Narrows Escape takes gold in national tourism awards

Owners Mark and Joanne Skinner with yet another award for their Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat

Owners Mark and Joanne Skinner with yet another award for their Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat
Owners Mark and Joanne Skinner with yet another award for their Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat

Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat has won gold in the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the Qantas National Australian Tourism Awards.
The award puts the private retreat at Montville on an equal footing with Australian icons including Taronga Zoo, the Jenolan Caves, the Melbourne Cup, and Brisbane’s own uber chic Emporium Hotel.
Set in the rainforests of the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the boutique luxury resort has taken the top title for Hosted Accommodation at the Australian Tourism Awards for the second successive year.
Adding to its fame, Narrows Escape is now recognised as one of Australia’s 25 best small resorts in the 2014 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for B&Bs and Inns.
The resort was inducted into the Queensland Tourism’s Hall of Fame in 2013 after winning the Hosted Accommodation Category for three consecutive years.
With more than 13,000 accommodation businesses in Australia, this latest achievement by Narrows Escape is a major win for the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Asked about the win, Narrows owner Mark Skinner attributes the victory to total commitment to the experience of guests, and to focussed attention to detail.
“Our organisation is dead serious about delighting our guests,” says Mark.  “We’re proud to accept this award and it shows they really love Narrows, but we’re thrilled that we can play a part in bringing visitors to the Hinterland of the Sunshine Coast.” Mark says the Hinterland is still one of Australia’s best kept secrets.
“We’re always doing things to improve the ‘wow’ factor for our Guests. It’s all about making their experience genuinely great. Something they will remember always,” he said.
Mark and his wife Joanne are now working on the ‘stunning’ factor – a total renovation and refurbishment of the six luxury villas.   Mark says this massive upgrading will raise the standards of Narrows to a level they dreamed of when they took over the property in 2006.
Not to rest on their laurels Narrows Escape is currently closed for refurbishment, and will re-open late March. The revitalized cottages will feature Wifi, an interpretive trail, new bathrooms, kitchens and interiors.
Mark and Joanne have now also translated interpretive signage to help Chinese guests throughout their Nature trail – one of the most sought-after side attractions of Narrows.
The trail is an easy walk from the cottages through the native rainforest across Obi Obi creek.The signs describe the types of trees, bushes and groundcover, information about animals and insects as well as cultural background about the area.
Closely following market trends, Mark and Joanne are convinced that Chinese travellers will have an increasing impact on the Australian market. To this end, smartphone-readable codes have been added to signs on the nature trail. A Chinese translation will appear as soon as visitors scan the English-language signs.