Passion Points: Active/Adventure
When former Rosemont Estate winery owner Robert Oatley couldn’t find a sufficiently luxurious getaway in Australia for his family and friends, he decided to build one himself. Qualia opened in October 2007 on the northernmost tip of Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays (the entire three-mile by two-mile island is owned by the Oatley family), just a two-hour flight from Sydney. Taking inspiration from the Aman resorts, there is a complex of independent pavilion suites that hug the sloping hillside down to the Whitsundays Passage, plus two restaurants, a library and gym. The sixty rooms each have stunning views of the island and the turquoise Coral Sea, where you can see migrating humpback whales from June to August. The Leeward Rooms face north and each have private sun decks, while the Windward Rooms on the South West side of the island come with private plunge pools. There is also the romantic Beach House set apart from the other accommodation, with two bedrooms and a full-size private pool. The hub of the island is centered around the cliff top Pavilion restaurant, or down at the more casual Pebble Beach restaurant where there is also a beach pool. At the center of the island, the Qualia spa features six treatment rooms, sunken Roman baths and a yoga and meditation pavilion. All activities on the island have minimum eco impact- whether you’re game fishing, bushwalking, snorkeling or scuba diving. Australia is home to the largest collection of coral reefs in the world and the protected bays, well-developed fringe reefs and shallow waters create the perfect habitat for an abundance of marine life. Novice divers can explore the reefs around the island or for more experienced divers Qualia can organize half or full-day tours to the many dive sites close to the resort. Trips to Bait reef and the famous ‘stepping stones’ are especially popular. Note: The hotel does not allow children under 18. Rooms from AUD $1450 per night.
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