FOR AN EXOTIC AND MEMORABLE VALENTINE’S “GETAWAY” THIS YEAR WE THOUGHT WE WOULD ESCAPE THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WINTER WITH A TRIP TO ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST MAGICAL SETTINGS, THE GREAT BARRIER REEF OFF THE NORTHERN AUSTRALIAN COAST, AND THE ULTRA-LUXURIOUS QUALIA RESORT.
Just over a year ago, qualia was named “best in the world” in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards, described as “sheer perfection” and “flawless”. (The resort is “deliberately spelt with a lower case ‘q’ as it is a reflection of the relaxed, understated nature of this property”.)
The first Australian property in history to top the prestigious 25-year-old survey, it also became one of only four winners to ever receive a flawless score, tallying a complete 100 in all categories including rooms, service, food, location, design and activities.
Located on the sun-drenched northern tip of Hamilton Island, and set among native eucalyptus trees, qualia offers truly breathtaking views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and Coral Sea. The resort was established 10 years ago when Hamilton Island Enterprises bought the island and, according to chairman Sandy Oatley, developed the vision of creating “a luxury oasis that maximised the sheer beauty of the idyllic location with a standard of service that was uniquely Australian, yet that would meet and exceed the expectations of the most discerning travellers from around the world”. To that end, its facilities include 60 elegant one-bedroom pavilions “combining a sense of space, openness and harmony that draws the outside in”, with either a sundeck or private infinity edge plunge pool; as well as a beach house, with main bedroom and en-suite, spacious entertaining area with large flat-screen TV with surround sound, 10-person dining area, private full-sized swimming pool and separate guesthouse.
Other communal recreational amenities include two infinity-edged pools, two bars and exclusive restaurants, a private dining room, a library, a fitness centre and the Spa qualia, offering an array of “unique, indigenous Australian treatments”, Roman baths and an open-air yoga and meditation pavilion.
Guests have full access to Hamilton Island’s yacht club and an 18-hole championship golf course on neighbouring Dent Island. Just a five-minute ferry ride away, Hamilton Island Golf Club was designed by five-times British Open champion Peter Thomson (of Thomson Perrett) and is the only 18-hole championship golf course in Australia occupying its own island. Also available is a private, scenic helicopter flight, a wide range of water sports, diving or snorkelling, beach drop-offs and reef tours. Hamilton Island can be accessed directly from all east coast international gateway cities in less than three hours.
www.qualia.com.au / www.hamiltonislandgolfclub.com.au