As we drove through the tall, wooden gates set in stone walls, into Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island, I immediately knew that we were in for an amazing few days. Nestled at one end of Hamilton Island, in the heart of Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, Qualia has been a place that I have been determined to stay at since it opened, around ten years ago.
Qualia is one of those ‘bucket list’ destinations. Luxury at its best, set in a tropical paradise with a huge number of activities on offer, a spa that is out of this world and accommodation that has you drooling. Set in stunning tropical vegetation, with views of the spectacular Whitsunday Passage, the rooms are all secluded, private and spacious.
There are three types of Suites or Villas to choose from and the facilities are outstanding. We stayed in the mid-range Windward Pavilion, a one-bedroom Suite overlooking the ocean with a huge living, balcony and deck area, and a plunge pool. The bathroom was to die for – indoor shower, outdoor shower, huge, deep bath – and the living areas were relaxing and fully equipped with everything you could want. It would be very easy to have not left the room at all, the huge daybed was always enticing and difficult to leave; the perfect space to read, write and relax. The tranquillity, serenity and sounds of nature were relaxing and calming, who’d ever want to leave?
But there were things to do, lots of things to do actually. A helicopter ride to experience Whitehaven Beach was top of the list, and an amazing few hours. Seven kilometres of white sand, clear water and secluded beaches make up the stunning Whitehaven Beach, and we enjoyed champagne and nibbles whilst basking in the sun before taking a walk. There was lots of wildlife to see on our trip including whales, sea turtles and a giant stingray as well as numerous birds including very ‘tame’ cockatoos and seagulls.
There are sailing experiences, catamarans to hire, snorkelling and diving trips to explore The Great Barrier Reef and a host of swimming pools and other water activities such as jet skiing and para-sailing to keep you occupied. If you’d rather stay on dry land, there are 20km of walking trails through the Hamilton Island bushland, Go Karts, a golf driving range, target sports and off-road Adventure Tours; and I haven’t even scratched the surface.
If you wish to relax and can drag yourself away from the day bed, the Qualia Spa is outstanding and the treatments are fabulous. We participated in the daily yoga class and the resident Naturopath, Damien, is fantastic and had lots of knowledge and advice to share without being over-powering or judgemental. The massages were fantastic and attention to detail with everything was amazing.
Qualia has its own pools, well equipped gym, library, bar and restaurants as well as its own helipad, so there really is no reason to leave the luxury of your resort, but the whole of Hamilton Island is there to explore and make sure you do if you get the chance. You’ll be given a Golf Buggy for the duration of your stay so that you can get yourself around and the perfect method of transport to head down to the Harbour area – where there are a number of restaurants, shops, pub and a nightclub – and also over to the main resort area, where are a number of restaurants to sample too. Coca Chu (Asian restaurant) was amazing but there are others too!
Which brings me to Qualia’s dining which is an awesome foodie experience. Breakfast can be taken in the restaurant or brought to your room, the Pebble Beach bar and restaurant are open every evening – the lamb for two dish was sensational and my personal favourite, and the Long Pavilion restaurant is open most nights. The Long Pavilion offers an A La Carte menu or an eight course degustation menu with matching wines, again the food was amazing.
Qualia is truly a little slice of heaven, tranquillity and relaxation. Our three night/four day get-away was one of the best resort experiences of my life, and one that I shall always cherish. An out of this world sojourn that was a real treat, and hopefully I’ll be back one day for more of the same! I can’t wait….