After the launch of One&Only Hayman Island, it was time to slow things down with a visit to qualia, a place I had heard much about but never been lucky enough to visit.
Bob Oatley's pride and joy on Hamilton Island offers a different kind of experience to One&Only: for a start, kids under 16 aren't allowed (although there's plenty of family friendly accommodation on the island).
As soon as you arrive you can feel the calm serenity of the place. Indeed, as one of our hosts remarked: "It feels like someone has turned the volume down the moment you come through the gates".
That may have something to do with the fact qualia was laid out following the recommendations of a Buddhist architect who sat on rocks when he visited the site and plotted where each of the 60 pavilions should be. While he got the placement right, the builders did the rest, creating a wonderful blend of natural wood, glass and stone.
My room was impressive, boasting a large deck with a day bed where I could watch the world sail by, a bed with an awesome view, a plunge pool and quite possibly the largest shower I have ever been in, boasting enough space for a small coach party. Little wonder that the Latin translation for qualia is “a collection of deeper sensory experiences”.
And then, of course, there’s the food. While enjoying a pre-dinner libation on qualia’s Pebble Beach, a couple of boats pulled up and our party were encouraged to select their own mudcrab and other local fish. You really can’t get much fresher than that! While our one-night stay at qualia afforded just a mere glimpse at the beauty within, it was enough to appreciate what Oatley and his family have done to create a truly unique piece of Australian luxury.
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