WORDS BY KRIS ABBEY, PUBLISHING EDITOR SPA LIFE MAGAZINE
If good food, friendly service with a smile, a touch of the quirky, lots of colour, cuteness, uniqueness and eclectic art are your thing, then QT is the place for you. The minute you enter the front doors, you feel like you’re in a time warp that is taking you back to the 1960s. Think brightly coloured melamine furniture, caramel milkshakes in giant aluminium tumblers, homemade lemonade and candy stripes. If you can capture all of that, you’ve come close to feeling the vibe that QT has created. They would say “Nostalgic surfer chic meets Miami catwalk”. I would say “Happy Days meets Vogue”. It is uber-cool laced with fun.
Your mood is elevated the instant you arrive. You can’t help but chuckle when you’re greeted at reception by someone wearing an aqua jumpsuit! I love that they’ve gone the polar opposite to what we have come to expect from five-star hotels. They are about as far away from that cookie-cutter sameness as you could go. There is still a strong focus on service and making each guest feel welcome, and a make-yourself-at-home energy surrounds you. Put your feet up and don’t stress if the kids touch things.
I just love this place. From the black-and-white-striped bedspreads to the cruisers freely available to guests so they can ride along the Gold Coast promenade in QT style. Just when you think you’re getting used to it, you’ll be surprised again, like when you get into a lift and say hi to the American tourist inside, before realising he is simply an image superimposed on the mirror!
But it’s not just the décor and art that lures you in, special mention must go to the food. This is truly a foodie’s heaven! Creating a growing buzz since its opening, Bazaar recreates a traditional marketplace style of eating, with a modern twist. It is a totally open restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass so you can soak up the view as you dine. That said, you are often distracted by what is going on in the kitchen. Everything is prepared before your eyes, even the cool room with all the fresh produce is glass so you can look inside.
I’m not a smorgasbord fan. I usually equate them with overcooked food sitting in a bain-marie under bright lights that are zapping all nutritional value and flavour, so all you’re left with is a tummy ache from eating too much. That was until I experienced Bazaar – one of the three dining experiences at QT. You can go healthy and enjoy a mosaic of salads, all prepared before your eyes with colourful, fresh, organic ingredients. There is wood-fired pizza with your choice of topping, or the classic pot roasts with an assortment of condiments. You can even ask for your preferred cut of meat cooked to your liking. There are Asian wok stations for noodles and stir-fries, a fine selection of sushi and sashimi, and my favourite, the seafood! Oh my god, the seafood! And a note to the rookie – leave some room for the wide array of deserts. If you’re not sure about anything, ask the chefs. They are up close and personal and love spreading their contagious passion for good food, especially when it’s appreciated.
Breakfast is eagerly anticipated and does not disappoint. In fact, I would say this is the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had in Australia. Again, everything prepared before you. You get to choose what you want and how you want it. I especially love the daily juices and smoothies served in recycled bottles – again with that sense of fun.
Like the food, the Spa does not disappoint and the menu is equally enticing. The Spa, as I’ve come to expect with QT, is not what you expect. It is colourful, open and there is no code of silence. The change room is like a funky, high-school locker room with good old fashioned metal lockers. No muted tones, all vibrant and cheery. Even the menu is written without the usual political correctness:
“Just like your mind, your body isn’t static. At spaQ we get that, and so we decided to do things a little differently ourselves to fit in with your individual groove. As well as packing our menu with some serious therapeutic punch, we made room for flexibility, customisation and individualisation.
For a start, we don’t pressure you to make your treatment selection in advance. Just reserve your time and then, with the help of your therapist, you can choose a treatment experience when you arrive. That way you get exactly what you need on the day, rather than something that feels so… umm, last week. That’s what we call a freshly-picked Spa experience!”
So that’s exactly what I do, opting for the freshly-picked experience, and I look forward with anticipation. I allow plenty of time before my treatment so I can enjoy the hammam and ice fountain, setting the scene. Once I’m in my treatment room, I chat with the therapist about how she can best meet my needs. I’m a ‘have my cake and eat it’ girl, so we go for a power facial to get maximum results in minimum time, leaving plenty of time for a good, much-needed remedial massage. I’ve hit pay dirt with my therapist. She was previously the product trainer for the range she is using on me, so she knows exactly what is best for me, and has a deft hand when applying them. Rock and roll!
I wouldn’t normally use words like ‘groove’ or ‘mojo’ when talking Spa experiences, but I honestly feel like a new person with more skip in my step. I can relate perfectly to how they conclude the spaQ menu:
“With spicy and soothing refreshments, smooth tunes, a stylishly vibrant look and an awesome team of Spa specialists, spaQ takes a playful, frisky and light-hearted approach to feeling well and looking great. With the help of natural Spa product creator Uspa, our mission is to help you shine.”
And shine I do!