The Gold Coast, an hour drive south of Brisbane, is Australia’s glitter strip with sunny beaches, award-winning restaurants and nightclubs galore. The hotels go from over-the-top opulence to family-friendly fun, but all offer a memorable getaway.
By Paul Chai
Whether you are into miles of marble and glass chandeliers or cutting-edge design with a cheeky twist, you will find plenty to enjoy in the hotels of Queensland’s Gold Coast. The twinkling tower blocks have become as much a feature of this area as the sand and surf, and there is a hotel to suit all needs whether that be a romantic weekend, a girls' getaway or a holiday with the kids.
QT Gold Coast
Colourful and fun, with a vintage seaside holiday theme, the QT Gold Coast has loads of personality. Whether it is the cockatoo-shaped lights by the bed or the pin-up girl pictures in the lifts, QT injects whimsy and great design into its accommodation. Rooms face either the mountainous hinterland or the ocean, and the public spaces look fabulous, too. Bazaar, QT's central dining area, is decorated with mosaics while the cool spot to hang, the Stingray Lounge, channels a 1950s lounge and serves cocktails in cut glass and tiki mugs.
Q1 Resort and Spa
Bunk down in the tallest building on the Gold Coast at Q1 Resort and Spa. Just a five-minute walk to Cavill Mall in the heart of Surfers Paradise, Q1 has 78 floors with the 77th floor dedicated to the Skypoint Observation Deck which offers visitors a 360-degree view over Surfers. A one-bedroom unit with a balcony and a large lounge-dining area will put you minutes from the Surfers strip, but if you want a meal closer to home there is Hanazono Teppanyaki on the ground floor while the Seventy7 Café up at Skypoint has the best breakfast outlook in the area.
Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise
Falling short of its rival Q1 by a single floor, the 77-floor Soul is a mix of hotel rooms and lavish apartments, most with huge sliding glass doors so you don’t miss an inch of the killer ocean views. Guests can dine at Hyde Paradiso for oceanfront views, oversize cocktails and mouthwatering Mediterranean food.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort
Situated right on Main Beach in the centre of Surfers Paradise, the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort is built on six hectares (15 acres) of perfectly coiffed gardens and lagoon-sized pools. The rooms are large and bright and decorated in neutral tones and if you are after more, the two-bedroom Pacific Mirage Villas are the perfect option. When it comes to dining, the all-day restaurant Terraces is more than its name suggests: a huge glass cube with indoor waterfalls, bright white furniture and stunning views across the pool. Turn the tropical down a notch in the sleek and sophisticated Pearls Bar which does cocktails and light snacks.
The opulent Palazzo Versace is a riot of white, gold and marble with chandeliers the size of dining tables. This hotel has the trademark Versace boldness with an old-world European twist that is obvious in areas such as the Vanitas restaurant, that has a huge painting in honour of fashion-label founder Gianni Versace, or the hot-pink chairs and dark-wood tables of Le Jardin where guests can take high tea. Rooms are decorated in bright colours with gold flourishes and soft furnishings designed by Versace, or try one of the two- or three-bedroom condominiums with its own plunge pool.
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa
This high-rise stay in central Surfers Paradise offers luxury options for families with 304 rooms set amid waterfalls, lagoons and beaches. Rooms at the Marriott offer floor-to-ceiling windows so you can soak in the beach views, marble bathrooms and contemporary design. Start your day with breakfast at the Chapter & Verse Bar and Lounge situated on a palm-tree laden deck, while lunch might be a seafood buffet at Citrique restaurant.
The Star Gold Coast
The Star Gold Coast, located in the centre of the Gold Coast, was one of the first properties to bring glitz to an area that is now famous for it. This hotel and casino complex, with a skywalk linking it to the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre, offers a huge choice of restaurants: sample the top-notch Japanese at Kiyomi or the Mediterranean flavours of Cucina Vivo. Or head to one of five bars such as the Outdoor Bar or the loud and fun Sports Bar. The nearly 600 rooms shimmer with silvers, blues and bold prints taking centre stage.
From Coolangatta to Broadbeach, the collection of Mantra properties are a great option for families taking a break on the Gold Coast. South of the main Gold Coast strip, the Coolangatta Mantras are near top local surf spots such as Snapper Rocks that are quieter than Main Beach, while up at the Surfers Paradise properties you are in the thick of the action. In the northern suburb of Broadbeach the Mantra properties allow you to stroll the Broadbeach fine dining and shopping strip.