The word ‘qualia’ is taken from the Latin to describe an ineffable sensory experience that cannot easily be described. It’s the perfect name for this Hamilton Island boutique luxury resort.
Occupying the northern-most tip of Hamilton Island, overlooking the Whitsundays, qualia is wonderfully secluded. The setting is spectacular and the resort’s dining experiences are a drawcard in their own right. But it is perhaps the service that is most impressive. “Welcome to qualia” says the smiling staff member offering a freshly poured flute of champagne as you step out of the car. This welcome sets the tone for the entire stay.
From the moment you stroll into the Long Pavilion overlooking Whitsunday Island, the breathtaking water views are all around. Set in 30 acres of natural bushland and beautifully manicured tropical gardens, each of the private, freestanding guest pavilions feels like a luxurious, secluded beach house and features floor-to-ceiling glass to maximise the ridiculously stunning views.
The resort’s spacious Leeward Pavilions have views of the Coral Sea and large, furnished sundecks surrounded by mature eucalypts. The Windward Pavilions are larger still, with views of Whitsunday Passage from their own private, temperature-controlled infinity-edged plunge pools. All interiors are in perfect harmony with the environment, combining extensive use of timber and colours that reflect nature’s palette to achieve a muted elegance. Original artwork adorns the walls and creature comforts abound, including a Nespresso machine, Tea Drop teas, Aesop toiletries and the ultimate tropical-island accessory – an automatic ice machine in each pavilion.
It almost seems a shame to leave the privacy and serenity of these surrounds. But golfers will find the lure of a world-class golf course on their doorstep hard to resist. A five-minute boat ride away, you’ll find the only golf course in Australia occupying an entire island. For those who want to de-stress and unwind, Spa qualia offers a uniquely Australian spa experience for exclusive use of resort guests. The Kodo aromatherapy massage is inspired by Aboriginal techniques, combining pressure points and rhythmic movements to relieve aches and pains. Or take a different approach to relaxation, with a sunset cruise on the resort’s 45ft luxury yacht. It seems there is no end to what those smiling qualia staff members can arrange: from yoga to art classes, fishing, parasailing or scenic helicopter tours. It’s no trouble at all to arrange a drop-off to a nearby private beach for the day – complete with a gourmet picnic hamper.
Guests begin each day with a fresh, creative à la carte breakfast menu. The goat’s cheese and salsa verde omelette is a standout. There’s the choice of a contemporary casual lunch menu at Pebble Beach restaurant – which can also be served poolside – including options such as simple oysters and champagne, or sliders and a frosty beer. If you’d prefer to go further afield, make use of the 24-hour chauffeur service to explore the many dining options on the island. But do not miss dinner in qualia’s Long Pavilion. In keeping with the resort’s ethos, the elaborate tasting menus, with their cleverly matched wines makes for a stunning sensory experience in itself.