When asked by QT, one of Australia’s coolest hotel chains, whether I’d be interested in flying to the Queensland to experience their QT Gold Coast hotel for a weekend of eating, drinking, relaxation and beachside fun? The answer was simple – “yes”. And on that Friday evening, after a short 1hr flight from Sydney, I was in a car chatting Android vs Apple with my cheerful driver en route to the heart of Surfers Paradise to commence my stay at the hotel.
The Wow Factor
Aside from a well manicured garden, I couldn’t spot any obvious signs of grandeur, as my car approached the hotel. The building’s exterior simply blended in with the typical Gold Coast high-rise architecture common throughout the neighbourhood. The building’s interior on-the-other hand, was an entirely different story.
As soon as I stepped through the entrance any misconceptions of mediocrity were immediately dispelled. The interior of the QT was a visual delight. Walking through the lobby, all I wanted to do was stand and stare. If you’ve never heard the phrase “design hotel”, all you need to do is take a quick stroll through the foyer of the QT Gold Coast and it immediately all makes sense.
The hotel’s aesthetic combines sleek contemporary styling, with a fun 60’s-inspired beach vibe. Every fixture, finish and furnishing is meticulously executed. Features include rich timbers, bright modern furniture pieces, the nostalgic touch of some funky retro elements and even a mesmerising digital artwork statement piece thrown in the mix. The exceptionally curated mash-up of old, new and eccentric, creates a refreshingly fun environment.
Time to Eat
After being wowed by the spectacle of the hotel’s design and mentally unwound by a couple of pre-dinner brews, it was time to grab a bite at QT’s Yamagen Japanese restaurant. Yamagen is a Gold Coast culinary institution, having existed in the QT building for many years prior to QT opening its doors. Unlike the decor of the rest of the hotel, the Yamagen restaurant has maintained its authentic Japanese look and feel.
After being seated, sushi master Yoshi was out back slicing up the fish, whilst restaurant manager Miakawa was hanging out at our table serving up an impromptu lesson in the art of sake tasting.
Miakawa’s Sake Fact 1#
The reason people drink their sake warm is to mask the taste of a bad sake. Always buy good sake and always drink it cold.
After the first course of sushi, seafood and tempura, it was time for teppanyaki. Our table’s teppanyaki chef put on a show masterfully chopping and tossing our food around with blade skills reminiscent of a samurai warrior. The food was sumptuous and the service was attentive (and thanks to manager Miakawa it was also educational).
Overall my favourite dish was the Tempura Moreton Bay Bug; a wonderful fusion between Japanese and Australian cuisine.
After a feast of Japanese food and sake there was only one honourable thing left to do, which was say goodbye to the antique samurai warrior statue sitting in the corner and head to QT’s Stingray Lounge for a nightcap.
After a couple of cheeky gin and tonics it was time to retire to bed, but this would not be the final encounter with the Stingray Lounge…
Room with a View
After a big night of fun, piercing rays of sunlight beaming through my window, are usually an unwelcome sight. However, when staying in an east facing room in an upper floor of the QT Gold Coast, it’s quite the opposite. Waking up to the glorious autumn sun rising over a tranquil Pacific ocean, was quite a blissful moment. I relished in my previous night’s decision not to draw the curtains before bed.
With a clear mind (the effects of the previous night’s beer, sake and gin having worn-off) I got a chance to properly inspect the QT King Ocean Room that I was sleeping in. Similar to the foyer, the funky, designer feel also extends into the hotel rooms. Additionally, if you find that you’ve fallen in love with any items in your room such as the striped beach towels, or if your QT King bed was so comfortable that you want one for yourself, there’s no need to just stare them, many items in the room can actually be purchased.
No matter how much pleasure I took in admiring all the cool pieces that made up the room, the real icing on cake was hanging out on my private balcony and gazing out at the ocean waves as they gently rolled onto the sun-soaked shore.
Breakfast at Bazaar
The best thing about breakfast dining at QT’s Bazaar, is I could eat almost any breakfast food I could think of. Bacon, eggs, pastries, Chinese dumplings, fruit, toast? Done. Choose your own omelette ingredient while the chef cooks it for it you? No problem. It’s all there. Most people would call this a buffet, but the QT aren’t most people, they refer to Bazaar as an “interactive marketplace”. Either way, I definitely walked out of that place satisfied and well nourished.
Next stop, spa treatment. If you’re like me and don’t fully understand the meaning of “spa treatment” and the word “pamper” has never existed in your vocabulary, there’s nothing to worry about. I had 20 mins in the steam room followed by a 1 hr massage, left there feeling as relaxed as tranquilised rhinoceros.
After being touched by the healing hands of my massage therapist, it was time to head out of the hotel, spend some time at the beach and then back in the evening for a drink at the QT’s Stingray Lounge.
The QT describes the Stingray Lounge as having a “luxe baja vibe”. In addition to all the standard options you’d find at an upmarket cocktail bar, Stingray has 45-50 different tequila and mezcal varieties on offer. I was lucky enough to join Bartender Jordan Melling, Gold Coast’s master of mezcal, on a tequila tasting session, as he schooled us on how to properly appreciate tequila.
I’ve slammed many tequila shots in my time and just the thought of it often makes me gag. It turns out that the standard cheap and nasty tequila you find at your local bar, is just that; cheap and nasty. After sampling the likes the of Herradura tequila range it was quickly learned that a fine tequila is actually a delicious stand-alone drink. It’s a drink to be respected, sipped and savoured just like you would do with a fine whisky.
Bazaar Interactive Marketplace Round II
After a few tequilas it was back to Bazaar for a dinner time feast, and just like breakfast, the
buffet’s interactive marketplace’s options were incredibly vast. Whether you feel like meat, seafood, stir fry, salad there’s so much to choose from. Just remember to save some room for some post dinner beverages from Stingray.
Back to The Stingray Lounge
The appeal of Surfers Paradise’ nightlife has been somewhat tarnished over the years. Everyone has heard a cringeworthy story or two about some debaucherous misadventures which have taken place along the infamous Cavil Avenue strip. Contrary to the reputation of the suburb, QT’s Stingray Lounge, whilst being located in Surfer’s Paradise, is a much welcome refuge from the calamity of Cavil Ave. It attracts a good crowd and a creates a fun atmosphere. Whether staying in the hotel or not, Stingray Lounge is my first choice for a Saturday night drink in Surfers Paradise.
On my flight home, reflecting upon the fun weekend that was, I began to think of the reasons why my stay at the QT Gold Coast was so enjoyable. Was it my room’s ocean view? The short stroll to the beach? The relaxing massage? The cool furniture? The mouthwatering food? The king sized bed? All these elements were great, but the thing that really made it special was the vibe and energy that the QT Gold Coast exhibits.
The character of the QT Gold Coast is quirky and chic. It’s glamorous, whilst playful. It’s sophisticated, yet unpretentious. They’ve delivered on all the things that you would expect from an upmarket hotel, and they’ve added that extra QT twist. It’s a great place to relax and unwind and I’d highly recommend to stay at the QT Gold Coast when planning a trip to that area.