QT Gold Coast
According to recent studies, spending quality time with family and loved ones is essential to a person’s happiness (see our story on happiness on page 33 for more).
That definitely rings true for me, but sometimes, I must admit, what is essential to my happiness is to take a little break from the aforementioned family.
To ditch the dinners and the lunches and the housework and the homework.
To grab a friend and spend a night or two wining and dining, and take a break from everyday life.
Last weekend I did just that, at the designer hotel, QT Gold Coast.
Formerly The Gold Coast International Hotel, QT has evolved into a striking contemporary hotel, which is home to the Stingray Lounge, a funky and comfortable bar, and Bazaar restaurant, which is referred to as "an interactive market place", but might better be described as possibly the most modern and extensive buffet you’ve ever dined at.
After checking in at QT, we head to lunch at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, home to Gold Coast City Gallery.
The Arts Centre is home to The Arts Cafe, where we enjoyed a long lunch over a bottle of white wine.
We opted for simple choices of toasted Turkish bread served warm with a trio of dips ($10.90) and a classic toasted sandwich of champagne ham, cheddar cheese, tomato and honey mustard served with fries ($11.50), but the cafe offers an interesting and extensive range of dishes such as Crispy Five Spice Duck, Maryland braised in a spicy orange sauce served with fragrant rice and steamed greens ($24.50) or the Oriental Chicken Hot Pot, chicken breast with soft egg noodles, shitake mushrooms, vegetables and a lime prawn wonton in an Oriental broth.
After lunch we take our time wandering through the gallery.
I’ve been to Gold Coast City Gallery many times and it always has an interesting and diverse range of exhibitions.
We took in Peter Walker’s Fluid and Hollow Wooden Surfboards, a series of beautifully crafted wooden surfboards by furniture maker and designer Peter Walker (showing until July 10).
We also enjoyed Gerry Wedd’s exhibition, RIP Surf Ceramics (also showing until July 10).
The gallery is surrounded by lovely parkland and situated next to the river so it is the perfect place for a long walk, but I opted instead to head back to QT for a relaxing afternoon.
QT is an impressive space.
The lobby is modern and dynamic; an eclectic collection of details such as rich floor-to-ceiling wood panelling, artist-crafted feature walls, and custom lighting for mood as well as function.
The lobby offers various spaces to sit and enjoy coffee and a magazine.
Unlike many lobby areas, these spaces are genuinely cosy. You can spend time there without feeling uncomfortable and there are magazines and books everywhere – we especially loved the old National Geographics.
Or there is the pool area with a spa just outside which is also inviting (even though the pool is heated, I decide it’s too cold to enjoy the pool).
The renovations haven’t extended to the rooms (that is planned for later this year), but the rooms are by no means shabby.
Ours is high up on the 21st floor, overlooking the beach, and features a small balcony on which to sit back and enjoy (another) glass of wine.
Rooms on the other side of the hotel offer equally impressive mountain views.
The hotel features two tennis courts and a fully equipped gymnasium.
Anyone who has spent any time on the Gold Coast will probably agree that braving the streets of Surfers Paradise after nightfall is something best left to the under 25s. There’s no denying that the packs of (often drunken) men and women can be intimidating and tedious.
This is where QT really comes into it’s own, as it is home to a fantastic bar and restaurant.
And the beauty is, the spaces have been so artfully designed, you feel as if you have been to separate venues.
We start with a few drinks at the bar, Stingray.
While it is obviously a hip space, it is comfortable, and large enough to accommodate a lot of patrons at once without feeling crowded.
We then head to Bazaar, no ordinary buffet hotel restaurant.
Bazaar has been designed using international street stalls and bodegas as its inspiration, with a sophisticated twist. There are separate stations which represent different cultures, and as many dishes as you can imagine.
Cured meats hang from high ceilings adjacent to strings of garlic and chilli, while fresh king prawns and sand crabs sit chilled, an array of exotic dishes, wood-fired pizzas and mouth-watering rotisserie cooked meats tempt the taste buds.
Award-winning chef George Francisco is behind the restaurant. Francisco has had an impressive career. He was the creator of Sydney’s Wildfire Restaurant, and also ran the kitchen at the world-famous boutique hotel Jonah’s in Sydney, where he earned three chefs’ hats.
Dinner is a set price of $65 a person, which includes dessert.
I don’t have enough room here to list all the dishes we indulged in but some highlights were the steamed pork dumplings; pear, rocket and blue cheese salad; chocolate truffles, and George’s signature panna cotta.
The next morning I was back at Bazaar for breakfast which was an equally extensive affair.
After a walk on the beach and another cup of coffee I head home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.