27 September 2023

‘Welcome to paradise’ at qualia on the Great Barrier Reef

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By Rama Gaind.

Queensland ― ‘Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next’ ― offers a slice of paradise to suit every traveller.
Part 1 is a feature on qualia, Hamilton Island, on the Great Barrier Reef. This is where you find ‘a unique Australian expression of world-class luxury’.

qualia is a world-class luxury resort on the northern tip of Hamilton Island with picturesque views across the Coral Sea and the Whitsundays. Photo: Rama Gaind

I dared to live the life I wanted to experience, albeit for a very short time, and I still feel euphoric!

Exuberance knew no bounds as we escaped to Hamilton Island to stay at qualia ― a world-class luxury resort nestled intimately on the eastern edge of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

With spectacular panoramic views across the Coral Sea and the Whitsundays, qualia is on the northernmost part of Hamilton Island.

Basking in the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef, it was magical waking up to such spellbinding scenery every morning. The five-day stay was holiday escapism at its finest!

It was very much a “pinch us” moment as we ― finally ― jetted off to warmer climes up north. ‘Mr C’ didn’t disrupt our plans here and now! We did get to celebrate (belatedly) our wedding anniversary and our birthdays. We had to cancel twice due to COVID-19. We were lucky the third time!

Emilio at qualia’s Long Pavilion. Photo: Rama Gaind

A unique Australian expression of world-class extravagance, qualia is a completely private world of sensory perfection. This is where you can live to the fullest, be indulged, feel pampered. What’s more, it’s here that you understand the true significance of being far away from the noise of large crowds, the frenzied actions, the commotion of civilisation.

The ambiance gives special meaning to one of Thomas Hardy’s major literary successes, Far from the Madding Crowd. Even the stealthy pace is welcome!

Seclusion, relaxing, memorable: qualia is a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city. This sun-drenched, adults-only hideaway provides exceptional levels of award-winning luxury and intuitive, friendly service.

It was heartening to realise the general manager at qualia, Scott Ratcliffe, took the time to personally greet us, wishing us well for our celebratory milestones. Those delicious chocolate and berry treats, paired well with champagne, and went a long way to brighten the mood. Not to mention the artisan chocolates, all of which were savoured, not rushed. Yes, we did have a lovely day(s)!

A magical sunset in the Whitsunday Passage. Photo: Rama Gaind

We acknowledged the reality of the greeting from Taylah Robinson, front office supervisor, when we were welcomed to “paradise”!

Exuding inconspicuous lavishness and exemplary Australian charm, qualia is where everything has been fastidiously considered to relax the mind, pamper the needs and overindulge the sensations.

Our stay

Every aspect of qualia is designed to engage, making the most of the natural tranquillity of the resort set on 12.1 hectares of garden landscape, with 60 pavilions, including 26 north-facing Windward Pavilions, 33 south-west-facing Leeward Pavilions and one secluded Beach House.

Our Leeward one-bedroom hillside pavilion was perfectly positioned to take in water views, tropical bushland and the Whitsundays. Its unique layout oozed a sense of privacy, open space and a harmony with nature that drew the outside in, just like we like it. It provided a sanctuary with a mix of stunning panoramas!

An electric golf buggy is a novel mode of transport on Hamilton Island. Photo: Rama Gaind

Looking across from our pavilion we could also clearly see the only Australian championship golf course on its own island ― Dent Island. It’s appealing to have lunch at the clubhouse, visit the lighthouse, putt on the green … good exercise to play an 18 or nine-hole round of golf … all the while taking-in some truly stunning, mesmerising vistas. Incredible reflections!

Morning, noon or night, you dine with a view at qualia’s two restaurants: Long Pavilion restaurant set high among the Eucalyptus trees with its sweeping views, and Pebble Beach restaurant on the edge of the sand.

An early morning start as we ordered our first meal of the day, and Emilio was attentive, telling us skipping breakfast was not an option. Choosing from a seasonal and delicious fare of the freshest Queensland produce, there’s nothing like a hearty start to a wholesome day!

After nightfall, also dining at Long Pavilion, was an illuminating experience as the menu lit up ― quite literally ― when opened!

Getting around

qualia’s infinity edge swimming pool refracting sunshine at Pebble Beach. Photo: Rama Gaind

Being (relatively) car-free gives Hamilton Island a unique, relaxed and serene ambience. A novel mode of transport is a golf buggy as you discover the island’s setting and laid-back lifestyle. It was an exhilarating feeling sitting behind the wheel of an electric buggy (a complimentary inclusion) around the resort. Driving, at a capped speed of 10km/hr, safety is of the essence. It meant I was able to slow down and bask in the gentle, easy-going pace of life. The maximum speed on the island is 30km/hr. Shaded from the sun with a canopy and with headlights for night driving, they are also a great way to explore the island.

While at qualia, a sunset cruise is a must, before you set out to discover the beautiful Australian icons of the region, including Whitehaven Beach. Heart Reef (best seen from the air) in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart.

Aerial view of Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays. Photo: Rama Gaind

Testament to its Latin origins, and deliberately spelled with a lower case ‘q’ ― ‘a collection of deeper sensory experiences’ ― qualia is a reflection of the peaceful, understated nature of this property.

Astonishing lifetime experiences lie at the heart of this resort, if you seek an idyllic and tangible indulgence. A pleasurable extravagance. A place of blue skies, calm waters, verdant green landscapes and breathtaking unsurpassable experiences!
As Walt Disney predicted, I proved that … “If you can dream it, you can do it.”


qualia, Great Barrier Reef Australia
Hamilton Island, Qld




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