Atlantis Marcoola

Atlantis Marcoola is one of the most well known holiday accommodation properties on the Sunshine Coast thanks to its long-term managers, Gordon and Suzanne Higman. Gordon and Suzanne have been at Atlantis for five years now after entering the management rights industry 19 years ago.

Suzanne said, “After our 14th year in the snow, working for others and doing the job as though the business was our own for little reward, we did some research on business in the hospitality industry and came across management rights. We had previously fallen into hospitality, running ski lodges, as a way of securing accommodation for ourselves and our two young sons each season. It was a time in our lives that we would be able to raise substantial capital and so we began to research our options. Everyone we spoke to suggested we look for a holiday complex because of our experience and personalities.”

It was then that the Higman’s discovered Atlantis Marcoola and the rest – as the cliché goes – is history.

“Atlantis Marcoola had everything we were looking for such as appealing grounds, fantastic facilities, a superb surf beach at the doorstep, organised office space, well organised body corporate and committee, potential growth, potential for sufficient income to be able to delegate much of the work and surprisingly for some, the location was a huge draw card because we both love to get in the ocean and our youngest son and I both surf.

“The only downside we could see was the proximity to the airport, which we felt could be counter balanced by all of the positives. We were correct and the airport turned out to be a positive selling point in many instances.”

Five years on and Gordon and Suzanne have changed the face of Atlantis Marcoola in more ways than one and are reaping the rewards as a result.

Gordon said, “We’ve been here for five years now and initially we had a long wish list. We have a very sensible body corporate and supportive committee, so all of our requests have been considered and granted. We now have a gym, shade cloth over the playground, new pool furnishings and large permanent shade umbrellas, a stainless steel steak barbeque to complement the electric barbeques, key swipe access into the garage and foyers, broadband to all the apartments, local prints in all lift wells and a number of other small improvements.


“The only thing now that we would put forward is the installation of lights over the tennis court. Other than that the complex is really quite complete apart from food and beverage and we would prefer to avoid going down that path if possible. Obviously, constantly upgrading the apartments is our biggest ongoing work. New lounges, mattresses and flat screen televisions are our priority so that current guest expectations are met.”

A further example of Gordon and Suzanne’s passion for improvement is their adoption of an innovative approach to resort cleaning.

“Our rooms are our livelihood so we decided to invest wisely in maintenance. We sought out the services of a cleaning company that were a match for our own high standards. Our search finally found that match with Queensland Commercial Cleaners.”

The Higman’s don’t advertise Atlantis Marcoola as a luxury resort, rather a comfortable family resort.

Gordon said, “The rooms are spacious and most have fantastic views so as long as we maintain them and keep the beds comfortable and the bathrooms clean, we are on the right track. Most importantly, if the guest calls with an issue we address it immediately.

“Guest satisfaction is so important. We would really like to remind anyone entering or already in the industry that we, as managers, have a responsibility to make our guests holiday experience a positive one. Put yourself on the other side of the counter and think about the small things that make a big difference.

“It might be going out to meet the father and kids who are waiting in the car while mum is checking in, to make them feel welcome, or giving the kids 20c for lollies out of the machine in reception while mum and dad are asking for directions or even just taking time to describe some of the wonderful attractions, restaurants and activities that also has the flow on affect of helping other businesses in the area. It might be dealing with complaints with understanding and resolving them immediately instead of becoming defensive and dismissive.

“We would also like to highlight the importance of becoming involved with an industry association. ARAMA representatives are working tirelessly to improve the conditions of resident managers and you never know when you might need their assistance. Don’t wait until then to become a member.”


The Higman’s experience in the accommodation industry has not only given them an extensive wealth of knowledge but also the insight into how to maintain interest in their jobs.

Suzanne said, “The most interesting thing that that has happened to us over the past two years or so particularly, is discovering a way to sustain our interest in our job. We moonlight as tour managers and tour escorts on Captains Choice tours, taking us all over the world to remote and exotic destinations a couple of times each year. We’ve been away for Easter and September school holidays 2008 and we left to jet around the world from London to Africa to South America on 11 Jan 2009, leaving the resort in the care of our relief managers and our oldest son. Learning to let go, even in the busiest times if the opportunity arises will ensure longevity.

“Although we listed the business for sale last year so that we could spend more time travelling, we are grateful that the market was not in our favour. We have decided that we can have our cake and eat it, loving the time we focus on our business but taking the opportunity to take time away and follow our passion to travel. We realise that there are few businesses that we could own that would give us this freedom and flexibility, so while we’re on a good thing, we’re sticking to it.”

Coast’s Most Well Known Secret
After its construction in 2001, Atlantis Marcoola rapidly became one of the coast’s best-kept secrets but today, it’s absolute beachfront location, fantastic facilities, beautiful apartments and wonderful staff have ensured it is not a secret anymore. In fact, Atlantis Marcoola is now one of the most prestigious and well-known resorts on the Sunshine Coast.

Located in Marcoola on the David Low Way, Atlantis Marcoola – the five level plus rooftop complex – takes precedent on the busy commercial strip. Offering complete beachfront with uninterrupted ocean views from the third floor up, an abundance of quality leisure facilities all minutes from some of Australia’s finest golf courses, fishing and water sports, picturesque bush walks and cosmopolitan shopping and dining experiences, it is no wonder Atlantis Marcoola is as popular as it is.

Each of the 75 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments feature large gourmet kitchens, fully equipped laundries, ensuites to the master bedrooms, generous balconies, cable television and free in-room broadband Internet. The resort’s top floor apartments also include private rooftop entertainment areas, some with spas, amazing views and a private barbecue area.

“Our facilities include heated 30m lagoon style pool, heated spa and toddler’s pool, recreation and games room, full-size tennis court, half basketball court, shaded children’s playground, sheltered barbecue area, ground floor security parking, and sprawling tropical landscaped gardens. Additional facilities also include intercom, guest library, surfboards on loan and Internet kiosk,” Gordon said.

Are you interested in lifting your industry profile?
Email [email protected] or call (07) 5440 5322.

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