There’s something about the breeze on Hamilton Island. It streams through your hair as you tootle about the manicured streets on a golf buggy. It fills up the sail on the catamaran you’re steering. It catches under the blades of the chopper that takes you on the daytrip of your dreams.
But the breeze at qualia, the luxury resort at the tip of the island? That feels next-level, whether it’s dancing through the windows of the Long Pavilion (where you’re welcomed with a glass of Charles Heidsieck champagne); or rippling the cobalt waters of the Coral Sea that lies just beyond your well-appointed villa; or skipping over your private pool, inviting you to submerge into a world where there are no deadlines or stresses or pandemics.
Image credit: qualia Beach House/Image credit: Kara Rosenlund.
A couple of days – better still, a week – at qualia is the tonic that we all long for. Slow, languid days where decisions are as complicated as what hour is too late for breakfast and should we go to the pool at Pebble Beach or stay here and loll in the sumptuous surroundings?
Once you’re restored and up for some adventure, there are plenty of options. Like that daytrip, which will see you set off in a helicopter for a 30-minute scenic flight over famous Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef before landing at a private helipad on Heart Island. You can then hop into a glassbottomed boat and snorkel around the reef.
There are also sunset cruises and snorkelling charters, as well as kayaking and walks (the most demanding is the two-hour Passage Peak, which is steep but rewards you with a dazzling seascape). Keen golfers will want to be ferried over to Dent Island for 18 holes on a championship course designed by British Open winner Peter Thomson that promises breathtaking views and challenging fairways – and perhaps the best 19th hole of all time.
But if you prefer culinary adventures, they’re covered, too. The dining room at Pebble Beach is open-air and casual but the food – with a focus on seafood – is considered. Dinner at the Long Pavilion should be timed to make the most of the setting sun before you turn your attention to the local produce that executive chef Mark Jensen sources and spins into something delectable, from barramundi with a confit fennel to lobster, barbecued and served with café de Paris butter.
However your day unfolds, make this the ending: throw open the doors of your villa, breathe in the scent of the eucalyptus trees and let the breeze do its thing. It’ll carry you away.