- Style Seaside safari, barefoot luxury
- Setting Cape Range coastal dunes
RUNNER-UP: THE GREATEST OUTDOORS – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013
Fringed by coruscating coral and lapped by the lusciously warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sal Salis is a remote, beachside bush camp nestled snugly in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park near Ningaloo Reef. Sleep under canvas, dine under the stars and spend long, wonder-filled days underwater mingling with the manta rays, whale sharks and sparkling shoals of fish that also call this remarkable place home.
Need to know
- Rooms Nine tents, including one family tent.
- Rates Double rooms from $1194.89 (AU$1,318), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
- More details Rates include all meals, a selection of drinks, snorkelling equipment and guided activities (snorkelling, kayaking and gorge walks in the Cape Range National Park). There’s an AU$150 night supplement for family tent 5 when occupied only by two.
- Facilities Library, snorkelling gear. In rooms: 500-threadcount organic cotton bedlinen, hand-made native-herb soap, eco-friendly toiletries, ensuite with Nature Loo (composting toilet) and hand-pumped shower, fan, hammock. All power is solar-generated and there is no WiFi access or mobile phone reception.
- Poolside There's no pool at Sal Salis except the pristine marine wonderland on your doorstep.
- Check–out 11am, but flexible. Check-in, 2pm.
Children Sal Salis welcomes kids aged four and over and can provide extra beds for AU$365 a child a night, when sharing.
- Hotel closed The camp is closed from 16 January–15 March 2013 inclusive; in the case of unscheduled closure (the odd cyclone, say), a full refund is given.
- Eco‐friendly It's not every hotel that has composting toilets or relies exclusively on solar power. Sal Salis also manages water tightly and does not allow any waste to enter into the neighbouring Park's fragile ecosystem.
- Also There’s a minimum two-night stay. If you’re planning an intimate beach wedding, hire out the whole camp and throw a romantic reception on the deck of the main lodge, lit by lanterns with ocean views.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Set in the dunes about 30 metres from the sea, the nine spacious tents are all perched on individual wooden platforms with ensuites at the back and a private deck out front (jostle with visiting kangaroos for the shade). Tents 1 to 3 are at the same level as the main camp, with 4, 5 and 6 higher on the dunes – giving a better view of the sea but slightly further away. Our top tips are 1 or 5 for maximum privacy as they only have one neighbour. The family tent (number 5) comes with a semi-enclosed extended deck, ideal for either families (it can fit two swag beds for kids) or honeymooners who fancy a larger lounge. Although comfortable, this is ‘wild bush luxury’, so don’t expect all mod cons.
- Packing tips Designer board shorts, your favourite Crocs and a fish-spotter's manual.
- Also Swim, snorkel or kayak out to Ningaloo Reef, a teeming rainbow of fish, dolphins, turtles and spawning corals just metres from shore. It’s the best place in the world to swim with whale sharks, huge but hippie-peaceful beasts that migrate past from April to July (the hotel can hook you up with local boat trips to see them, at extra cost). You can also swim with manta rays and spot humpback whales (July to September). On shore, stroll the pure white beaches or opt for a guided walk in the Cape Range National Park, a wild hinterland of rock, gorges and desert.
Food and drink at Sal Salis
- Hotel restaurant Guests dine together, hosted by staff, in the intimate main lodge, decked out with driftwood and shells. But just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to eat beans on toast; in fact, you’re more likely to be feasting on teriyaki emu rice paper rolls, baked Exmouth ruby snapper with wild lime beurre blanc or grilled lamb with blackberry sauce. Chefs whip up bush-influenced fare using local ingredients whenever possible.
- Dress code Bush basics not bling – pack Steve Irwin-style shorts and fleeces, rather than fancy threads.
- Top table Swapping stories round the communal table is all part of the fun here, but if you fancy romantic dining à deux, ask to eat out at the little lantern-lit table atop a nearby dune under the stars.
- Last orders Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am; lunch from noon to 3pm and dinner from 6.30pm till late.
- Room service There’s no room service, but the main lodge dining area is just a short walk away.
- Hotel bar Help yourself to soft drinks, wine, beer and spirits from the informal bar in the main lounge.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details