Sleep Under the Stars with Sunbrella: Reefworld Pontoon’s Great Barrier Reef Hotel


Reefworld Pontoon suites offer an up-close view of the Great Barrier Reef ‘s natural beauty.

Australia’s first underwater hotel, Reefworld Pontoon is located on the Great Barrier Reef, offering an up-close view of breathtaking coral and aquatic life.

Floating off the coast of northeastern Australia on the world’s largest coral reef system, you will find a sustainable lodging experience like no other. The Reefworld Pontoon is Australia’s first underwater hotel, located on the Great Barrier Reef which is globally renowned for its breathtaking assortment of coral and aquatic life. 

The idea for this groundbreaking property began with CEO of Journey Beyond tourism group, Chris Tallent. From there the design and architecture teams hit the ground running, finishing the project’s development and building in only 14 months. Appropriately dubbed Reefsuites, this hotel is the only existing opportunity to sleep underwater on the Great Barrier Reef and unsurprisingly, guests from all over the world come to experience it for themselves. 

Sunbrella performance fabric covers in Heather Beige Plus protect above deck sleeping pods so guests can enjoy them again and again.

With performance qualities that resist fading and water damage, Sunbrella fabric protective covers in Heather Beige Plus ensure guests are able to take advantage of them time and time again.

Selecting the Right Materials

Although this drifting paradise was completed in a little over a year, the team behind it cut no corners. Tactical thought needed to be put into every detail of this incredible hotel to ensure its long term success. One of the challenges that arose in the planning stages of a property like this was Mother Nature herself, presenting a need for premium materials that can endure the sometimes harsh reef environment. This made the decision to incorporate Sunbrella performance fabrics a no-brainer.  “Being exposed to the elements, we needed materials that were good quality and were hardy” says a spokesperson for Journey Beyond. “We also wanted a natural colour scheme so as not to take away from the natural beauty surrounding the Reefworld pontoon.” 

Using neutral palettes, the Reefworld Pontoon was designed to blend in – as much as a floating hotel can – with its gorgeous surroundings. Sunbrella fabrics in natural tones were used as part of the plan for the pontoon to complement the Great Barrier Reef, and not distract from its natural beauty.

Materials selected for the the Reefworld Pontoon were chosen with sustainability in mind, avoiding single use plastics and using sustainably manufactured Sunbrella fabrics.

The Reefworld Pontoon is rooted in sustainability, avoiding single-use plastics as well as sustainably manufactured Sunbrella fabrics.

Rooted in Sustainability

Being located on an endangered reef inspired the Reefworld Pontoon to take sustainable initiatives seriously in order to prevent damage to the already weakened landscape. Journey Beyond is dedicated to protecting the reef and takes many precautionary measures accordingly. Silverware cutlery and china crockery is used onboard to avoid single-use plastics. Each passenger fare includes a ‘reef levy,’ which is a fee imposed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and used to protect the reef through education initiatives

As a result of the pontoon’s renovation, almost 4,000 pieces of coral were replanted onto the existing reef wall over the course of a week, accomplishing the largest natural coral transplant to ever be achieved on the Great Barrier Reef!

Produced through a sustainable manufacturing process, Sunbrella fabrics usage is another example of the sustainable steps taken aboard the pontoon, as they are made with techniques that reduce water and energy consumption. Sunbrella also repurposes fiber waste and fabrics where possible.  Durability and cleanability are Sunbrella properties that also reduce replacement waste in landfills, proudly contributing to Reefworld’s sustainable initiatives. 

Sunbrella fabrics in neutral colors were selected for the floating hotel to highlight the surrounding beauty.

Using neutral palettes, such as Sunbrella fabrics Heather Beige Plus and Oyster Plus, the Reefworld Pontoon was designed to blend in with its gorgeous surroundings.

One of a Kind Experience

Sleeping under the stars has never been more comfortable, thanks to new ‘Reefbeds’ that present a remarkable opportunity to experience sleeping in style above the water and under the night sky. The above deck Reefsleep experience offers a premium modification of the underwater Reefsuite accommodation. “Being 40 nautical miles from the mainland and one of a small group of guests overnighting on the reef is truly a memorable experience” notes a Journey Beyond spokesperson. “The new ‘Reefbeds’ are stylish yet practical and the underwater Reefsuites are unlike any other accommodation in the country.” 

Understandably, guests come from all over the world to experience an unforgettable adventure on the Great Barrier Reef aboard the Reefworld Pontoon. If you’ve ever imagined what it would be like to sleep surrounded by marine life, this is the stay for you. 

The above deck Reefsleep experience allows guests to sleep under the stars in a once in a lifetime experience.

The above deck Reefsleep experience provides a premium modification of the underwater Reefsuite experience, allowing guests to sleep under the stars.

To learn more about where Sunbrella can be found in remarkable properties around the world, check out Sunbrella Finds a Sustainable Home at the &Beyond Tengile River Lodge  and Sunbrella Shows Its Versatility in Alila Hotels & Resorts Around the World. To see more inspired design content, follow @Sunbrella on social channels!

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