Madelin Tomelty

It is a renowned holiday destination approaching its 70th birthday, but that doesn’t stop the surprises from coming at InterContinental Hayman Island Resort

I make it a rule not to shop when I go on holiday. Not because I don’t want to, but because for me, shopping in a new destination full of shiny, pretty things is like peeling the lid off a tube of Pringles – once I pop, I can’t stop. My accountant would definitely tell me it’s something I should avoid at all costs, so it’s a good thing he can’t see me as I pack for my departure from Hayman Island and try to fit two pairs of shoes that I didn’t have on my way over into my suitcase.

In my defence, I’d bet that few would be immune to the charms of InterContinental Hayman Island Resort’s boutique-meets- food-store, Grove, even if your vice is a glass of wine at the end of the day, rather than a new silk kaftan. I guarantee your resolve will be toast when you discover not only bottles of wine for sale, but also cheeseboards and takeaway platters you can take to the beach or back to your room. It’s refreshing, to say the least, to find a resort that has cottoned on to the fact that sometimes all you want is an easy grab-and-go snack, rather than a full-service meal in a restaurant… for the third time that day.

Equally refreshing are the filtered water fountains scattered around the resort, where you can fill up your complimentary water bottle as often as you like. “We’re not nickel and diming people,” General Manager at InterContinental Hayman Island Resort Mark Eletr tells me on an August afternoon in the impeccably designed interior of oceanfront restaurant, Aqua. “We serve free water in all of our restaurants – we’re not making you pay $16 for a bottle of San Pellegrino.”

This is something I can definitely get on board with, and I am happy to discover similar sparks of ingenuity during my three- night stay – my first time on the island, despite its lengthy tenure as a resort destination and countless iterations. They might not be in your face, but they will bring a smile to your face – things like the self-serve juicing station at the expansive and pretty darn magnificent buffet breakfast, where you can get your mixologist on and make a fruit and veg elixir worthy of a Millennial’s Instagram story.

Just don’t go looking for a plastic straw to complete the picture, nor should you get your hopes up about adding to your bathroom miniatures stockpile – there is a strict no single- use-plastic policy at Hayman Island. Plus, the only sunscreen for sale is reef-safe, and state-of-the-art in-room technology conserves and maximises energy on the island. “We take environmental responsibility very seriously,” Eletr explains. “We want people to feel that they are being responsible when they come here… and that we are a responsible operator.”

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