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qualia announces new event: Weekends of Wonderment 

Mark Best 
Mark Best

Hamilton Island’s, qualia has announced a new event series, ‘Weekends of Wonderment’ with the inaugural event to be held at the award-winning, luxury resort from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 June, 2014.

From its idyllic location at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, the upcoming event will be the first in a series of bespoke guest experiences that embody the essence of qualia – latin for: "a collection of deeper sensory experiences".

The new series is designed to appeal to those with a love affair for all things luxurious and artisanal, who travel for the senses and are seeking a unique, hands-on experience the region.
An enviable line up of experts will bring this vision to life. Celebrated chef, Mark Best will headline the event alongside acclaimed Australian florist, Saskia Havekes; and French born candle maker, Elise Balzac.
On the Friday evening, Elise Balzac, founder of the high-end Australian soy wax candle brand, Maison Balzac will guide an intimate candle making class. Guests will be offered the opportunity to select their own unique scent and pour their soy wax candle into a personal heirloom or jar of choice.

Saturday will begin with a hands-on crabbing experience with renowned chef and Tourism Australia’s ‘Restaurant Australia’ ambassador, Mark Best and expert crabber and marine biologist, Matt Vickers. Guests will pull their own mud crabs from sustainable fishery crab pots found off the shores of qualia and then enjoy a well deserved tasting of their freshly caught bounty.

The love for all things artisanal continues with an art of flower arranging session with founder of Grandiflora, Saskia Havekes; often referred to as the First Lady of Flowers. With experience working with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Dries Van Noten and Acne, Havekes promises to inspire, inform and delight guests in both visual and conversational form. Following a discussion around Grandiflora Fragrance and the release of her two eau de parfums, Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Magnolia Grandiflora Michel, guests will then have the chance to make their own exquisite floral arrangement under Havekes’ expert tutelage.

The day will culminate in an elegant ‘Weekends of Wonderment’ dinner at qualia’s renowned Long Pavilion as prepared by guest chef, Mark Best. Mark Best has won ‘Chef of the Year’ in the annual Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in Australian Gourmet Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out magazine and also in the Restaurant and Catering Association’s Awards for Excellence. His Sydney restaurant, Marque has also featured in San Pellegrino and Restaurant Magazine’s ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’.

Nicky Tindill, Hamilton Island’s Brand & Events Manager comments, “We are honoured to welcome all three internationally acclaimed experts to qualia to create bespoke, unique experiences of the highest calibre. We invite international and domestic travellers alike to join us for this inaugural ‘Weekends of Wonderment’ event as we together connect in a tactile manner with the beauty that surrounds qualia.”
Luxury accommodation packages
The inaugural ‘Weekends of Wonderment’ event will be held at Hamilton Island’s luxury resort, qualia from 13 – 15 June 2014. Tickets to the event are now available for purchase at a price of $1,040 per person. The event package includes one candle making session with Elise Balzac, one art of flower arranging session with Saskia Havekes, one crabbing experience with Mark Best and Matt Vickers and one dinner at Long Pavilion hosted by Mark Best. Please note accommodation at qualia is not included in the event package. Guests must be 18 years or over to attend the Weekends of Wonderment event.

Accommodation at the award-winning luxury resort, qualia is priced from $995 per night, based on twin share. Rate includes breakfast for two, VIP chauffeur service, VIP return Hamilton Island Airport/Marina transfers, use of non-motorised watercraft and the hire of a golf buggy for the duration of your stay.
For more information, please contact the Luxury Specialist team by email: luxuryspecialist@hamiltonisland.com.au or call: 1300 780 959.
-ENDS-

Notes to editors:
qualia, Australia's world class luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef, is located on the secluded and breathtakingly beautiful northern-most point of Hamilton Island. qualia has 60 elegant one-bedroom pavilions and a Beach House, each set among eucalyptus trees with postcard views of the idyllic blue and green waters of the Whitsundays. Two superb restaurants and Spa qualia cater exclusively to guests of the resort. Hamilton Island can be accessed directly from all east coast international gateway cities in less than three hours. qualia is a member of Relais & Châteaux and welcomes guests 16 years and over. www.qualia.com.au

'qualia' is deliberately spelled with a lower case 'q' as it is a reflection of the relaxed, understated nature of this property.


Elise Balzac:
Elise Pioch Balzac is French. She was born in the South of France and educated in Paris. She studied at Institut Francais de la Mode (IFM), graduating in 2001. Her career in fashion started at Hermes in Paris where she organised fashion shows for Martin Margiela, the head designer of womenswear. In 2004 Elise moved to Australia to become a buyer for the Belinda boutiques, working with designers such as Dries Van Noten, Christopher Kane, Isabel Marant, Marni or Erdem.

Passionate about interiors and perfumes, she launched Maison Balzac in July 2012. This collection of soy candles hand made in Australia is reminiscent of her childhood memories in the South of France and inspired by the colors and people met during her career in fashion. Maison Balzac is stocked at Colette/Paris, Bergdorf Goodman/New York, Restir/Tokyo and 10 Corso Como/Milan.

Saskia Havekes:
Internationally acclaimed florist and author Saskia Havekes grew up surrounded by market gardens and growers farms in Dural, Sydney. After studying horticulture and floristry she cut her teeth working with various florists and installation artists. Grandiflora was established in 1995. This tiny space groaning to the rafters with dramatic vegetation and luxurious blooms, was the modest launching pad for a new way of looking at foliage, buds and branches. Saskia Havekes does not arrange flowers, she curates them. As her clientele has expanded her work has become international. Collaborating with the most recognised and influential brands and celebrities in fashion, and styling and designing flowers for events and film.

Havekes has sought to share her passion for flowers in the publication of three books, GRANDIFLORA (Viking, 1999), GRANDIFLORA ARRANGEMENTS (Penguin, 2007) and GRANDIFLORA CELEBRATIONS (Penguin, Lantern 2011). Accenting natural beauty, highlighting remarkable events or cleverly suggesting wilder ways to arrange flowers and foliage, each book reveals a richer insight into the Grandiflora vision. Her fourth is on its way due for publication in 2015.

Mark Best:
Mark Best started his working life as an electrician in the gold mines of Western Australia before starting his culinary career at the age of 25. He commenced an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro, Potts Point, in 1990. This was the beginning of his passion for French food. It was the heyday of modern Australian cuisine – the fusion of European techniques and ingredients with the flavours of the Asian region – and a flourishing time for Sydney’s food scene. In 1995 Best won the annual award for Sydney’s best young chef, The Josephine Pignolet Award.

In 1995, he opened his own restaurant, Peninsula Bistro, Balmain, which soon developed a strong local following and rave critical acclaim. During this time he decided to further his study of French Cuisine in France. In 1998 he worked at ‘L’Arpége’ in Paris, [under Pascal Barbot] Alain Passard’s three Michelin Star Gastro Temple. He followed this with a stint at Raymond Blanc’s, ‘Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons’ in Great Milton, UK. His time overseas fueled his desire to start another restaurant. Marque opened in 1999.

Media contacts and image library: www.qualia.com.au/media-centre
Sophie Baker, Senior Communications Manager
e: sbaker@hamiltonisland.com.au t: +61 (0)427 109 503

Gemma Christie, Communications Manager
e: gchristie@hamiltonisland.com.au t: +61 (0)401 219 332

Social Media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/qualia or www.hamiltonisland.com.au
Instagram: Connect with us: @qualiaresort and @hamiltonisland
Mention us: #qualia and #hamiltonisland
Twitter: @qualia and @hamiltonisland



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