With an array of new hotel openings, extraordinary aquatic experiences and attractions, Queensland, Australia is an exciting place to visit this year. For travelers heading down under, the destination is a fascinating mix of cities and coast. The state offers an array of diverse experiences throughout its 14 regions from the art and culture of the greater Brisbane region, to the outdoor adventure and coastal offerings of the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Below is a sampling of the latest news from the state of Queensland, Australia. For additional information, please visit www.queensland.com.
NEW HOTEL AND RESORT OPENINGS:
Breeze – Moololaba, Sunshine Coast
Breeze, a new boutique coastal property located in Moololaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is the newest luxury resort to open in the seaside suburb in over a decade. Breeze occupies a prime position on the beachfront esplanade and is within walking distance of award-winning dining including the area’s beloved Spice Bar restaurant. With its fluid, exterior architecture that mirrors the ocean’s gentle waves, the property features 57, style-forward apartments designed in neutral colors and beachside décor. Breeze also offers a pool and spa, and guests have access to the beach as well as bicycles for exploring Mooloolaba and the surrounding coastal community. For more information about Breeze and to book reservations visit: www.breezemooloolaba.com.au.
Heart Hotel and Gallery – Airlie Beach, Whitsundays
Newly opened in November 2016, the hotly anticipated Heart Hotel and Gallery Whitsundays located in the center of the cosmopolitan seaside resort village of Airlie Beach, offers travelers boutique accommodations and amenities, coupled with highly personalized and attentive service. Designed to resemble a modern take on classic Queenslander architecture, the hotel delivers high-pitched roofs, spacious verandahs, timber cladding and exquisite detailing. Each of the hotel’s luxury guestrooms and suites feature L’Occitane bath amenities. Travelers have the choice of booking the property’s upper level club floor guestrooms or suites, which offer exclusive top floor room allocation, evening canapes in the restaurant, housekeeping turndown service and priority early check in/check out services. Hotel suites offer views of Airlie Beach or the Coral Sea Ocean. Heart Hotel and Gallery Whitsundays restaurant and lounge bar’s menus are inspired by locally sourced items and cuisine, and offers diners a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere. The property is in the center of the village’s bustling retail area and features an art gallery on its top floor, which showcases monthly exhibitions from local Whitsunday artists. For more information about the Heart Hotel and Gallery Whitsundays, and for reservations visit: http://www.hearthotelwhitsundays.com.au/.
Paradise Country – Oxenford, Gold Coast
Paradise Country, the Gold Coast’s rustic farm-world theme park, where families discover a cuddly collection of Aussie wildlife and farmyard friends, now offers overnight stay experiences. Families can turn a day out at the farm into an overnight stay with the choice of accommodation in the park’s family style camp, motor home or farm stay eco-tent. Guests of Paradise Country’s overnight stay experiences enjoy full use of the theme park that includes access to the Farmhouse restaurant and bar facilities, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and are welcome to enjoy exclusive farm stay activities including campfires and games. Paradise Country is located 20 minutes from the Gold Coast’s renowned Surfer’s Paradise, and is nearby other theme park attractions including Warner Bros. Movie World, and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast. For more information about Paradise Country and to book reservations visit:paradisecountry.com.au.
The Island – Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise icon The Islander Resort has been completely redesigned and renamed The Island. Located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, The Island hotel offers 150 newly renovated, spacious rooms that are designed incorporating both classic and functional elements, while evoking a modern sense of the classic surfer film, “Gidget”. Boasting views of the hinterland, city, beach and water, guests of The Island hotel will also have access to experience the property’s revamped tropical rooftop bar, The Island Rooftop. The Island will debut a kids’ club, and programming later this year. For more information about The Island boutique hotel and for reservations, please visit: www.theislandgoldcoast.com.au.
The Johnson, an Art Series Hotel – Spring Hill, Brisbane
Recently debuted in September 2016, The Johnson is the Art Series Hotels’ first Queensland property, and is inspired by globally renowned Australian colorist Michael Johnson. The opening marks a pivotal milestone for the hotel group in expanding their dedicated art inspired offerings across Australia. Eighty-three spacious suites and two penthouses boasting spectacular views across the city, as well as multi-functional public spaces are adorned with the Sydney-born artist’s original paintings and giclee prints. Guests of The Johnson have access to the hotel’s infamous art tours and in-room art channels and libraries. Branded Smart Cars and Lekker bicycles are available for guest use, and complement the property’s array of resort-like amenities that include: a 164 foot resort style pool and deck bar; state-of-the-art fitness facility; Tumbling Stone and the hotel’s signature restaurant. For more information about The Johnson and reservations visit: http://www.artserieshotels.com.au/johnson/.
ZEN Beach Retreat – Bargara, Southern Great Barrier Reef
Situated on Kelly’s Beach in Bagara, a private beachfront located on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, ZEN Beach Retreat offers highly personalized boutique retreat programs for groups of up to 22 guests. The newly opened property offers four villas, accommodating up to four guests each, and one main house which can accommodate up to six guests. Travelers can choose from a broad range of professional options and facilitated retreat programs that include personalized eco-therapy experiences, integrated health and wellness sessions, team-building and lifestyle packages. ZEN Beach Retreat offers complimentary beach sports equipment, local tourism excursions, outdoor dining with locally sourced menu items, revitalizing treatment and relaxation areas, kids play area with zip-line, ladders and hammocks, a magnesium pool with built in spa and adjacent pool deck. An 18-hole golf course is nearby as are local shops and dining venues. Limited spaces are available now through 2018 with bookings available up to two years in advance. For more information and reservations visit: www.zenbeachretreat.com
Tangatours Illuminated Wrecks Tour – Brisbane
New to the Tangatours experience, known for providing activities and tours located in the heart of Moreton Island at Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort, is the stunning Illuminated Wrecks Tour. Guests experience the nocturnal beauty of the ocean from a glass bottom boat that is illuminated by LED lights. Participants view deliberately sunken ships that attract starfish, dugongs, dolphins, shovelnose rays, turtles and more than 200 different species of colorful reef fish, plus a dazzling display of bio-luminescence. For tech-lovers, an underwater video camera live streams the experience to any iPad on board, while guides regale in the history of the Wrecks. For more information and reservations visit: www.tangatours.com.au
1770 Reef Great Barrier Reef Eco Tour – Town of 1770, Southern Great Barrier Reef
As the closest access point to Lady Musgrave Island, 1770 Reef Great Barrier Reef Eco Tours located in Town of 1770, Southern Great Barrier Reef, offers visitors luxury catamaran cruises with direct access to Lady Musgrave Island and its inner lagoon – an eight-nautical mile circle of coral protected areas ideal for snorkeling and under water exploring. Departing daily, the 75-minute trip to the island includes snorkeling, guided island nature walks, glass bottom boat tours, morning/afternoon tea and a buffet lunch. Trips depart daily at 8:30am and return at 5:00pm. For more information and reservations visit: www.1770reef.com.au.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Life in Balance retreat – March 9-12, 2017 – Gold Coast
Located in Australia’s Gold Coast, the Hugh Jackman owned Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat introduces its Life in Balance specialty wellness retreat from March 9-12, 2017. The new Life in Balance program integrates seminars and practical sessions with guest holistic psychiatrists, Drs. Peter Parry and Anja Kriegeskotten. Guests will have the opportunity to be part of the sessions led by both doctors, who will speak to how natural antidepressants can lead to greater mental balance. And for the first time, the Life in Balance retreat will incorporate equine learnings, working with Gwinganna’s onsite horses and expert practitioners. Life in Balance is available for one session only from March 9-12, 2017. Packages include three-night accommodation, all organic meals and snacks, all activities, specialty sessions and selected spa and wellness therapies in a dedicated retreat environment. Fully inclusive package rates for the program start at $1,465 per person based on double occupancy. For more information and reservations visit: www.gwinganna.com.
Cruise Whitsundays Sea Quest – Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef
Sea Quest, a brand new $3.5 million vessel is the newest addition to the Cruise Whitsundays fleet. Offering comfort cruising for up to 258 passengers daily to Whitehaven Beach, the ship was commissioned to provide enhanced touring experiences for guests on the iconic Great Barrier Reef location known for its picturesque white sand and azure waters. Packages contain picnic lunch tours that include a full BBQ beach side lunch, snorkeling and other activities. For more information and reservations visit: www.cruisewhitsundays.com.
Granite Belt Wine Country Bike Tours – Granite Belt
Granite Belt Wine Country wine tours are now available by bike. Just over two hours from Brisbane, the new 21-mile Stanthorpe to Balladean bike trail takes cyclists along a scenic tour of the region that offers breathtaking views and passes through quaint country villages, award winning restaurants, cafes and the area’s wineries. For more information and reservations visit: http://www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au.
IN DEVELOPMENT NEWS:
Rydges Tradewinds hotel, which was recently acquired by GA Group, will soon be undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade with plans to be redeveloped into a luxury reef-themed property including the addition of a rainforest-themed twin tower hotel development. The property will be located at the corner of Aplin and Abbot and Lake streets in Cairns, and will be the first major hotel development in the region in 20 years. Construction is due to begin in early 2017.
The 240-room waterfront Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns will commence a multi-million dollar upgrade to 100 of its guestrooms and suites, lobby and reception area for a welcoming guest arrival experience. The property refurbishment announced by Mulpha International, which recently acquired the property for over $30 million, comes in conjunction with the city’s tourism resurgence and key developments in the area. Rydges Esplanade Cairns Resort is within in walking distance to the city’s Performing Arts Center and Aquarium, and recently completed Munro Martin Parklands and Tobruk Memorial Pool. For more information and reservations visit: www.rydges.com.
New $333 Million Luxury Aquis Australia – Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Investment group Aquis Australia has unveiled plans for a new $333 million luxury hotel on a prime beachfront location in the tourist mecca of Surfers Paradise in Queensland’s Gold Coast. The 48-level complex expected to begin construction in 2018, will include 580 hotel guestrooms with a range of suite categories including two-bedroom, deluxe, super-deluxe and large penthouse suites. The project, which will be designed by leading international architects Woods Bagot, will include a ground floor lobby atrium that encompasses three levels and will showcase a spectacular multi-million dollar art installation. World-class dining and entertainment will feature five restaurant outlets led by global chefs. Aquis Australia is the only new, large-scale hotel currently planned for the Surfers Paradise area of south-east Queensland, and is announced as the Gold Coast records its highest-ever levels of tourist stays. For more information about Aquis Australia Hotel visit: www.aquisaustralia.com.
AccorHotels announced the development of a new 238-room Novotel hotel on Brisbane’s South Bank set to debut in late 2018. The Novotel Brisbane South Bank hotel will be located adjacent to the Brisbane Convention Center and will offer guests direct pedestrian access connecting the hotel property with the convention center. The property will feature two meeting rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and signature restaurant and bar. All guest rooms will incorporate Novotel’s global Novotel ‘N Room design and offer Novotel Gourmet Bar and Food Exchange dining concept. Other Novotel amenities including Live N’ Dream bedding, interactive TV’s, FairTrade bathroom amenities, and free barista coffee at breakfast will be made available. For more information visit: http://www.accorhotels.com/.
Howard Smith Wharves – Brisbane
Howard Smith Wharves is transforming into a world-class riverside recreation, lifestyle, event, and tourist destination. The redevelopment of the site will become a new city landmark which will include multiple acres of public open space, a 164-room hotel, an exhibition center and a variety of restaurants and cafes. For more information visit: www.howardsmithwharves.com/.