Staying in a hotel is one of the best memories I have as a kid. I’m not sure if it was the endless supply of soap and bubble bath that I stuffed into my bag, or towering a plate of food from the Buffet as if it were my last meal. You felt like royalty, in a place where anything was possible.
These days all I expect from a good hotel is a comfortable bed and a nice shower. It’s when you are surprised by other aspects of a hotel, that you get that feeling back of being a kid in an accommodation wonderland.
So many hotels don’t understand that a guest doesn’t want to feel like a guest. They want to feel as if they’re in an elegant family home, especially during arduous work travel. The QT Hotel in the Gold Coast has achieved this on many levels, with vibrant and warm decor and a youthful exuberance. For the first time in a long time I was greeted with the same excitement I recalled from my childhood, keen to experience and explore the hotel.
The QT group have captured a really unique vibe with their interiors, quite unlike any other hotel I’ve visited, almost quirky but remaining sophisticated. Thos familiar with the Sydney venue will be surprised by the light colour palette and soft furnishings reminiscent of a classic 1980’s Queensland beach house. Pull the curtain aside and guests are greeted with views of beach and ocean with the hotel’s pool below. Location wise it doesn’t get much better, being only a short stroll to Cavill Avenue, but still far enough away to avoid the noise that comes with it at night. For those looking to escape that part of the Gold Coast all together (myself included), the QT is more than adequately set up to entertain you for an entire weekend with a great spa, three serious dining experiences and the cities best cocktail bar within the complex.
Yamagen Japanese restaurant, established well before QT moved in is home to some serious Sake Masters and highly professional Chefs that will light up the restaurant in flames whilst you sip some cold sake and enjoy very fresh raw and cooked food that rivals any high end Japanese restaurant in Melbourne and Sydney. Resident Sake Master Miakawa will happily walk you through his list of high end cold sakes whilst his chefs blow you away with their knife handling and cooking skills presented via Teppanyaki format. Everyone has been to a good Japanese restaurant, but after Yamagen you will end up trying to get photos of yourself with Miakawa as if he were a celebrity.
Obviously one needs a cleanser after such an impressive dinner, so its only polite to show face inside Surfers Paradise most popular cocktail bar StingRay Lounge, a Californian Oasis which is literally next door to Yamagen and again within the Hotel. StingRay showcases the Gold Coast’s finest crowd and manages to play every single song that you want to hear (well it did the night I was there), creating a great atmosphere for socialising.
StringRay is most famous for its tequila selection, and well known local Bar Manager Jordan Melling will whip up the best traditional Margarita you will have ever have, amongst a raft of other interesting and delicious cocktails. If you’re celebrating, or just a general boss, try the high end Tequila Herradura, on the rocks. This mind expander will turn any tequila hater into a lover immediately if not sooner. If you’re trying to back up from a big session from the night before duck in for a few Quesadillas or a Wagyu hamburger with Shultz smoked bacon to line the stomach before the night kicks off again.
For me the most exciting part of the hotel is Bazaar. QT call it an interactive market place, as it’s light years away from the unspoken “buffet” in so many ways. At breakfast, lunch or dinner guest are treated to a high quality, delicious Smörgåsbord of various cuisines cooked by professional chefs. The service is on par with Michelin star restaurants, but without the snobbery. If you have a sweet tooth, the array of deserts in petit four format will blow your mind. There is even a sundae station if you’re feeling a bit sassy.
Diners are encouraged to interact and speak with the chefs at each of the different cuisine stations. The friendly chefs will explain each dish they have created, where it’s from and what you should eat it with. In a world where everyone seems to be cutting costs, QT make sure the best quality ingredients are put on your plate, and that you are not just eating a meal for the sake of eating.
To be blunt, Bazaar is what would bring me back to this hotel. It simply makes you happy when you sit down in a restaurant and have the best service, food and wine, for a exceptional price (if you are planning to eat well). I bizarrely felt at home when I dined there 4 times in one weekend, and dream of finding a similar experience in some of the hotels in Sydney and Melbourne.
I think it’s worth noting the importance of good staff in the hospitality industry, they really can make or break an experience. The staff at QT Gold Coast are excellent, friendly with their own unique personalities and style, but maintaining a level of professionalism expected at a 5 star hotel. As I said earlier you could easily spend the whole time inside the QT hotel but if you want some fresh air Surfers Paradise is a stone’s throw, or you can grab one of the hotel’s bikes and cruise down to the Marina Mirage Farmers Markets where producers passionately display their locally grown foods.
QT Gold Coast is a sensational hotel, that truly feels like home. They’ve managed to create a really unique sense of experience from both their accommodation and dining options. When I left, I did so with the knowledge that’d I’d definitely be back, which surprised me following my last trip to the Gold Coast. Forget the stereotypes or what you’ve experienced at the Gold Coast because the QT is a real highlight and certainly worth your consideration next time you’re planning a domestic escape.