Lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy
IF you're not smiling after checking in at QT Gold Coast, then you're just not trying.
How can you not be cheered up by the fabulous uniforms of the QT staff: a full length bright blue jumpsuit for the gals, and board shorts or Capri pants with braces and bow ties for the guys.
Created by costume designer Janet Hine, the geek chic uniforms give you a hint of the philosophy of fun at the playful hotel.
The hotel is an impressive and contemporary space. Everything here is bold and bright, designed to get guests in the mood for fun.
But don't be fooled, this is a luxurious, grown-up hotel that offers quality facilities and service.
The lobby is modern and dynamic; an eclectic collection of details such as rich floor-to-ceiling wood panelling, artist-crafted feature walls, and custom lighting for mood as well as function.
The huge lobby spaces, which span two floors, are also home to a cafe, bar, restaurant, and day spa, but we'll get to those later.
Our room overlooks the beach (other rooms offer mountain views).
The rooms are a good size, featuring the same eclectic style of the rest of the hotel, pared back to create a relaxing atmosphere.
With all the mod cons you'd expect as well as a fantastic bathroom, a coffee machine and a cute touch of complementary homemade lemonade, the rooms are really comfortable.
And everything is for sale: the bathrobes, the alarm clock, the room service trays, the artwork, the crockery... everything. So when your stay is over, you can take a little QT home with you.
The hotel features two tennis courts and a fully equipped gymnasium, but come on, we're not here to work out; we're here to eat, drink, and be merry.
And QT is the place for it.
The hotel bar, Stingray Lounge, which is a mecca for the uber-cool crowd, is heaving on a Friday night.
We enjoy a couple of drinks and move on to Bazaar, the hotel's "interactive marketplace" (it's a fancy buffet) that has become one of the Gold Coast's most popular dining venues.
Bazaar has been designed using international street stalls and bodegas as inspiration, with a modern twist.
There are separate stations which represent different cultures, and as many dishes as you can imagine.
Cured meats hang from high ceilings adjacent to strings of garlic and chilli, while fresh king prawns and sand crabs sit chilled, an array of exotic dishes, wood-fired pizzas and mouth-watering rotisserie cooked meats tempt the taste buds.
Executive chef Luke Stepsys is behind the restaurant.
His background is impressive, having worked at award-winning restaurants such as The Terrace in Tasmania, Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant in South Australia, and Wildfire in Sydney.
In Bazaar he has created another dynamic dining experience, but the buffet style invites overeating, and we leave so full that there is nothing to be done except go back to our room and enjoy a movie and some more wine.
The following day after an exceptional breakfast, again at Bazaar, I head to spaQ, which is spacious, luxurious and generally divine.
After an hour of pampering, I'm almost ready to go back to reality.