Contributor/ Sophie Coughlan
Best Known For
Scooping a plethora of awards from Conde Nast Traveller UK and US. qualia is regularly hailed as one of the most breathtaking resorts in Australia, and boasts quite possibly the most striking welcome experience on the globe.
The Good Stuff
From the moment you step out of your chauffeur-driven transfer from Hamilton Island, waiting staff offer a glass of champagne to enjoy with some of the best views you are ever likely to lay your eyes on during check in. Floor to ceiling windows reveal kookaburras and cockatoos casually perched on nearby branches, and the dramatic island landscapes rise out of the water as far as the eye can see.
Laidback luxe; although the resort feels casual and relaxed, with room rates that high it’s expected that you’ll dress the part. It’s impossible to feel anything but carefree whilst staying here, so expect to see other guests enjoying themselves an awful lot, indulging in champagne aplenty and ten course tasting menus with no regard for the damage it’ll do to their bank accounts.
Inside the Hotel – 10/10
The rooms, or rather pavilions, are outrageously gorgeous, all boasting the same jaw-dropping views from the bedrooms, bathrooms and balconies. If you’re not lucky enough to have bagged one with its own private plunge pool, drag yourself away from the bedroom view and make your way down to the pool for cocktails and a light lunch. Pose for the perfect Instagram shot to make your colleagues green with envy and rest on the edge of the infinity pool, looking into the ocean-filled distance and sipping on a pina colada.
Outside the Hotel – 10/10
Situated on the most northern point of Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef, there is no better place to dive and snorkel with colourful corals, tropical fish, manta rays, turtles, dolphins and even whale sharks – an excuse to buy a waterproof GoPro if there ever was one. qualia offers complimentary water sports from Pebble Beach – the perfect place to learn to sail a Catamaran should you be so inclined. If you can force yourself to leave the warm, turquoise sea before shrivelling like a prune, there are also unmissable regular boat trips to the world famous Whitehaven Beach, where the white silica sand squeaks as you walk and thousands – literally thousands – of butterflies lazily float overhead.
For those after more land-based holiday experiences, your complimentary golf buggy enables you to zoom around the whole island at a leisurely 15mph (well, you are supposed to be taking it easy on holiday, after all) and enjoy breathtaking sunsets at One Tree Hill, relax on Catseye Beach or head to the golf driving range. Want another animal fix? Head to WILD LIFE Hamilton where you can get up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies and alligators, and even have breakfast with the resident koalas (if you can handle the 6.30am wake up call).
Image courtesy of qualia