats and the cost increases (in some cases doubles) closer to the date of travel. There's no such thing as 'last minute deals' to Lord Howe, so save money and book early. Please click here for more details.

Farewell to Jeff

Our long serving Travel Manager, Jeff Stewart, has just retired after 20 years in charge of Pinetrees Travel. We’re sad to see Jeff go as he helped us through a tricky transition over the last few years. In his place, we’ve hired a fantastic new GM, Tennille Schell, who started a few weeks ago. One of her first jobs was to drink cocktails with hotel people from around Australia and collect our ‘Best Affordable Resort’ award at the gala event at the new Intercontinental at Double Bay. Not a bad way to start. Please call Tennille if you need some help with arranging your next visit.

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