qualia: the epitome of luxury Posted by Gemma Christie - 21 May 2015 “The result”, said US Conde Nast Traveller’s Editor in Chief, Pilar Guzman when speaking of the magazine’s 2015 Gold List finalists, “is a group-written love letter to the properties that inspire memories that linger long after we’ve left them.” qualia, the famed Queensland luxury resort and Hamilton Island’s jewel in the crown, graciously received this coveted love letter earlier this year. Since its conception in 2007, every one of the resort’s multitude of awards have both humbled and inspired qualia’s visionaries and owners, the Oatley family. Today, several years on, the family is more determined than ever to see the resort continue to make its mark on the world stage. Their vision: to create an understated, personalised and authentically Australian luxury experience that will joyfully linger in the memory of guests for many years to come. It is this award-winning history and alluring vision of luxury that continues to both mesmerise and intrigue luxury travellers from across Australia and all corners of the world. The entrance through the gates Grasping luggage packed for a blissful Whitsunday islands getaway, guests also carry a palpable sense of anticipation as they begin their journey towards qualia. Only moments into their transfer from Hamilton Island’s airport or marina, qualia comes into view. Driving over One Tree Hill and down towards the northern-most tip of Hamilton Island, qualia’s famed pavilions can be seen dotted in among the native bushland against the spectacular backdrop of the Whitsunday islands. Driving through qualia’s front gates for the first time is an experience in itself. Around the bend, qualia’s renowned gates appear. Impressive in stature, the two locked wooden doors epitomise exclusivity. The intrigue around what lies beyond builds as the pair slowly open. Upon entry, many who may have been previously chatting away simultaneously turn down the volume. It’s as if the serene, lush grounds themselves command an innate sense of tranquillity. The “qualia effect” This initial sense of peace and relaxation completely takes over upon stepping into qualia’s Long Pavilion. Although the view may be familiar from photos, nothing prepares you for the site in real life. A glass of Charles Heidseick completes the experience as the memory of any busy schedule, pressing work commitments or stressful life circumstance disappears with the cool island breeze. You’ve arrived and the “qualia effect” has taken over. The stunning Whitsundays view from qualia’s renowned Long Pavilion. The ultimate place to call home After a detailed check in and time to soak up the Long Pavilion view, you’re escorted to your pavilion. The privacy of each of the resort’s 60 free standing pavilions is one of the first things to capture the attention of any astute traveller. Designed by local Chris Beckingham, each pavilion has been purposely located to ensure no dwelling looks directly over another. Once inside, the privacy is felt even more so. Each luxuriously appointed pavilion boasts spectacular, uninterrupted views over the Coral Sea or lush tropical landscapes. Time is no longer a luxury but now yours to enjoy completely. Relax on your divinely comfortable bed. Recline on your sun lounge with a book or another glass of champagne. Soak up the view from your Windward Pavilion plunge pool. Sink into a heavenly bath. The peacefulness oozing from qualia’s extraordinary natural setting never fails to rejuvenate the soul as the hours fade away. Time will disappear as you relax in your qualia pavilion. qualia’s epicurean delights After intense relaxing and indulging your desire to simply do nothing, you will have no doubt worked up an appetite. High quality food and wine is not only celebrated at qualia; it sits at the very heart of the experience. The menu showcases the marvellous produce available locally from the Whitsunday region, vegetables grown on Island and those found throughout regional Australia. Paired perfectly with the finest wines from across the country and around the world, every dining experience at qualia is truly memorable. There’s plenty of choice as well should you desire a diverse culinary experience. Lunch can be enjoyed at Long Pavilion with the divine seafood platter for two highly recommended; the ideal way to savour the afternoon overlooking the Coral Sea. For an extra special dining experience, ask the team to set up a private table for two on qualia’s Pebble Beach. Or for the more adventurous, a beach drop off can be arranged along with your very own packed picnic. A boat will take you from qualia’s Pebble Beach across to a secluded beach on a nearby island where you will be left in peace to enjoy a delicious lunch, the stunning Whitsundays setting, a dip in the azure blue ocean and the warmth of the Queensland sun. Once you’ve finished, simply call the team and they’ll come pick you up! When evening settles in, dinner by candle light at Pebble Beach is an unrivalled qualia indulgence. Before you settle in for your epicurean feast, savour a pre dinner amuse-bouche and a champagne as the sun sets the horizon ablaze. Then take a seat and enjoy your meal as each elegantly presented dish graces the table. Every culinary masterpiece will be brilliantly paired at your request with the finest drop wine as selected or if you wish, personally recommended by qualia’s expert sommelier. There are 16 restaurants in total on Hamilton Island so should you desire to explore beyond qualia’s gates, the fine dining experience at Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s Bommie Restaurant is highly recommended as is a meal at the Hamilton Island Golf Clubhouse on neighbouring Dent Island. The island’s South-East Asian restaurant, coca chu is another great option should you feel like a more relaxed meal but one that is equally delicious! A Whitsundays adventure beyond One of qualia’s main drawcards is its extraordinary natural location situated at the edge of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Flying over the Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef (above) is a must do experience. Photo credit: Gemma Christie. Many have the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach at the top end of their bucket list. However many don’t want to simply tick these off – understandably, they want to do so in absolute luxury. Flying in this case, departing from qualia’s helipad, is the optimal mode of transport. Only when flying over Whitehaven Beach, the stunning Hill Inlet, the Great Barrier Reef and famed Heart Reef, can you truly grasp each icons’ breathtaking beauty. It’s an encounter with nature that leaves you speechless, humbled and in awe of the world we live in. Seeing is one thing but getting out of your helicopter or seaplane and experiencing it yourself is another – and definitely recommended! The Best of Both Worlds helicopter tour will see you soar out over the Great Barrier Reef to Reefworld where you will enjoy a couple of hours snorkelling – importantly either side of the crowds. Afterwards, you’ll fly to over Heart Reef to Whitehaven Beach where you will enjoy a picnic lunch, sparkling wine and time to soak up the renowned white sand and azure blue water. The Best of Both World helicopter tour takes guests to both the Great Barrier Reef and the stunning Whitehaven Beach above. For those wanting the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, Reefcomber is Hamilton Island’s signature Whitsundays tour promising both intimacy and luxury. A seaplane will take the small group (maximum eight guests) on a stunning scenic flight across the Whitsundays before landing close to the Hardy Lagoon Reef. Guests will then make their way to a private glass bottom boat and embark on an expert guided snorkelling tour of the reef before topping the experience off with canapés and a glass of sparkling in true Hamilton Island fashion. The VIP list of Hamilton Island indulgences The Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven experiences are definitely ‘must do’ adventures for any qualia guest. However it doesn’t stop there. For the guest wanting to truly indulge or spoil a loved one or mark a special occasion, there are an abundance of unique and awe-inspiring indulgences that promise to add the wow factor to any luxury getaway. Watching the Australian Ballet perform at qualia is the ultimate indulgence for someone special. About the Author As Hamilton Island’s Communications Manager, Gemma is passionate about both writing and all things to do with Hamilton Island tropical island paradise. Sharing all the news, insights and interesting stories from the destination perfectly combines both loves. When not writing, Gemma can be found dancing for no reason, going out for breakfast, soaking up the beach or spending time with her family doing all of the above.