Warm water cascades down your body, the spray from the outdoor shower making rainbows in the sunshine, as butterflies flit by. You wouldn’t be surprised if a unicorn strolled past. After your luxurious spa treatment, you stop for a divine seafood platter at Pebble Beach. These are the experiences on offer when you stay at qualia, a luxury resort on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.
On the other hand, perhaps you are the type who favours beer and a bite as you gaze over the yachts moored at the marina. However you like to stay and play, Hamilton Island has something for you. Here are some great places to lay your head and indulge your inner gourmand in this little slice of paradise.
The classic Reef View Hotel is a top spot to stay for couples, families or groups of friends, offering glorious views from the glass elevators that glide up the side of the highrise building. The rooms are massive, with beds facing the ocean. Opt for a two-storey Reef Suite, with a private balcony on each floor, for gatherings of friends or bridal parties.
If children are not on your holiday plans, try the adults-only oasis that is the Beach Club. It sits on Catseye Beach, overlooking the Coral Sea, and has a private restaurant and lounge for beachside dining. Gaze at the beach from the infinity-edge pool, or lie in a hammock on the private stretch of sand. The choice is yours.
If luxury is your aim, qualia is the place for you. After all, this upmarket resort has tended to the every need of Taylor Swift, Miranda Kerr, Leo DiCaprio and Gordon Ramsay. It sits on the secluded northern tip of Hamilton Island (entry is via a gate reminiscent of Jurassic Park). Dine in the Long Pavilion or Pebble Beach under the guidance of executive chef Craig Knudsen, with such dishes as reef fish on panzanella salad, followed by rhubarb sorbet with elderflower meringue and vanilla custard. Don’t forget to check out spa qualia, too.
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South-East Asian cuisine is on offer at this funky yet relaxed restaurant with a share-style menu perfect for groups. Executive chef Adam Woodfield’s menu is based on hawker-style street food and includes such delights as the son-in-law eggs with green mango and sweet yellow bean sauce or twice-cooked pork ribs with sweet blood plum tamarind sauce and sesame seeds. Yum!
Head down to the Marina Tavern for a relaxed meal overlooking the marina. Sit inside or on the deck, grab a beer, and be prepared for meals of generous proportions. Choose between three types of parma (chicken, Hawaiian and Mexican), try the beer-battered fish and chips, or tackle the double-patty beef burger. Head there in the evening for live music, karaoke, or trivia, depending on the night.
For something extra special, head to the sophisticated Bommie restaurant in the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, adorned with floor-to-ceiling sculptures by Glenn Murray. Champagne and oysters overlooking the sea? Don’t mind if I do. Executive chef Trent Dawson has created a fresh, modern Australian menu, with such dishes as duck parfait with applewood smoke, puffed quinoa and truffle honey or piccata of reef fish with Moorish spice and clam nage. Can’t decide? Opt for the five-course tasting menu with matching wines.
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