Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball of the British Navy must have been thunderstruck when he first caught sight of the twin peaks of an unknown island as he sailed across the Tasman Sea in 1788. Dazzling with a fantastic spectrum of blue and green colors, edged with perfect white beaches, and anchored by two rugged, bulging mountains on its southern end, this magnificent secret, now known as Lord Howe Island, is an astonishing place to behold. From its perch just up the hill from Lovers Bay, Capella Lodge is poised for you to take it all in, with extraordinary views of the ocean, the aquamarine lagoon, and those two wild mountains—Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird—looming in the near distance.
The island was forged from a volcanic eruption millions of years ago, and what remains is an irregular crescent full of rugged drama. Capella Lodge plays counterpoint to this, designed with contemporary, clean lines and simple, elegant furnishings that incorporate natural elements. Its nine suites are nestled amid the hibiscus and frangipani blooms, with huge windows and spacious decks, all subtly angled to maximize the views. A world-class restaurant and a fleet of bikes and kayaks round out your experience here. The lodge combines sophistication with a carefree spirit, and the result is perhaps the most elegant and breathtaking beach house you’ll ever call home.
Lord Howe Island stretches less than seven miles from end to end, and not even two at its widest point, and yet you can easily spend days here immersed in the beauty, going on walks or strenuous hikes, snorkeling amid colorful reef fish, exploring by bike or kayak, and discovering flora and fauna. A full two-thirds of the island is a national park, and UNESCO declared it and its neighboring islets a World Heritage site in 1988. Because millions of years passed before the first settlers arrived in the 1830s, the wildlife here is unusual, unafraid, and often endemic. Lord Howe Island also counts as one of the best birding destinations in all of Australia.
No more than 400 tourists are allowed on the island at any time—a policy Capella Lodge helps manage—and the island has only 360 residents. Wilderness reigns here and the lodge does not interfere, following green practices that have a low impact on the environment and encouraging the growth and protection of native plants. The lodge works closely with local conservationist and naturalist guide Ian Hutton, who has led efforts to remove invasive species from the island and spearheads an engaging nature program available to lodge guests.
When you reserve your stay through National Geographic, you’ll be treated to sunset drinks at Lovers Bay, the most romantic beach on the island, just footsteps from the lodge. As you look out over the sparkling sea, your personal waiter will serve delightful appetizers crafted in the lodge kitchen that showcase the natural bounty of the island.
As the island's premier property and a leader in sustainable tourism, Capella Lodge, along with its parent company, Baillie Lodges, is deeply involved in a number of environmental policies that are designed to maintain Lord Howe Island’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The lodge employs a comprehensive recycling program, a rainwater cachement system provides about half of the property’s water, and energy is supplemented by solar panels. An electric buggy transports guests to and from the lodge, and bikes are the key mode of transportation on the island.
Capella participates in community conservation initiatives, including reintroducing native plants species to lands that were once used for farming, and they serve on the Lord Howe Island Sustainable Energy Working Group. The lodge works closely with local naturalist and conservationist Ian Hutton to offer engaging interpretive experiences on the island and build awareness about its unique ecosystems.
Condé Naste Traveler U.S. Readers’ Choice Awards, Best Resorts in Australia and New Zealand, 2014
Condé Naste Traveller U.K. The Gold List, 2012 and 2011
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