Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is more than just sailing. It’s where sailors mingle with the lovely ladies who lunch and their men who drive fancy Audi’s spend a week doing fabulous things in paradise. One of those places that make the whole week a dream is Qualia, one of the most luxurious resorts in Australia, boasting a 6 star rating that it utterly deserves.
I’d often heard about how amazing this resort called Qualia is, but seeing was believing in all the stories of relaxation, luxury and amazing service. It didn’t take long to for me to become a believer, I was a convert from the minute I was ushered from my flight to an awaiting Audi and driven past the resort gates (Jurassic Park style, naturally), I knew everything that had been said to me was true. Qualia is paradise.
And that remained to be true from the minute I walked into the hotel lobby, also known as the Long Pavilion (pictured above). Lined with its own infinity pool and a view of the sparkling blue waters of the Whitsundays, we were ushered to the comfortable couches as an attendant checked us in as we sipped on a glass of champagne. And from there on Qualia didn’t fail to keep exceeding our expectations.
Pronounced kwah-lee-ah, Qualia, is also a term in philosophy that describes a state of mind, used to refer to individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. Opened by Bob Oatley with the aim to create a world within a world, Qualia was from day one a resort that appeals to the senses as well as the soul. Created by architect, Chris Beckingham, the resort celebrates the purity of the Whitsundays coastal environment with pavilions dotted around the the natural Australian bushland and tropical palms, bringing together privacy and elegance in one effortlessly stunning resort.
It should be noted that everyone has their own freestanding pavilion, each with their own breathtaking views (some even with their own private infinity plunge pool) and personal golf cart which you can use to driver yourself around the resort to Pebble Beach, Qualia’s private beach (where Collette Dinnigan showed her Reosrt 2013 collection – more on this later), Qualia Spa or even outside of the resort gates and around the island. With any amazing resort, it all comes down to the little details and we had to take a photo of how the cord of the hair dryer was wrapped. It might not be a 6-star hair dryer (after all we’re addicted to our ghd air) but the that is some impressive housekeeping right there.
A visit down to Pebble Beach for breakfast (which for us involved a strong coffee, poached eggs and half a dozen sides) one morning saw us wish that the sun wasn’t hiding behind rain clouds that day with paddleboards and snorkelling equipment available to guests to use to explore the Great Barrier Reef. If you never wanted to venture out of Qualia if you just wanted to relax and enjoy everything from a great cocktail, meal, pool and beaches, you would never have to. It really is a resort that blew my mind and is on my must-return-to-one-day lists.
As we mentioned before, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is definitely one for the lovers of good food, fashion and wine – when you delve a little deeper you realise that it is most definitely more than just a week of yachts racing around the Whitsundays. Stay tuned for more about the rest of our experience there!