I blinked slowly and looked again. But they were still there – my eyes had not been tricking me. There were the Versace pillows on my bed looking up at me as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Perhaps it was, I was staying in the Palazzo Versace Hotel after all.
That might have been the moment that I began to understand that the Gold Coast moniker might not just refer to the gorgeous sandy beaches, but also to the obvious affluence that’s evident wherever you turn. Whenever that moment was, it was an impression I kept throughout the rest of my week-long trip.
The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is a 35km-long strip along the Queensland coast stretching from just south of Brisbane. It houses a number of towns dotted along its pristine shores. The most popular areas for tourists to visit are centred around the Surfer’s Paradise, Broadbeach, Main Beach and Southport areas of the coast.
Forget any dreams you might have of untouched beaches without the crowds, in the main tourist areas at least. The Gold Coast attracts several million visitors per year, lured by the almost-constant sunshine and miles of beaches. The contrast between the high-rise buildings alongside the perfect sandy beaches might not be to everyone’s taste, but if it is then it’s sun and style all the way.
There are plenty of places for you to splash your cash too. Countless shopping malls to tempt everyone from die-hard shoppers to those just looking to pick up a few more bikinis or swimmers for the beach.
You might not love the loud and proud attitude of Surfer’s Paradise, but the quiet and refined area of Main Beach is perfect for those wanting to spend time in the Gold Coast surrounded by their creature comforts. Which is why I booked myself in for a stay in the Palazzo Versace Hotel.
Palazzo Versace Hotel
Few places do Gold Coast better than the Palazzo Versace Hotel. It’s the area’s most talked about and still one of its most popular properties. Kitted out in full designer garb, the hotel could take to the runway at next season’s fashion shows in Milan. However, it still manages to be what every good hotel should be – welcoming and comfortable.
From Jacuzzi baths to faster-than-believable room service, everything is tailored to the guest’s wants and needs. Especially when, like me, your needs include a pampering massage in the confines of their Aurora Spa. With a treatment list as long as your arm, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you – the stressed and unstressed alike will love their hour-long massage.
There are numerous dining options, both in the hotel and in the surrounding area. Each of the Gold Coast’s areas offers a plethora of eateries to tempt the tastebuds. The Palazzo Versace’s own fine-dining restaurant Vanitas is one of the best in the area, understandable when you witness (and taste) the six-course degustation menu that turns the highlights of the menu into a dining experience that’s difficult to rival.
Exploring the Gold Coast Area
If that’s all a little too laid-back, there are plenty of activities to get you on your feet again. They don’t call it Surfer’s Paradise for nothing – the waves in the area are perfect for both beginners and more experienced surfers. You can also explore Seaworld, one of the seven theme parks dotted around the area. A fun day out for kids and adults alike, few places are better to escape from the sometimes searing heat of the Australian sun.
Out of the water, the Gold Coast Hinterland provides plenty of opportunity to explore another side of the area. Head inland and discover the natural beauty of the bush. The area is dominated by the McPherson mountain range, a haven for hikers and trekkers. Even a drive through the area provides a welcome respite from the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast as many people know it. Within the Hinterland, the 200sq kilometre Lamington National Park encompasses sub-tropical rainforests, lush gullies and some excellent trails.
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