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“qualia - great, but could be much better”
Review of Qualia Resort

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Qualia Resort
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Hamilton Island
Certificate of Excellence
Bakersfield, California
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“qualia - great, but could be much better”
Reviewed January 27, 2009

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.

  • Liked — Physical setting, pavilions.
  • Disliked — Inconsistent service
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank 55Kevy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New South Wales
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2009

My Husband & i recently stayed at Qualia for 3 days. The occasion was for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We wanted to go somewhere special, and we were not dissapointed!

From the moment the gates close behind you it's like another world.

We enjoyed all our meals and found the staff very friendly & helpful. Any request we had they went out of their way to help.

Our Pavillion No:27, was just perfect...........it had the most spectacular view down Whitsunday Passage, which could be viewed from the bathroom, bedroom, loungeroom or our own private plunge pool!

After returning to our Pavillion after breakfast on the day of our Anniversary, we walked in to find a plate decorated with "Happy Anniversary" in chocolate & petite fours. We thought that was a very nice touch.

The weather wasn't the best while we were there, but we still had a great time.

The only fault we could find is that housekeeping isn't quiet up to scratch. It has been said in other reviews for the money you pay you expect the attention to detail, which it wasn't with housekeeping. You shouldn't have to ask for sugar or coffee, which we did.

Overall we loved Qualia..............and will be sure to visit again!

  • Liked — Everything......Plunge Pool, Views
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Molly114
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2009

I recently stayed in Qualia for 5 days. The weather was good for about half that time, the resort is so good we were able to enjoy every day.

The accommodation is the best i've stayed in and i travel and stay in top hotels about 3 months a year. The food was generally very good, and the taster menu in particular was excellent.

The cocktails are also superb and i must have tried about 12 of them off the list. I just can't really find fault with the hotel. Its expensive, but worth every penny in my opinion.

Things to do:

A picnic on one of the other islands... they set up the picnic before we even arrived. So you don't even have to worry about that, it was all prepared in advance.

Best of both worlds helicopter ride. This took off from Qualia's very own helipad. Some excellent snorkelling and Whitehaven beach is stunning, and i loved the hour ride in the helicopter.

Spa. As the weather was lousy for a few days we took advantage of the facilities and had a massage, facial and wrap. All were excellent and booking wan't a problem.

I could go on, if i find a better hotel than this in the next few years i will be very surprised.....

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank BluewhaleLondon_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucharest
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2009

7 nights starting with January 2,2009. First major disapoitment: at 14.15 room was not ready...Generakl manager unhelpful and arrogand. No help. More then one hour spent in loby.
Beutefull landscaping; nice vila. Bad service. Prepare yourself to spent about 2.5 hours for each diner.
Uneficient and insuficent staff. Greate view. The long helicopter tour (Whitesunday+Great barier Reef) strongly recomended.
We will not return. Australia has more better thinks to offer.

  • Liked — view
  • Disliked — service
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ab75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 19, 2009

I will begin with the caveat that there was a cyclone to the north which resulted in 4 days of virtually non-stop rain and grey weather. We are big sun lovers and really do enjoy getting out to see the sites and do the activities so we were worried that the weather was going to ruin our trip. We could not of hoped for a better place to be in the rain than qualia,

The villas are enormous. We had a living room with a wall of floor to ceiling windows, a bedroom with a wall of windows and a bathroom that you could dance in. We definitely did not mind spending the day in the room, watching the wind and the water pound on the rocks of the nearby islands.

We ate a lot. We tend to eat a lot at resorts anyway but when the weather is so bad we tend to eat more. The food was terrific with plenty to choose from. The staff were very friendly and attentive, however they all did seem a bit young. The sommelier Daniel was absolutely charming, dinners were a delightful affair. They have an extensive wine list and a cellar tour is a must. We did enjoy an evening degustation menu with the wine paring, definitely a must do experience here at qualia.

They do offer a sunset cocktail cruise but unfortunately this was canceled due to the weather. We did however enjoy drinks with the General Manager at his sundowner event. Jason is a very nice American whom just arrived at qualia from Thailand. We found him to be very helpful and really made us feel we were in a small, intimate resort.

Even though we could not get out and do the diving and island adventures that we were hoping to do we still enjoyed our stay very much. The island has a lot to offer outside of qualia. There are several restaurants, not as good as qualia, different activities and even a zoo where we could hold a Koala Bear.

We do look forward to returning to qualia at a time when there is not so much rain.

  • Liked — The big rooms and the privacy from the other villas
  • Disliked — could not fully black out the room
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank diveandtravelusa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC. USA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 13, 2009

My partner and I had been on a multi-week holiday through Australia staying at Kangaroo Island, Park Hyatt Sydney, Longitude 131 and a few others that are not really worth mentioning. By far our highlight was Qualia. What an extraordinary find in Australia. We have been to Australia before and never did find this type of variety and quality of hotels. Something is happening in this country and its good.

The hotel is lovely. The rooms are enormous and so well thought out. A TV in the bedroom was the only thing that we would of liked to have had. We stayed in a Windward suite, these have the private pools. The views are stunning as were the staff and the food.

Definitely check out the spa, it can be challenging to book an appointment so do that when you get there, Don't wait till the last minute.

Even during the rain we enjoyed ourselves.

  • Liked — the generous layout of the property
  • Disliked — we did not book long enough
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank traveljunkiesusa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
165 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 178 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2009

Four nights at qualia as a birthday gift from my wife.

From the moment my wife & I were greeted at Hamilton Island airport by qualia staff, to when we entered the Long Pavilion (the breathtaking view across Whitsunday Passage has to be one of the most beautiful in the world – even the pictures on qualia’s website don’t do it justice) and were given glasses of Champagne, to being escorted to our pavilion (where a complimentary bottle of Champagne was chilling in an ice bucket for us), we felt immersed in the “qualia effect”.

If I stated “how good is this” to my wife once during the first two days, I said it twenty times; the peace, tranquility, and natural beauty that qualia offers gives one an immediate feeling of relaxation (not to mention a deep appreciation for being able to experience qualia).

Our pavilion (#27), conveniently located overlooking Pebble Beach Pavilion (pool, restaurant, gym), was much larger and more spacious than my wife or I expected. Thanks and appreciation to qualia for fulfilling my wife’s request for pavilion 25, 26, or 27 (as recommended by some of our friends who had stayed at qualia in October 2008).

The bed in our pavilion was as comfortable as a Heavenly bed at Westin, or a Sweet Sleeper bed at Sheraton.

The bathroom in our pavilion was huge, with a separate toilet room, dual basins set on opposite sides of the bathroom, a bathtub positioned in front of a massive window with stunning views across Whitsunday Passage, and separate shower with overhead “cloud-burst” showerhead to compliment the traditional shower.

The deck with infinity plunge pool was our favourite part of the pavilion, where we spent time in the water relaxing, taking in the million dollar views, watching an always-changing mix of boats, jet skis, and parasailers come and go.

Breakfast in the Long Pavilion offered a wide range of choices, including cereals and fresh fruits from a buffet, as well as several cooked breakfast options from which to choose (such as scrambled eggs and smoked salmon; mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, marinated feta & eggs of your choice), that changed slightly on a daily basis.

On the three days we had lunch at Pebble Beach, we found the menu to be interesting, offering different varieties, styles, and flavours of cuisine.

The one area where qualia really disappointed my wife & me, and where we believe there is significant room/need for improvement is service (or lack thereof). qualia need to seriously address their quality of service if they are to realise their vision of being a “world-class” luxury resort.

Lapses in service (coffee, tea, & milk were not restocked in our pavilion during the first two days of our stay; beach towels were not replaced in our pavilion one day; the Long Pavilion restaurant was out of green tea on two separate days); forgetfulness (a dinner reservation was not made as requested, but we were eventually given a table for the degustation dinner - for which we thought had been booked for us as we were told when being seated at breakfast that same morning); as well as generally slow and inconsistent service is what caused our overall experience at qualia to be disappointing and not live up to our expectations.

Several qualia staff members provided quite friendly service to my wife & me throughout or stay at qualia, but the slowness (even allowing for “island time”) and inconsistency is what disappoints about qualia.

My wife & I both believe that qualia has the potential to become a uniquely Australian luxe-resort equivalent to the likes of GHM Hotels (The Legian Bali, etc.) and/or Aman Resorts (Amanpuri, etc.), but qualia management and staff must lift their service and consistency, and stop relying simply on qualia’s stunningly beautiful location and quality & size of pavilions (the things that give qualia its “WOW!” factor) to attract guests.

Again to be fair to qualia, on the occasions when my wife & I expressed our unhappiness or dissatisfaction about something that we felt wasn’t right, the staff acknowledged our complaints, and went to the effort to make amends (full credit to qualia management for delegating the authority to do so).

My wife commented that she would describe qualia as reminding her of a symphony orchestra, but without a conductor, as nothing seemed to “flow” or ever completely be “in-synch”, with service staff working independently rather than in a co-ordinated manner.

Would we return to qualia if we were to come to Hamilton Island again? Probably, but not before trying the Beach Club (our one dinner at Beach Club was excellent, with service exceeding our expectations) next as a value-for-money comparison to qualia.

The above review is my honest appraisal of qualia, and is offered without prejudice. If any TripAdvisor members would like to ask any questions about my wife’s & my stay at qualia, please feel free to message me.

  • Liked — Size, spaciousness of pavilion; private plunge pool;
  • Disliked — Slow & inconsistent service that could test one's patience at times.
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Charles S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Qualia Resort

Property: Qualia Resort
Address: 20 Whitsunday Boulevard, 4803, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Whitsunday Islands > Hamilton Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Hamilton Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Qualia Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 60
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

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