Christmas came early this week for Swell Lodge, a tiny eco-lodge nestled inside the Christmas Island National Park, winning the global ‘Luxury Wilderness Lodge of the Year’ category in the 2021 World Luxury Hotel Awards from almost 1000 participants.

This global award is a welcome boost at a time when many regional tourism operators fear that the unprecedented increase in domestic travel during the pandemic may soon be about to collapse, as international travel finally resumes towards the end of this year.

I think the cat’s out of the bag now though for Christmas Island,” says Swell Lodge owner Chris Bray, “enough people have finally experienced all the incredible natural wonders that we have here, that we’re firmly on map. This award has really helped highlight that Swell Lodge and Christmas Island truely is something special – not just in Australia, but globally.”.

The ‘Glapagos of Australia’

A tropical paradise closer to Indonesia than the Australian mainland, for the past 18 months Christmas Island has been as overseas as Australians have been allowed to travel. Record number of tourists have been visiting the island, sometimes called the ‘Galapagos of Australia’ for its rare and unusual birds, world-class snorkelling, turtle-nesting beaches, jungle waterfalls, blowholes and the island’s famous red crabs.

Located right on the sea cliff, the pair of glass-fronted, solar-powered eco-chalets were painstakingly built by the owner Chris Bray and a team of friends, with everything carried in along a walking trail at the end of a 4WD track through the jungle. It took three years to complete both eco-chalets and not long after, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the lodge to close for 6 months. “It’s been a long journey,” says Mr Bray, “but Christmas Island has remained COVID-free the whole time, and travellers are going to continue to look at us as a super-exotic yet super-safe destination for years to come.”

Swell Lodge winning the global-level award of Luxury Wilderness Lodge is testimony to the extraordinary vision and dedication owner Chris Bray has put into creating this uniquely secluded eco-lodge right on the coast, inside one of the world’s most incredible national parks.” says Anton Perold, Managing Director of The World Luxury Awards.

Swell Lodge made headlines last year with the success of their unique crab-sweep vehicle attachment which safely nudges aside the island’s famous red crabs during their annual migration, which is likely to commence again soon, along with whale shark season.

World-class Excellence

Recognising establishments for world-class excellence, the awards are presented on a country, regional, continent and global level. “Many factors play a part in determining these top global winners – brand, location and overall guest satisfaction as feedback via online reviews, amongst other criteria.” says Jana Stoman, Executive Manager of The World Luxury Awards.

Only able to accomodate a total of four guests, the highly exclusive Swell Lodge is the island’s only all-inclusive accomodation and includes daily guided tours and a private chef.