Our incredible travel advisor and business leader at Ross & Turner Travel Associates, Kim Ross, recently travelled around South East Queensland and the Red Centre. Read about her experience and favourite luxury hotels and experiences along the way, below.
Emporium Hotel South Bank - Brisbane, QLD
This was a wonderful local surprise. I can't rate this hotel highly enough and encourage all looking for somewhere in Brisbane to book this in. The service was like something you would receive overseas, rarely felt in Australia. The attention to detail from all staff members was second to none from the moment we stepped out of our car on arrival and back into it for departure.
Then there was the hotel itself. Lots of trendy, almost quirky, interesting spaces. On arrival we headed straight to our Champagne High Tea at the French Patisserie Belle Epoque, designed like stepping into a Parisian promenade. A perfect way to kick start any holiday is with beautiful sweet and savoury treats coupled with two hours of endless champagne.
Our room was gorgeous with views over the Brisbane City river and skyline. It was filled with many small interesting touches - again, very on trend, lush amenities, and the good old chocolates at turn down. Breakfast was a great experience too and I would suggest the venue alone for those local residents.
The infinity edge rooftop pool was where we spent every morning. As the pool was located on the same floor as breakfast, we literally rolled out from our indulgent breakfast onto the pool lounges.
What a view from the pool - skyline city views. Even for those not wanting to swim, the pool deck is a must visit.
I love this hotel and have already booked my next stay. What's more now being a Virtuoso hotel, all bookings made with Travel Associates include a room upgrade on arrival, complimentary breakfast daily, a two hour Champagne High Tea for two guests, once per stay, early check-in, late check-out* and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort - Gold Coast, QLD
This is one of my favourite local stay-cations. Just down the road from home and super easy. It’s a beautiful beachfront property with a great swim-up pool bar. What more could you want? The resort is actually right in front of one of my go to walks here on the Gold Coast called Federation Walk - a great mix of land and sea. You can walk land one way and beach the other or vice versa. My family and I actually checked in here on a number birthday and were absolutely spoiled by the resort with an upgraded room filled with flowers, chocolates, champagne, balloons and gifts. We always enjoy the ease of being able to access the beach, pool and the multitude of restaurants in Main Beach.
Oceans Mooloolaba Resort - Sunshine Coast, QLD
This is another annual stay-cation with friends, and Mooloolaba is actually pumping right now. I have never seen it so busy outside of holiday times. Everyone is travelling locally. The Mooloolaba Esplanade now has some beautiful boutiques which makes for an easy stroll for a leisurely shop. Always on my agenda! The revamped wharf area has fantastic dining options and a booking in advance is an absolute must at the moment. The beachfront is really pretty with a great mix of actual beach areas and rock pools for the children to explore and for those with small children - the best beachside playground I have ever seen.
Oceans Mooloolaba Resort is a premium 5-star boutique apartment complex right on the beachfront. They have gorgeous ocean views from the apartments which are either 2 or 3 bedrooms. The swimming pool is heated year round and there is even a private movie room for hire!
Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort - Noosa, QLD
We picked the wettest week of the entire year to stay at Noosa. It was far from the picture of lazing on the beach everyday under my Cool Cabana that I had envisioned, but, as always you make the most of wherever you are and in fact the stay was great. We shopped, we ate and we explored areas we hadn't before. The sun poked itself out for the last full day and final morning which of course we maximised every minute of in the pool, beach and doing the spectacular coastal beautiful walk through the Noosa National Park.
The property has been refurbished and the public areas - lobby, bar, restaurant - are really trendy wonderful spaces to relax in. The rooms are large and have been softly refurbished. We were in a poolside room which offered great views over the pool and out to Hastings Street. The hotel is in such a great position to enjoy all that Hastings Street has to offer.
The Star - Gold Coast, QLD
Another easy drive, just down the road. We have a bit of a 24 hour routine with this hotel whenever we come. We always arrive and have a leisurely lunch at The Garden Kitchen & Bar. We love the feel of this restaurant/bar and can happily sit there for hours. Usually, this is followed by an afternoon by the pool, a shower and change then across to Broadbeach for dinner (or the novelty of room service if the kids are tired), a morning swim at the pool or beach followed by a leisurely breakfast at a local cafe before packing up and heading home again. While these 24 hours go quickly, it’s completely relaxing for us all.
This stay I had been lucky enough to receive a gift voucher for their day spa Azure, which I redeemed for a multitude of treatments. The Day Spa was lovely and the service excellent. It was an absolute treat to indulge and I would love to return.
Longitude 131 - Uluru, NT
It had been at least 15+ years between my last visit to Longitude 131 and still... WOW! Visiting this incredible property is reinforcement enough that we don't need to travel too far from home to experience something exceptional.
Longitude 131 is Australia's most celebrated luxury camp. Once visited, it’s easy to see why. It is a fully inclusive property set at an extraordinary iconic location looking directly out to Uluru. From the moment you arrive, you are personally welcomed by the staff with a refreshing towel and most importantly that cold glass of bubbles. Longitude 131 has been designed so that Uluru is in view from almost every turn you make. There is something almost spiritual in the air and you feel privileged to be there and be part of something so special.
All rooms (luxurious tented pavilions) face Uluru and in fact if you don't want to do anything more than laze in bed, flick up your automatic blinds, and soak in the view - you could.The pavilions are fabulous, a treasure in themselves. All individually created with Australian themes & art pieces. They have an all inclusive not-so-mini-bar, and of course that view!
Activities are all included and designed around the optimum time to see sunrise, sunset and explore the local sites without the crowds (and heat of the day). You can pick and choose on arrival what you would like to do and what you'd rather sit out.
We travelled with friends and managed to have a great blend of couple time with social time. Our mornings were up early to explore, then we would head back to Longitude 131 to enjoy the pools, the food, the open bar and everybody's company before our afternoon and night-time activities.
Small boutique properties master that personalised touch, and Longitude 131 didn't disappoint, calling us all by our names from arrival and small touches like remembering our favourite drinks pretty quickly and having them available when out touring.
This is a very magical experience and I urge everyone who has not explored the wonders of the Northern Territory to do so. Longitude 131 truly lives up.
Another Virtuoso property that includes the following exclusive inclusions when you book with Travel Associates - a $65 Spa Kinara credit per suite, a $65 Bespoke Experiences credit per suite, early check-in, late check-out and complimentary WiFi.