I totally echo what BrisbaneYankee has posted below. The setting, the gardens, the pavilions were all just short of spectacular. The food was above average, and I'm picky about my food, both in quality and variety. Where qualia needs improvement is in the service area. And here it is more a matter of establishing consistent high standards of service rather than any particular area of service. Following is a selection from an email sent to Jason, the General Manager, following our stay. By the way, we were there over the Christmas period and had 9 nights at qualia.
We’ve only stayed at one other resort, Vatulele in Fiji, where we enjoyed the meals as much as we did Qualia’s. Although we had the option of dining in other establishments on the Island, we elected to eat with you for all but 1 meal. The chef was inventive with the menus, providing enough variety and quality to satisfy us for 8 days.
I cannot say enough good things about the staff at the guest services desk. They were very helpful in providing us with the information needed to make decisions regarding the various activities that were on offer, and then made the bookings. They made a reservation for us at a Sydney restaurant; I foolishly left the confirmation note behind, and when we arrived in Sydney had forgotten the time. When I called the restaurant they had no record of the reservation. One call to Jess at Qualia set the wheels in motion and the reservation was confirmed and the error (a misspelling of my name) corrected.
There are some real standouts in the restaurant staff as well. We were fortunate to have Daniel Scher serve us several evenings; his recommendations for wines were spot-on, something that was particularly appreciated as my knowledge of Australian wines is limited. Also appreciated was Angela and her efficiency. Several times we had activities scheduled soon after lunch and she ensured that our lunches were ready when needed. I must say that all the restaurant staff were pleasant, courteous, and cheerful. Kimberly was particularly bright and cheery, regardless of the time of day. And our special requests for meals were met almost flawlessly.
I recognize that we were guests during an exceedingly busy period for Qualia, and the comments that follow take this into account. The only detraction during our stay was in the level of service provided. While the staff were all courteous and eager to please, there were gaps in the provision of the service.
Meals: At one point during a meal, breakfast I believe, I wondered if the servers ever became embarrassed by the number of times they had to say “I’m sorry” when they were unable to meet a request or forgot something (not just with us but with other guests also). A specific example: my wife likes a lot of lemon with her hot black tea in the morning, but it wasn’t until nearly the end of our stay that the lemon came without being requested (sometimes more than once). We felt that the timing of courses for the degustation nights was too long; the a la carte evenings were better timed, but even these seemed to drag on a little too long. And this may be the American in me, but coffee took too darn long to get in the morning.
Pavilion: As I noted above, the Pavilion was wonderful: spacious and well-designed (although better reading light would be appreciated, but that is a common complaint we have with many resorts and hotels). However, we had to call 3 or 4 times following either the room make up in the morning or following turndown service in the evening for additional linens. We lacked hand towels on a couple of occasions, face cloths twice, and had a chronic shortage of bathmats. Our requests were always met, but after a few days one would think that there’d be note up: XXXXX, Pav. 17: 4 bath towels, 4 hand towels, 2 face cloths, 3 bathmats. Also, on the linen front: buy some sheets that fit the mattresses! The flat sheets don’t fully cover the mattress and hence the maids have to decide which end to short.
Would we go back to qualia? Well, we're unlikely to go back to Hamilton Island as there is so much more of Australia to visit, but if we did, we'd probably stay at qualia.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the Whitsundays, qualia puts the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef right on your doorstep. Its sun-drenched northern aspect provides the ideal location to appreciate the passing beauty of each day, surrounding guests with some of the most stunning and spectacular waters to be found anywhere in the world. What’s more, with a direct flight taking only 2-3 hours from international gateway cities on Australia’s east coast, qualia truly is a world-class destination without the journey.qualia offers a choice of 60 individual pavilions, each with breathtaking views. There are spacious one-bedroom freestanding pavilions (Windward and Leeward) that provide an indulgentspace to relax in and unwind, with either a sundeck or private infinity edge plunge pool. Or, there’s the uncompromising luxury and privacy of the Beach House with its own guest pavilion. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Qualia Hamilton Island
- Qualia Hotel Hamilton Island