Monday, January 23, 2012


That's the view just prior to landing at Hamilton Island where James and I would spend five days at the amazing, awe-inspiring, heavenly Qualia. I could not have imagined the luxurious experience that awaited me. We're talking the type of place where the toiletries (Aesop in this case) get you all sticky-fingered and motivated to make your bathroom just as glorious; the kind of place that doesn't need to charge you for the ultra-posh soft drinks, juices and bottled waters in the minibar; the kind of place where the beach towels are exclusively designed by Colette Dinnigan and stacked in perfect pyramids poolside until you take one; the kind of place where minutes later and without your noticing the perfect stack of beach towels you perverted is restored to its former triangular glory; the kind of place where the continental breakfast is actually a made to order, gastronomic fare - satiating enough on its own but puzzlingly (and I'm not complaining here) there's an almighty selection of pastries; gourmet cereals and fruits at one side of the dining room should you require further spoiling... I'm getting carried away here, so let's get back to the story:

Upon arrival at the airport, Qualia staff greeted us with cold towels and chilled bottled water - their own brand, naturally - before whisking us off to the resort in a brand-new, air-conditioned VW van. Hamilton Island's roads generally allow holidaymakers to travel via golf-buggies only, so you can imagine how treated we were. Not to mention not having to wait at the baggage carousel for our things - another Qualia staff member took care of all that while we made our way to the resort...

Behind Trojan gates, through a neat road surrounded by fragrant, native gardens is Qualia's magnificent 'Long Pavilion'. This is where the concierge, dining room, bar and study is located and commands the most breathtaking view I think I've ever seen. Upon arrival, we were greeted with chilled tea and Veuve Cliquot, invited to take a seat, take in the view and let the staff take care of our check-in. Never have I felt so little responsibility. No queues, no waiting around, absolutely no trouble at all. Every - and I mean every - moment from arrival to departure at this place is dedicated to you and making you feel utterly spoilt and relaxed. I can now understand why some getaways command the price tags they do and in this instance, it was absolutely worth it.

This is the life... Unfortunately for me, I had taken a diazepam tablet for my flight nerves so the Veuve was left almost untouched...

...Which wasn't really a bother at all considering the complimentary bottle presented to us in our villa!

...And use of a golf buggy for the duration of our stay.

I'd be here for days if I was to list all of Qualia's wonderful perks and features. Some of the highlights for me included: reading, sipping caprioskas and being generally serene at Qualia's pool and private beach; enjoying the world class onsite spa (the facilities were beyond luxurious and, coupled with the best massage EVER, took me to a whole new level of indulgence); parasailing above Hamilton and surrounding islands; and taking in the panoramic views and picture perfect fairways as James played at Hamilton Island Golf Course (it is actually based on neighbouring Dent Island - a whole island of fairways and a clubhouse... Brilliant). I'm going to attempt to make minimal commentary and allow the pictures to speak for themselves now:

Despite being shrouded in clouds for most of our stay, the weather was still blissful, the island picturesque...

Hamilton Island Golf Course clubhouse - I should have encouraged James to play a full 18 holes and stop here for lunch because the view was like nothing else. Believe me, these pictures don't do it justice!

The complimentary starter at breakfast: a breakfast tapas, if you will...

The view from our breakfast table.

That's a truffled omelette on the right. There is no better omelette in this world. FACT.

After a few days, the rat race now an inconceivable concept, our faces became softer, calmer. Our lungs and sinuses cleared too!

Exhibit B

The day I read most of A Visit from the Goon Squad - I can't tell you whether it was the location or the book but my life changed that day 

Get ready for the moment where, suitably less inhibited after two drinks, I let James (and myself) turn the camera on me, me me!!!

... I took this picture on my last day at Qualia, while my heart was breaking. This is the gym. I know I could have gotten so much exercise done with this view!

I hope you've enjoyed my pictures from Hamilton Island and I really do suggest one day splurging on yourself or yourself and a loved one and experiencing this beautiful region from as spectacular a place as Qualia. It's a treat you won't regret and an experience you won't forget!

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