The Gold Coast epitomises Australian beach culture. From its early beginnings as a sandy backwater, with hardly a building to be seen, these days the Gold Coast is Australia’s premier holiday destination. Centred around the booming sprawl of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, the Gold Coast offers holiday action for every budget. With its iconic amusement parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Movieworld, and massive shopping complexes such as Pacific Fair, you can combine the lifestyle of a 5-star hotel guest with an epic holiday adventure. Although the tower blocks along the seafront house some of Australia’s best luxury hotels and boutique apartments, that’s only the beginning of the story. Hidden away among the myriad inland waterways of the Gold Coast are all manner of spas, retreats, and villas-for-rent. The nightlife of Surfers Paradise is a whirlwind of colour, noise, music, and food. You can fritter your fortune, or win someone else’s, and ascend to the heights of the Q1 Tower to watch the sunset over a cocktail. Away from the beach, the inland hills present endless opportunities for exploration such as the weekly Eumundi Market, and the rainforests of Lamington National Park.
Sea World Drive, Main Beach, 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.3 Very Good
The Palazzo Versace is a luxurious resort in Southport, on the Gold Coast. It overlooks the Broadwater Inlet and is minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Only a short walk away is the Marina Mirage, Sea World and Federation Walk Coastal Reserve.
The elegant rooms take their inspiration from the luxury fashion brand Versace and its home, Palazzo Versace, Italy. There are bespoke furnishings, unique parquetry flooring and thoughtfully chosen decor. The comfortable bed is fitted with premium linens and the marble bathrooms have a couple sized bathtub. Large condominiums are also available.
The award-winning Vanitas offers a sophisticated Italian inspired menu, utilising fresh Australian produce. They offer à la carte fine dining and a signature 6-course degustation meal. Il Barocco offers breakfast, lunch and dinner service, in a smart casual environment. It also serves Italian inspired cuisine and uses local ingredients.
The hotel has a full-equipped 24/7 Fitness and Wellbeing centre. The Beauty Room is a luxurious day spa where qualified staff offer a range of soothing treatments. A relaxing in-room experience is also on offer with Bath Bliss, a Roman inspired aromatic bath. Outdoors, The Pool Saloon incorporates the large lagoon style pool, man-made beach and luxe cabanas. Guests with boats also have access to the Palazzo Versace private marina.
Ross Street, Benowa, 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.6 Fabulous
The RACV Royal Pines Resort Gold Coast is a 5-star hotel surrounded by green golf courses. It is less than 15-minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise, Southport Racecourse and the Metricon Stadium.
The spacious and contemporary rooms have large windows which look out to either the golf course or hinterlands. Large beds, premium linens and individual temperature controls allow for a comfortable night’s rest. All rooms come with a wide-screen television, work desk, in-room safe and complimentary Wi-Fi, and newspaper service.
Trattoria Amici serves delicious Italian inspired cuisine with a matching selection of Italian wines. Arakawa offers traditional Japanese cuisine including hand crafted sushi, traditional à la carte meals and teppanyaki. For breakfast, Kalinda has a hot buffet with continental options. Videre is a contemporary lounge with stunning views and the option of High Tea on weekends. For casual dining, the resort has Panorama Lounge inside and Tees’ Clubhouse near the golf course. Arika Pool bar serves guests poolside.
RACV Royal Pines Resort Gold Coast has a large range of guest facilities including a playground, tennis courts, kids water park, elite athlete training facilities and tropical-inspired pool. One Lifestyle is a state-of-the-art health club, and the Royal Pines Golf Course has three 18-hole, par-72 combination layouts which includes a Championship course. For relaxation, One Spa offers a range of rituals, therapies, and treatments.
21 Elizabeth Avenue, Broadbeach, Broadbeach, 4218 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.5 Very Good
For luxurious accommodation that is close to the beach and has all of the facilities you could need, look no further than Peppers Broadbeach. It is just 300m from stunning Kurrawa Beach and is a short walk away from multiple shopping malls, Broadbeach and the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The hotel offers one, two or three bedroom suites in increasing levels of luxury. Each suite features a spacious lounge, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, laundry facilities and private balcony with views of the ocean or hinterland. The master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and guests have access to complimentary Wi-Fi.
While staying at Peppers Broadbeach guests can use the well-equipped kitchen to create gourmet meals that can be enjoyed in the dining space or on the balcony. Preordering of kitchen stables is available. Alternatively, there are local restaurants who have partnered with the hotel to offer convenient charge-back facilities, including Yellowfin Seafood Restaurant and Sage Cafe.
While staying at the hotel guests have access to the heated resort pool, private cinema, gymnasium, sauna, steam room, outdoor spa, zen lawn, and Tai Chi Lawn. There is a tour desk whose staff can organise activities and Peppers Broadbeach has partnered with Endota Spa to provide guests with wellness treatments.
Sea World Drive, Main Beach, 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.1 Very Good
For a 5-star resort experience stay at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Gold Coast. The hotel opens out to the Pacific Ocean with direct access from the lagoon area. It is less than 10 minutes’ walk from Sea World, the Southport Yacht Club and Marina Mirage.
The modern guest rooms have an ocean inspired design and views of the Pacific, lagoon or resort. The comfortable Sheraton Sleep Experience® Beds are fitted with premium white linens for a good night’s rest. Each room features a marble bathroom, Le Grand Bain® amenities and large TV. Guests have access to complimentary Wi-Fi and room service.
Terraces Restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine throughout the day. Looking down on the tropical gardens is Oyster Bar and Grill, which serves fresh seafood and local meat. Pearls Bar is where guests can enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine and light fare while overlooking the ocean. Oasis Pool Bar serves guests enjoying the lagoon which The Deck offers tea, coffee, and pre-dinner drinks.
The resort features a well-equipped fitness centre and different pools for visitors to enjoy. Oasis Pool is a heated lagoon style pool with sunbeds which all guests have access to. The Villa Pool is another outdoor heated pool that is exclusively reserved for villa guests.
Manor Circle, Hope Island, 4212 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.5 Very Good
Nestled between golf courses, the award-winning Sanctuary Cove Marina and Coomera River, the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is truly a luxurious haven. It is only 15 minutes’ drive from Dreamworld, Gold Coast Wake Lake and Warner Bros Movie World.
The well-appointed rooms were recently refreshed and have views of the marina, garden or lagoon. They feature a private balcony with sliding shutters, comfortable bed and dedicated work zone. The spacious bathrooms have a deep, relaxing bathtub and separate shower. Guests have access to complimentary Wi-Fi.
Cove Cafe serves a hot buffet breakfast with continental options. For all day dining, Verandah Restaurant & Bar serves light meals, tropical cocktails and has an expensive whisky collection. At The Fireplace enjoy premium wood-fire cuisine and a library of over 300 wines. The Pool House serves guests enjoying the water while Arnie’s Cafe & Bar is on the golf course.
The resort is home to The Palms, The Pines and Links Hope Island golf courses. Guests have access to the Sanctuary Cove Country Club, which has a world class gym, aerobics classes, yoga, Pilates, a spa, massage therapists, tennis courts, heated lap pool and crèche. At the resorts is The Lagoon Beach Pool, a large saltwater pool, and the smaller Terrace Swimming Pool & Spa, which is more secluded. Planet Trekkers Kid’s Club is available for children.
7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.1 Very Good
Situated just one street back from Surfers Paradise Beach, QT Gold Coast is a five-star luxury hotel with its own unique style. It is only a short walk away from fun amusement activities, luxe shopping destinations and the SkyPoint Observation Deck.
The boldly designed guest rooms creatively play on the oceanside location of the hotel. The floor to ceiling glass doors lead out to a private balcony with stunning ocean views. Comfort is key with the luxurious king beds, fitted with premium linens. Guests have access to complimentary Wi-fi, T2 tea and Kevin Murphy amenities.
At spaQ Gold Coast, the rejuvenating treatments are driven by the needs of the individual, with room for customisation. On the rooftop, a modern poolside escape can be found at The Spring. Guests can tune out and forget about the world, while enjoying delectable meals and bespoke cocktails.
At Bazaar, diners can experience a unique culinary journey which takes their taste buds around the world. For modern Japanese cuisine with a decidedly Tokyo twist, Yamagen is available, offering an izakaya dining experience. At Singray, gourmet Baja Californian bites and over fifty in-house tequilas can be enjoyed in an eclectic setting. During the day FIXX Café is open, serving light meals and premium coffee.
8 Casino Drive, Broadbeach, 4218 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 8.3 Very Good
Just minutes away from Kurrawa Beach, The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast is a luxury hotel with a full suite of posh amenities. The hotel features a 24/7 casino with 1,400 machines and over 70 table games to choose from. This mini–Las Vegas in Queensland attracts visitors from all around Australia and Southeast Asia.
Guests can choose from 596 accommodations, ranging from Superior Deluxe Room to the Ocean Terrace Suite. The rooms feature glamorous furniture and décor, dazzling views of the Pacific, and dual-rain showerheads. A handful of the rooms feature a spacious walk-out balcony.
The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast doesn’t fall short when it comes to dining. There are numerous award-winning restaurants, including the Japanese-inspired Kiyomi and Cucina Vivo Italian eatery. Guests can unwind and converse at one of the Star Grand’s many bars, such as the Atrium Bar Nineteen at The Star.
Guests can relax at the hotels’ Azure Spa & Fitness Centre, a state-of-the-art retreat for lush skin treatments and full-body workouts. In addition to its famous casino, The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast features an enormous event centre that can accommodate 2,300 guests.
158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 9.0 Superb
Only steps away from the picturesque Gold Coast, JW Marriot Gold Coast Resort & Spa is a five-star luxury hotel with abundant world-class amenities. Guests can easily walk to nearby cafés, nightlight, and tourist attractions. The hotel sits next to Gold Coast Highway, making it a great home base for those who want to explore bordering Southport.
JW Marriot Gold Coast Resort & Spa boasts a wide assortment of rooms and suites that boast ocean or mountain views. Be it the One King Ocean View or One Bedroom Presidential Suite, every accommodation is spacious and features contemporary furniture and décor and a private balcony.
JW Marriot Gold Coast Resort & Spa offers 24/7 room services and a continental breakfast. Guest can enjoy exquisite cuisine at one of the hotel’s many restaurants, such as Chapter & Verse or the Japanese-inspired Misono. The Pool Pavilion features street food offerings and a large selection of beverages.
Hotel visitors can unwind at the Ruby Spa, a full-service wellness destination offering body scrubs, manicures, massages, and more. There’s also a well-equipped fitness centre open 24/7, featuring free weights and cardiovascular equipment. The hotel boasts a heated outdoor pool and a whirlpool open from 6 AM to 10 PM daily.
6 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Rating: 7.6 Good
Located on Queensland’s famous Gold Coast, The Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences is a posh resort with panoramic ocean views. Guests staying at the luxury hotel can conveniently walk to numerous shops and restaurants, including Steampunk Surfers Paradise, Waxy’s Irish Pub, Skyline Roof Top Bar, and Woolworths Surfers Paradise.
Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences features standards rooms and residences – condominium-like accommodations with private balconies, separate kitchen and dining areas, and laundry facilities. Every room has chic décor, plush Serenity beds, and large LCD TVs. Guests have access to free high-speed Wi-Fi and Luxury Crabtree & Evelyn bath products.
The hotel has a wide selection of restaurants that attract tourists and locals. Guests can enjoy a delectable breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Ms. Margot’s Bar & Eats or feast at Catch Restaurant, a lively venue with a full-service buffet. There’s also the poolside Deck Bar that serves various beverages and handcrafted cocktails during the spring and summer.
When not enjoying the nearby beach, guests can indulge at the Eforea Spa and intimate retreat that offers full-body treatments. There’s also a spacious executive lounge on the second floor that serves drinks between 6 PM and 8 PM. The executive lounge is an exclusive facility available to guests who have upgraded their stay.
The Gold Coast needs no introduction. This is Australia’s holiday heartland and people have been coming to this part of the Queensland coast for generations for sun, sea, action, shopping, and adventure. But there is much more to the Gold Coast than just adventure rides and bronzed bodies. The Hinterland features some lovely country towns and a natural environment where you will find rainforests, waterfalls and all manner of wildlife. Your Gold Coast luxury hotel is a great base from which to venture out and explore the many facets of life on the beach and beyond. So here are a few ideas to get you started.
All the romance, adventure, excitement, and heritage of the Australian Outback coalesces into this amazing spectacle of horses, riders, music, lights, and special effects. Australia’s Outback culture is unique and lends itself to being demonstrated by the skilful and dedicated performers at the Outback Spectacular. Settle in with your loved one, enjoy a meal and a drink or two, and as you watch the show you can imagine that you are the characters in the movie The Man from Snowy River.
If you want to get wet and wild, or experience adrenaline overload, then the GC is the place to come. From the white knuckle, edge-of-your-seat rides of Dreamworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild, and Movie World, to the more sedate thrills of Seaworld, you and your loved one can combine adrenaline thrills and romantic adventure, with a few marine mammals thrown in for good measure, in the theme parks of the Gold Coast.
If you’ve always thought that surfing is only for those with bronze muscular bodies and people who look good in bikinis… think again. Surfing is for everybody and by taking a surf lesson on the Gold Coast you will be opening yourself up to a whole new world of excitement and adventure. A 2-hour beginner’s surf lesson will allow you to experience the thrill of surfing, and you’re guaranteed to stand up on your first attempt. So pull on your Speedos or your bikini, and go and spend some time in the green room.
There’s something incredibly magical about connecting with the gentle giants of the deep on a whale watching tour on the Gold Coast. These offshore encounters will introduce you to the magnificent humpback whales as they move slowly about in the warm, rich waters of the Gold Coast, with the city skyline glistening in the background beyond the beaches.
At 270 m above sea level, the SkyPoint Climb to the top of the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise is Australia’s highest external building walk. The walk starts on level 77 of the SkyPoint Observation Deck and your guide will help you traverse up towards to the Crow’s Nest observation post which is located at the highest point of the climb. This 90-minute adventure will give you a stunning 360-degree view of the Gold Coast region, with its golden beaches stretching out into the blue horizon, and the lush green hills of the hinterland rolling away to the west.
This wildlife sanctuary encompasses 27 hectares of rainforest, where you can wander through open enclosures cuddling koalas and feeding kangaroos along the way. The park’s wild lorikeets will come down and eat out of your hand and you can clamber about in the treetops along the rainforest boardwalk, which takes you via ladders, stairs and rope bridges into the highest tops of the big trees.
You can get a whole new perspective of the Gold Coast by taking a dawn balloon flight over the rolling hills of the hinterland as the sun comes up to light the landscape on another perfect Gold Coast day. Balloon flights begin before dawn, and by the time the sun comes up, you’ll be floating high above the world. According to tradition, every balloon flight ends with a champagne breakfast, then you and your partner can head back to your luxury hotel and plan out the rest of the day, having started it with the world spread out beneath your feet.
Despite the fact that the Gold Coast faces the ocean, and its beach culture is famous around Australia and around the world, the Hinterland of the Gold Coast is a landscape of ribbon-like roads slung between vineyards, rambling gardens, whispering stream, deep rainforests, and, of course, cascading waterfalls. Places like Natural Bridge National Park, Lamington National Park, and Binna Burra National Park will introduce you to the Jurassic wonders of the ancient rainforests in these raw, natural landscapes.
Just 45 minutes drive west of the Gold Coast you will find the spectacular and beautiful Mount Tamborine located on the Gold Coast Hinterland. Lovers of waterfalls will be spoilt for choice with x4 waterfalls in this area to explore:
Invented in New Zealand (along with the pavlova and the flat white) a Gold Coast jet boat ride will provide you with a turbocharged adventure delivering speeds of almost 100 km per hour out in the ocean. To experience a “Hamilton turn” in which the driver suddenly throws the boat’s drive into reverse, spinning it around within its own length, it’s one of the great aquatic experiences you can have. So buckle in, hold on tight, and get ready for the ride of your life.
Take a relaxing cruise through the intricate network of waterways that extend inland behind the main buildings along the Gold Coast’s beaches. These tranquil waterways are home to all manner of birdlife and aquatic wildlife. You can relax with a cold glass of some liquid or other, and peer at the luxury homes of the rich and famous, and lunch on fresh local seafood as you and your lover cruise the inland waterways.