Awash with the beachy hues of golden sand, crystal waters and sea foam, Coolum Seaside Resort is, without a doubt, one of the best kept secrets on the Sunshine Coast.
Much like Coolum Beach – the unobtrusive and sometimes overlooked seaside town that is bypassed for the glamour of Noosa – Coolum Seaside Resort is a hidden gem offering 4.5-star apartment accommodation and a wide range of facilities for family holidays or couples seeking a retreat.
Perched at the top of a hill, Coolum Seaside Resort is ideally positioned to take advantage of the gentle sea breezes while being marginally removed from the hub-bub. It is also just a few minute’s stroll from the heart of the beachside village, the beautiful Coolum beach which is patrolled, and a range of boutique stores and bustling cafes and restaurants. It is also conveniently central to all Sunshine Coast attractions.
Not that you need to stray far.
Deceptively large, the property boasts a wide range of facilities set among award-winning gardens including three heated swimming pools (including a 20-metre lap pool), four heated spas, a full-sized tennis court (with complimentary rackets and balls), a variety of barbecue areas at which to entertain and dine alfresco and a dedicated library and business lounge – available for small conferences with complimentary computer use, printing, and library book borrowing.
And then there are the apartments. The same level of thought and attention expended on the design of the development has gone into the diverse range of luxurious studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, all of which are serviced by lifts and have access to secure undercover parking.
Designed with comfort in mind, the apartments are unusually spacious and feature private balconies or patios with pool or garden views. The larger apartments have fully self-contained laundries and kitchens with European appliances and generous inclusions, and it’s easy to feel right at home with ducted air-conditioning and fans, complimentary Foxtel TV and wifi.
Some apartments even feature in-room spa baths and/or private rooftop terraces.
Coolum Seaside Resort also offers a one-bedroom unit that is wheelchair-friendly, and the fact that there are smooth, wide walkways and no steps, means the entire property is inclusive.
The attention to detail evident throughout the complex, has become a trademark of resident managers, Murray and Sandie Benson. It’s obvious, from the manicured gardens and commitment to service that this is more than a business, it’s a labour of love.
During our interview, Murray provides me with detailed maps of the property and directions on how to reach the village, he gives me advice on local restaurants and things to do in the area and is knowledgeable about bus routes, local tours and attractions. He even tells me they offer a grocery ‘put away’ service…
These are certainly the kind of people I would want to have looking after my investment property, and it appears the body corporate and committee concur.
“We have a very good relationship with the committee,” says Murray. “A number of them are former and existing business people, and they have been nothing but supportive.”
As a former financial consultant and registered nurse, Murray and Sandie purchased the management rights of Coolum Seaside Resort five years ago after deciding they wanted a sea change from Brisbane
“We looked at a number of properties back then,” says Murray, “and favoured the laid-back atmosphere of the Sunshine Coast over the pace of the Gold Coast. When we saw Coolum Seaside Resort we knew it was the right place for us.
“Entering the industry in December 2014, straight into peak season with the Christmas holidays may not have been our wisest move,” smiles Murray. “It was a veritable trial by fire and we learnt a lot of lessons the hard way.
“Even now, there are things about the property that we are still learning. There is no manual that one can study beforehand and until something goes wrong, you don’t know it’s going to be a problem.”
When asked what their biggest challenge has been, Murray responds quickly – housekeeping.
“We learnt really quickly that efficient, thorough and reliable housekeeping is vitally important; every review depends on it. We’re pedantic about our cleaning standards and having tried various systems have established that having our own team is what works best.
“Management rights is equally as rewarding as it is challenging,” he adds. “We have been fortunate to have had help from a number of specialist service providers, and we have learnt a tremendous amount from networking and from being ARAMA members.
“We’re really lucky here in Coolum,” adds Murray. “Twice a year our publican gets all the resident managers together, and the ladies meet for dinner regularly. It’s good to hear, and know, that we have similar challenges and to be able to learn from others. We support each other wherever we can – including helping each other out with accom at Christmas.”
So why management rights, and what advice would they give to people considering management rights as a business…
“The best part of our business are the guests,” says Sandie, “you need to be people people.”
“We deliberately chose a property offering short-term lets because it’s important for us to see people enjoying themselves. It’s particularly rewarding to see the transformation in people once they have been here a few days - on holiday, enjoying, having fun.
“Our passion is ensuring our guests enjoy their time with us so much that they don’t want to leave…”
And to do my bit to ensure this gem isn’t bypassed by visitors any more… Coolum Beach is perfectly situated to enjoy and explore the Sunshine Coast. It is just 20 minutes south of Noosa and 20 minutes north of Maroochydore, and the beautiful hinterland towns of Yandina, Eumundi, Montville and Maleny are close by.
And for those coming from further afield, Coolum Beach is only 15 minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport – which has international flights from New Zealand and a range of direct interstate flights.