From urban chic to rural hip, Queensland’s luxury resorts and apartments continue to push the boundaries. It’s no wonder Australia’s sunshine state attracts huge numbers of visitors each year. Besides the world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, Queensland has gorgeous white sandy beaches and perfect sunny weather. There’s an abundance of island resorts, exciting city destinations, dusty outback towns, lush tropical rainforests and abundant wildlife. Here are three diverse stunning locations that represent Queensland at its luxurious best.
Q1, Gold Coast – A futuristic sanctuary in the sky
The gleaming elevator doors slide open and in a mere 42 seconds, like a scene from Star Trek, I am transported from the ground floor to the 77th floor of the world’s tallest residential tower. At the observation deck, the sky is awash with lilac hue while far below me, the surrounding lights from the high-rise buildings of the Gold Coast twinkle in the dusk.
At 322.5m and 80 storeys tall – taller than the Eiffel Tower – the 526-unit Q1 Resort & Spa is one of the most impressive luxury apartments on the Gold Coasts and is the 20th highest building in the world.
Everything about Q1 is futuristic. On the 42nd floor I tap my keycard on the security strip and swing open the door of a spacious two-bedroom apartment with white walls, funky black-and-white leather couches, space-aged designer chairs and gleaming stainless steel tables accentuated by bright red unusually shaped ottomans.
The ocean-facing sunroom has a view of sunbathers on the Gold Coasts’ main beach, Surfers Paradise, which is just a short stroll away.Luxury apartments come equipped with sleek open-plan kitchens and internal laundries thoughtfully included for longer stays. There are two lagoon-style pools, an indoor lap pool and a poolside café.
Its spa prides itself in providing a unique Australian experience that combines ancient Aboriginal Dreamtime therapies with the latest spa technology. Australian-made Li’Tya products with pure ingredients gathered from the bush – such as quandong hair masks and macadamia facial creams – are a feature.
Besides access to Australia’s amusement parks, Q1 is perfectly situated to take advantage of Queensland’s best nightlife, top quality international restaurants and great shopping. Q1 has one, two and three-bedroom serviced apartments.
Woodwark Bay, Whitsundays – A private beach hideaway
I am in a private seaplane flying back to Woodwark Bay from the world famous sandy stretch of paradise at Whitehaven Beach. The plane glides over sparkling aquamarine waters and forested islands, 74 of which make up the Whitsunday Island group. Woodwark Bay’s vast 1600-hectare estate backs onto over 20,000 hectares of national park. Thatched roofs peek out among swaying palm trees while manicured lawns stretch right down to the glasslike bay.Hidden among the woodlands behind automatic gates Woodwark Bay is frequented by the rich and famous, from Australia’s wealthiest moguls to internationally recognisable stars such as Tom Cruise. Utmost privacy is guaranteed with no other guests around, whether the booking is for one or for 14. It comes fully serviced, equipped with a personal chef that trained at five-star Hayman Island, as well as staff to serve meals and assist with water activities, like jet-skiing and fishing, at Woodwark’s massive private lake.
Living quarters sprawl across the grounds in separate buildings and revolve around the Main House, an airy high-ceilinged building with commanding views of the bay. Sleek contemporary leather couches are complemented by polished timber floorboards and antique furnishings from an old Indian estate.
Heavy timber doors, ceramic table lamps, intriguing oriental ornaments and wall-hangings provide a mystical Asian feel.
The main bedroom, the Dream House, is nestled among the tropical forest and has a king-sized bed set on a dais positioned for its view across the bay. There is an enormous glass-tiled bathroom with a pebble-lined shower that has floor-to-ceiling views of the bamboo garden.
Spicer’s Peak Lodge, Scenic Rim – An elegant Queensland luxury resort in a rural setting
As I steer my 4WD towards the hills, the gravel road meanders over cattle grids through lush green paddocks and thick eucalypt forests where wallabies scuttle among the trees. I eventually emerge onto a mountain clearing where the architecturally imposing Spicer’s Peak Lodge beckons invitingly.When I step into the main lounge room, I instantly feel like I am in a private country club. There is a baby grand piano in one corner, coffee tables with glossy books and an open bar. Soft comfortable couches are positioned around a huge stone fireplace with the Latin inscription chiselled on a wooden beam translated to mean “The best and most beautiful support in life is friendship”.
Floor-to-ceiling glass panels provide access to a picturesque view of forested hills and green pastures dotted with cattle. Heavy timber beams soar to a mezzanine level where there is a billiard table, comfortable reading nooks and a walkway that leads to an outdoor observation deck.
Historical elements are incorporated into its design with many of the walls constructed from hand-hewn stone blocks carried from Scotland as ballast in sailing ships, once used to build warehouses along the Port Adelaide wharves.The culinary experience at Spicers Peak Lodge is one of its highlights, with a nightly seven-course degustation dinner accompanied by fine Australian wines chosen to complement each course.
Another highlight is the 20-minute walk to Ryan’s Lookout, where there is a stunning view of the valley, as is the indulgence of watching the fiery crimson sunset from the heated outdoor spa with a glass of champagne in hand. With only 10 elegantly decorated rooms, Spicers Peak Lodge is an intimate experience.