Travel blog on one-of-a-kind travel experiences

Nostalgic surfer chic meets Miami catwalk cool

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Justine Tyerman discovers the extraordinary QT Gold Coast which makes other hotels literally pale by comparison…

Element of surprise

You are never alone in the elevators at QT Gold Coast. They are populated by beach babes in a variety of poses befitting the 1950s. Despite travelling in the lifts dozens of times, I was still caught off-guard when the doors opened to reveal a couple playing leap-frog in the sand or a bevy of guests taking selfies with a bikini-clad girl.

Elevator QT Gold Coast

The elevators were populated by beach babes in a variety of poses befitting the 1950s

Elevator QT Gold Coast

The elevators were populated by beach babes in a variety of poses befitting the 1950s

The element of surprise infuses the whole ethos of the hotel.

Hallway QT Gold Coast

Even the hallways are eye-catching at QT Gold Coast
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Designers have thrown the traditional hotel concept out the window and opted to startle and astonish guests rather than to sooth and calm them.

The triffid-esque mobile mural in the entrance lobby was my introduction to the establishment. I was hypnotised by the fronds of the giant technicolour plant that seemed to reach out towards me and lure me in.

Lobby QT Gold Coast

The sun-filled lobby at QT Gold Coast
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Lobby QT Gold Coast

… and so colourful
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

At the reception desk, there’s a marked absence of dark suits and ties. Team QT are super-friendly, dressed in casual attire and bright colours in keeping with the beach vibe.

And there’s nothing muted or minimalist about the decor either. Why go for subtle and subdued when you can have giant yellow, red and burnt orange lightshades and outside furniture that looks like a kaleidoscope has exploded in the courtyard.

Lobby QT Gold Coast

Giant lights hang above the concierge desk and lobby
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Delightfully outlandish

My ocean-view room on the 17th floor was delightfully outlandish. The mirrors were shaped like daisies, the chairs were shocking pink and bright orange, the hair dryer was masquerading as a psychedelic garden, there was an edible beach scene on the table and a luminous cockatoo beside the bed.

Cockatoo

The luminous cockatoo on my bedside table

hair dryer

The psychedelic hair dryer in my room

Bathroom QT Gold Coast

A sea-view bathroom at QT Gold Coast
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Balcony Suite

A balcony suite with a fabulous view of Surfers’ Paradise at
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

The view from the balcony was also astonishing but nature took all the credit for that. Spray was streaming off the crests of perfect aqua-green waves in the late afternoon sun creating a multitude of tiny rainbows.

Impatient to set (bare) foot on the famous golden sand of Surfers’ Paradise, I slipped into my togs, grabbed the Rocky-style robe from the bathroom and strolled a couple of minutes to the beach.

The sand was sensuously warm from the rays of the mid-winter sun and the sea was 23 degrees… in late June. At home in New Zealand the landscape was blanketed with ice and snow – here, I doubt they even know what a frost looks like.

Beach Gold Coast

There’s no such thing as winter at Surfers’ Paradise on the Gold Coast

Delicious cuisine

That evening I dined at Yamagen, a 30-year-old Gold Coast institution which specialises in izakaya dining with kushiyaki, sushi, sashimi and cocktails. It’s an ultra-cool restaurant where old-school traditional Japanese traditions blend with innovative modern ideas. It was sensational.

Bar at Yamagen

The bar at Yamagen
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

I awoke to a golden sunrise flooding my room with light and lingered on the balcony watching the early surfers and paddle boarders.

Breakfast is never a big deal for me, but the colourful array at Bazaar bedazzled me. The restaurant is designed to resemble a bustling open marketplace with an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine and chatty chefs in open kitchens. My plate was soon overflowing. Who cares if the flavours argued with each other? They were all delicious.

The kitchen at Bazaar

The kitchen at Bazaar
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Breakfast at Bazaar

The colourful array of breakfast beverages at Bazaar
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

A chef at work at Bazaar

A chef at work at Bazaar
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Breakfast at Bazaar

Breakfast at Bazaar
© LANEWAY Photography MARK LANE

I spent the day by the pool, on the beach and in the Jacuzzi contemplating the sweetness of life in this winterless land.

QT Gold Coast

The pool, Jacuzzi and patio from my 17th floor room
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Hotel a popular venue

Later in the day, I met with Kimberley Boudelot, director of sales at QT Gold Coast who showed me around the establishment.

The hotel has 297 spacious guest rooms with ocean and hinterland views including 19 gorgeous ocean view suites, three restaurants, a snack bar/cafe, day spa, nail bar and pool bar open during summer.

Stingray Bar QT Gold Coast

Stingray Bar is a chic gathering place for locals and visitors alike
© QT Gold Coast photographer Andy Reid

Platter at Stingray Bar

A platter at Stingray Bar
© LANEWAY Photography MARK LANE

QT Gold Coast is also a popular venue for conferences and events. With 15 versatile spaces from the huge ballroom to informal outdoor spaces, the hotel can cater for up to 750 delegates.

Opened six and a half years ago, the hotel is the first of nine hotels in Australia and New Zealand born under the QT brand, the most recent being QT Queenstown which opened late last year… QT in QT!

“All the hotels are very different in nature and take on their surroundings,” Kimberley said in response to my questions about QT’s unconventional interior design.

QT Gold Coast’s theme is nostalgic surfer chic meets Miami catwalk cool while Sydney is edgy intrigue and city swing, Melbourne is industrial chic and Falls Creek brings boutique luxury to the snowy slopes.

“Across the Tasman, QT Wellington is all about art, design, curiosities and a dash of the absurd while Queenstown is plush playtime luxe.”

Architect Nic Graham and stylist Anna Roberts are responsible for the décor of the hotels. I can’t wait to see what they came up with for QT Perth which opened on August 1.

“The hotels are anything but ordinary. Everything extraordinary. An eclectic mix of design and art, style and luxury… and a touch of quirk,” said Kimberley.

Being a Kiwi (New Zealander) skier who’s keen on quirk, QT in QT has my name on it.

FACTBOX:

Justine Tyerman was a guest of QT Gold Coast and Monday Agency.

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About Author

Justine Tyerman is an award-winning New Zealand journalist, travel writer and sub-editor with 18 years' experience in newspaper and freelance work. She has worked as a news reporter, feature writer, designer of an award-winning Newspapers in Education programme and sub-editor on local, national, business, education and international desks.

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