Stay: QT Gold Coast
What can you do with a city that was founded in the 20′s, transformed (high-rise style) in the 70′s, boomed in the 80′s and 90′s, but is now facing something of an identity crisis? For the many Australians who visited as kids, Surfers Paradise will always be a nostalgia-fueled experience. So it kind of makes sense, in an upside-down way, to do as QT Gold Coast has done, and create a hotel that actually embraces the time-warp factor. The funny thing is, this retro-styled haven is the most modern thing to have happened to Surfers Paradise in years!
Although the 1970′s exterior is like many in this city (read: cream concrete columns) the interior has been completely transformed with a bold makeover from Nic Graham + Associates. Clean lines, geometric patterns and above all COLOUR, recall such 1960′s trail-blazers as Alexander Girard and Herman Miller. The first two levels are devoted to several light-filled lounges, restaurants and bars which, thanks to a strong local following, enjoy constant liveliness. The guest-room decor is fresh and light-hearted, as a Gold Coast holiday should be, and accessories such as the cockatoo lamps and pineapple candle-holders have proven so popular you can actually BUY them!
At less than a year old, QT Gold Coast is the first venture of a burgeoning hotel chain that recently welcomed younger siblings Port Douglas and Sydney. It’s refreshing to see an up-market hotel actively engaging a youthful, fun-loving crowd. For us, a highlight was the DIY lemonade station delivered soon after arrival, which was just as quickly squeezed, mixed and slurped from our 21st floor balcony.
It wouldn’t be a real time-warp if I didn’t mention the hotel buffet (well, actually it’s been re-branded “The Bazaar”) which was a lot of fun, and more elegant than you might imagine. But no matter how good the food it takes a strong person to return to the table without a grossly mismatched selection of flavours occupying their plate. At one stage I may or may not have had pizza, chocolate fudge and lamb-shanks with a steamed pork bun on the side!
While I can’t deny that there are many genuine retro hotels in Surfers Paradise, for one with a swim-up bar and much nicer sheets, QT Gold Coast is hard to beat.