Photo Credit: t3rmin4t0r via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: t3rmin4t0r via Compfight cc

I have to confess that I aspire to stay at the Saffire Resort, Freycinet, Tasmania one day but thought you would be interested in a good news story about the resort and its impact on tourism in the Freycinet area generally. We have stayed at the Freycinet Lodge and the general area is terrific – Swansea is also well worth a visit.

It is good that the resort, albeit beyond the means of many of us, is helping promote Tasmania generally and the Freycinet area in particular.

Resort beckons A-list HANNAH MARTIN | September 25, 2011 12.00am

EXCLUSIVELY POPULAR: The Saffrire Resort, on Tasmania’s East Coast.
CRICKET legend Ricky Ponting and tennis ace Alicia Molik are among the big names who have stayed at the exclusive Saffire resort on Tasmania’s East Coast.

Fifteen months after opening, the resort has confirmed a swag of international film stars, Australian TV actors and radio hosts have stayed at the award-winning venue.

Oprah Winfrey’s right-hand lady Gayle King is also among the famous faces who have stayed at the Freycinet accommodation.

Saffire general manager Matt Casey couldn’t share any other names from the guest list, but said the resort had “enjoyed the company of many high-profile people”.

In its short lifetime Saffire has snagged several awards and was recently named Gourmet Traveller magazine’s best new resort.

Mr Casey said occupancy rates have been “fantastic”, with the resort 60 per cent full on average during the last high season.

“From December through to April the resort was often fully booked, especially over weekends and public holidays,” he said.

Most guests stay at least two nights and the average duration is expected to rise to three nights as the high season starts next month.

The resort has 20 rooms, ranging in price from $1450 to $2450 a night, with all-inclusive food and drinks packages on offer for an extra $300.

Mr Casey said the entire resort could be booked out for special occasions and private use for $39,000 a night, including all meals, drinks, resort activities and spa therapies.

He said Saffire had been booked exclusively for “several” events since it opened.

“In most cases these have been weddings or incentive groups,” he said.

Exclusivity means you can only dine at the highly acclaimed restaurant if you’re a guest and signs along the driveway warn stickybeaks they’re not welcome.

“One of the key facts in the value proposition for this type of lodging is that it is exclusive to the guests that reside here,” Mr Casey said.

“We truly wish our guests treat Saffire as their home.”

For $2000 guests can arrive at the resort by helicopter or for just under $500 they can commandeer a chauffeur-driven sedan.

About 2 per cent of guests have arrived by helicopter and 7 per cent have hired chauffeur-driven cars.

All rooms at Saffire come with free access to the mini-bar and a range of activities including a visit to the local oyster farm, lookout and winery.

“It’s certainly a focus of Saffire to create win-win benefits for the local community and Tasmanian tourism industry at large,” Mr Casey said.

“We create very intimate and unique experiences between our guests and the local area.

[They] get to meet many of the local identities and learn the stories of our produce, our suppliers, our natural environment and the history of this precinct.”

Mr Casey said guests were given information about places to visit during their journey to Saffire.

“And we source produce from all around Tasmania from the scotch and vodka in our mini-bar and our tea selection through to a portfolio of over 60 Tasmanian wines and our internationally renowned meats, seafood, truffles and cheeses,” he said.

In the past year the resort has featured in several high-profile international publications such as the New York Times, Vogue and Gourmet Traveller.

Mr Casey said these magazines had a potential readership of 45 million people worldwide.

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said Saffire was attracting very wealthy tourists who had never before been interested in the state.

“The reality is, prior to Saffire we just weren’t getting a look in,” he said.

“Yes, the guests are exclusive, they’ve got extremely deep pockets and we’re getting them interested in Tasmania.”

Mr Martin said the challenge was to encourage these visitors to travel elsewhere in the state.

The hype about Saffire is generating interest in the Freycinet region, not just from those shelling out the big bucks for a night at the resort.

“Some might not be able to afford to stay at Saffire for a night but they’re looking into the area and they find there are plenty of other places to stay,” he said.

The resort is looking to recruit a range of staff heading into the high season, including a food and beverage manager.

Nearly all employees live at the staff accommodation, in 10 self-contained and fully-furnished log cabins, about 10 minutes from the resort.

Have you been to the resort perhaps? Have you been to Freycinet National Park and what did you think?