Port Douglas Sands Resort

Moving to Port Douglas to manage the Sands Resort was a change of location, climate, career and lifestyle for Sydneysiders Matthew and Amanda Fraser but after 10 years of visiting Port Douglas on holidays they felt instantly right at home.

Amanda and Matt took on the management rights of the Sands Resort 17 months ago but say it all happened quite quickly. “We were staying at the Sands on holiday with our daughter and joked about what a great job it would be managing a resort like this,” Amanda says. “The managers at the time then told us they had just put the management rights on the market and asked us if we were interested.”

Neither Matt nor Amanda had ever run a business before and both had been in their jobs for over ten years so were ready for a change. Amanda says the change of lifestyle from Sydney to Port Douglas was appealing, as well as working for themselves, so six months later they relocated to Port Douglas.

They say they were originally attracted to the Sands Resort because of its family-friendly atmosphere and the facilities the resort has to offer. Amanda explains there are 16 fully self-contained apartments that come in one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom options. All apartments have large balconies overlooking the pool, a fully equipped kitchen with fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher, private laundry facilities, air-conditioning and ceiling fans.

194-PRO-PD Sands 3“They all have televisions, DVD players, Foxtel, high speed wireless Internet connectivity and telephone facilities too,” she says. The resort also boasts a beautiful pool with a children’s area complete with an 45cm deep toddler pool and a sandpit. There is a spa, a barbecue and entertainment area and a poolside café that serves breakfast each morning as well. “The family market is our main market so it is important that our facilities cater for them,” Amanda says.

Since taking over the management of the resort, Amanda says they have been upgrading all the apartments and many have even been refurbished. “We are lucky all our owners are very approachable and quite receptive to our suggestions so this has made things easier,” she says. “Our plans are to work with unit owners to continue with improvements to their units. We have worked hard to present the resort in the best possible light and from the reviews we have been getting on TripAdvisor from our guests I feel we are succeeding.”

Most apartments have been repainted, many have had full kitchen replacements with new kitchen crockery, and the poolside café has been given a fresh look with new furniture including contemporary tables and chairs and a new flat screen television.

Amanda says Matt handles most of the maintenance as well as the gardening while she manages the office, dealing with guests, owners and body corporate.

“I previously worked for a ski wholesaler selling ski trips and putting together holiday packages so luckily a lot of my background has come in handy. While I had worked in the travel industry it has been nice to swap snow and ski trips for more tropical adventures,” Amanda says. “However, I have also learned a lot since taking on this role as I had never worked with holiday and permanent letting or run a business of my own.”

Matt previously worked in shop fitting but has relished the change of career and lifestyle and enjoys getting to spend more time with Amanda and their four-year-old daughter Bronte. They have also been lucky to have such enormous family support with Amanda’s parents helping with the business too. “My mum works in the café and my dad manages the accounts plus we have two extra staff to help in the office and with gardening,” Amanda explains. They also use contract cleaners and say they are appreciative of having such a great team of people at the Sands.

194-PRO-PD Sands 4Amanda says she has always loved Port Douglas and after coming here for holidays every year while growing up, she says it is lovely to see other families get just as much enjoyment from holidaying here.

“The busiest time of year for us is from June through till October, with July being our busiest month, and during this time we get a lot of people visiting from Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand,” she says. “And during the off peak season more locals take advantage of the quieter period and we get a lot of locals staying for short breaks.” She says that with Port Douglas being a favoured location to view the solar eclipse in November, she expects an influx of visitors to the region then which will hopefully extend the tourist season.

Port Douglas is such a great destination with the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest all on its doorstep, it’s no wonder more and more people travel to the region for holidays. Amanda says she and Matt do a lot of diving and different tours regularly so they can offer their guests only the best advice on day trips to suit their needs. “We aim to make the Port Douglas Sands Resort the best value holiday destination for our guests, especially families,” she says.

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