InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Review

Gold Coast luxury resort

InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Review

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intercontinental sanctuary cove
Photos: Christina Pfeiffer

Stand in the lobby of the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove and look past the fountains, Roman rotunda and swimming pools into the lush tropical gardens and you’ll immediately understand what makes this place special.


The setting of gushing fountains and green foliage wrapped around a grand Queenslander manor-style home are the distinguishing features at InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort that sets it apart from the competition.

Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove resort

Does the Great Gatsby live here?

I call it a “home” because there’s a distinct feeling that the resort was designed as a playground for the wealthy and famous. Yet, the 25-year-old resort exudes a down-to-earth grandeur with such grace and style you instantly feel relaxed.

As I wander through the gardens, Scot Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby pops to mind. I can just imagine Jay Gatsby (or Leonardo DiCaprio, for that matter) throwing open the doors and strolling down to the marina or golf course or having a party around the beach lagoon pool.

If Jay Gatsby lived in Queensland, I would pick InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort as the kind of place he would choose as his main home.

Sanctuary Cove International

Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove

Espresso Lamingtons and pumpkin scones

A spread of coffee-inspired goodies is hard to resist at The Fireplace restaurant in the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort.

First the waitress brings out a trio of tasty finger sandwiches and serves them onto our plates.

There’s a beetroot-cured salmon with baby cos and Spanish onion sandwiched between cream cheese and caper spread charcoal bread. Yum! And smoked beef strip lion with triple cream brie cheese from Witches Chase in Tamborine Mountain, gherkin and red onion and apple relish.

Sanctuary Cove International

Sanctuary Cove International

Sanctuary Cove International

My favourite is the Applewood smoked chicken garnished with baby spinach and fruit chutney. Yes, please, we’ll have second helpings.

A sip of my Espresso Martini (elegantly served in a long-stemmed cocktail glass) and I’m floating in coffee heaven.

After a couple of smoked pumpkin scones, a dainty fruit tartlet and a bite of the coffee custard eclairs, I’m so full I’m sure I’ve left no room for the Earl Grey macarons and Espresso lamingtons.

High Coffee at the InterContinental is a new experience that distinguishes InterContinental Sanctuary Cove from a host of other Gold Coast luxury resorts.

The Fireplace is also open for dinner and there are plenty of other restaurants within walking distance in the Marine Village.

I caught up with InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort’s Food and Beverage Director Roberto Salicio, who worked in London before taking up the position in Queensland.

Here’s what Roberto has to say about the Gold Coast.

Is the service good?

The staff at InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort are friendly and helpful. The concierge team is on the ball and eager to help with most requests.

I caught up with Head Concierge Christian Espino to find out what happens behind the scenes to keep guests happy.

Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove resort

Read about some of the unusual requests Christian has handled at InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort

Watch this video interview with Christian for a peek inside InterContinental Sanctuary Cove


What about the rooms?

Most of the 243 guest rooms have views of the canals and gardens. Rooms are stylishly furnished, comfortable and spacious.

The Manor Suite is the best room in the house. It has its own dining table for eight, a small kitchen, lounge, four-poster bed, spa and private sauna.

Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove

What’s there to do?

Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove resort

Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove

For a relaxing time, InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is pretty self-contained. Fancy a hit of golf? The Palms, Sanctuary Cove’s championship golf course, recently had an $8.8 million overhaul by international designer Ross Watson.

Have a massage at Champions Day Spa, wander down to the marina and check out the boats, have a game of chess on the giant chess board in the garden or relax on the man-made beach by the lagoon pool.

Sanctuary Cove is a waterside community and the Marine Village has a decent selection of boutiques, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. There’s a chocolate shop and a Village Theatre.

What can be improved?

Sanctuary Cove is in the northern end of the Gold Coast and about 21km to Surfers Paradise (about 30 minutes driving time). This isn’t a problem if you have your own car but as the resort doesn’t have a shuttle bus, getting into the heart of the Gold Coast is a fairly hefty taxi fare.

The Bottom Line

High Coffee (Friday and Saturday from 12:30pm) costs $35 per person including a coffee or tea. Espresso Martinis are extra ($10) and Chemex coffee is also an extra $10. Parking is complimentary (valet parking $15 a day).

Book direct with InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort or

Check the latest prices for InterContinental Sanctuary Cove here

Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort

intercontinental sanctuary


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