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“Stunning Location, awful service”
Review of Qualia Resort

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Qualia Resort
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Hamilton Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 21, 2009

Unfortunately our experience is very similar to that of a number of recent reviewers.
The location is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and the hotel itself is also stunning, however the service would embarrass a 3 star motel, let alone a resort that charges $1,500 per night (bed & breakfast).

Staff are all friendly, but poorly trained and unsupervised. On 6 separate occasions I informed members of hotel staff that one of our party was vegan, every time I was told no problem and yet at 4 separate meals there was a problem. Ultimately I asked the (very helpful) deputy manager to sort things for our final dinner to ensure things went smoothly . We were therefore stunned when the vegetarian curry we ordered turned out to contain chicken! Other hotels in this price bracket manage these kinds of request seamlessly, this hotel couldn't get it right after the 6th attempt.

Standards of cleanliness are poor, the plunge pool isn't cleaned, poolside loungers are dirty from the day before, daybed is dirty.

The Gym was closed for two days of our four day visit without prior warning.

I could list another dozen similar issues that are small in themselves but add up to a poor experience. When I read the previous poor reviews I though perhaps people were being a little picky, however almost everything they described happened to us. It appears that the management do not respond to feedback.

While I was discussing my complaints with the deputy manager, another guest also asked to speak to the manager due to some "pretty serious service issues that had impacted his honeymoon".
If you can afford to stay at this hotel I suggest you spend your money elsewhere there are other hotels that actually deliver what this hotel aspires to do, but fails badly.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank anonabc987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 17, 2009


Qualia is an exclusive world class resort at the North end of Hamilton Island.

We stayed in one of the amazing north-facing Windward Pavilions with floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows which gave an expansive, postcard view of the turquoise sea and nearby Islands.

Our beautifully appointed pavilion featured an open plan living area, bedroom with a king-size bed and bathroom. There with sliding doors between each of the rooms should privacy be required. From the living area, glass doors led out to a private plunge pool overlooking the sea. It was just spectacular!

Each pavilion is equipped with its own golf buggy to enable guests to get around resort and explore the island. And don’t worry if you forget to recharge it. A member of staff comes around each evening to ensure it is properly charged and ready for use the next day.

And there were lots of nice touches like a complimentary bottle of champagne on arrival, a lovely little box of chocolates each evening and a daily newsletter with suggestions on what to see and do on the island.


The pavilions really are amazing. They are incredibly well equipped (including an advanced sound system with speakers in every room and a connection for an MP3 player) and the views are to die for. There is only one drawback, you are never going to be happy staying anywhere else ever again!


The hotel has two restaurants. Breakfast and dinner are served in the Long Pavilion (where the reception desk, library are bar are located) and lunch is available by the pool or at the Pebble Beach restaurant.

Alternatively, you can do as we did, and arrange a picnic on a deserted beach on a nearby island. What’s more, if your room rate includes lunch, there is no extra charge for this service.

Oh, and don’t forget to sunset drinks at One Tree Hill, one of the highest points on the island. Superb!


The hotel has two swimming pools, a spa and a gym. Early morning yoga classes and non-motorised water sports are included in the rate. There is a great team of guys based down on the beach who will instruct you in the art of Hobie Cat sailing or sea kayaking and come to your rescue (and promise not to tell anyone) should you capsize.


We found the service was a little variable. Some members of staff provided a truly great level of service. Others didn’t seem to be quite as focused on the needs of paying guests, believing the beautiful location, the amazing pavilions and the postcard views compensated for their lack of attention.

For example, we were kept waiting along with two other guests at the ferry terminal as the hotel driver was running late, the early morning yoga class was cancelled five minutes after it should have started because the instructor had not shown up for work, on more than one occasion we were left standing for several minutes before being greeted and shown to a table in the restaurant, there was a mix-up with the contents of our picnic hamper (an apology and appropriate compensation was offered) and the service around the pool plus the overflowing towel bin left something to be desired. Not earth shattering stuff, but at AUD 1700 per pavilion per night (inclusive of breakfast, dinner and non-alcoholic beverages), the management team ought to be capable of getting these sorts of things right!


Sydney: Park Hyatt (H)
Blue Mountains: Lilianfels (H)
Blue Mountains: Trek with Life's an Adventure (O)
Nelsons Bay : Amarana Beach Resort (A)
Port Macquarie: Quality Inn HW Boutique (H)
Coffs Harbour: Promised Land Cottages (A)
Byron: Byron at Byron (H)
Gold Coast: Palazzo Versace (H)
Airlie Beach: The Peninsula (A)
Whitsunday Islands: Coral Trekker (O)
Hamilton Island: Qualia (H)
Darwin: Sky City (H)
Litchfield National Park: Adventure Tours (O)
Kakadu National Park: Adventure Tours (O)
Ayers Rock (Uluru) & The Olgars (Kata Tjuta) National Park: Longitude 131° (H)
Perth: The Richardson (H)

(H) = Hotel (A) = Apartment (O) = Other

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Adventura1405
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2009

just got off the plane and had to write a review. wish I was still there. been all over the world, this is the best place I've stayed at. brilliant service, friendly but not intrusive staff. all you ever want, when you want. ultra clean pavillions, they are almost fanatic, attending 2 - 3 times a day to clean, turn down beds, and more. and the buggies are a hoot! you can just laze in your pavillion, or by the pool, or choose from so many different activities. the menu alternates every second night but maybe they should turn it around every three nights, but you can always just zip down to the marina in your buggy and either eat there or get a take away to your pavillion. this place is the best, the previous reviews were on a different planet!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Simla10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2009

Qualia is an example of how hype can only get you so far. To say I was disappointed by our stay on Qualia is an understatement. At $1200 a night there should not be a case of have's and have not's. Unfortunately at Qualia there is. Only half the resort rooms have plunge pools and to upgrade to a room with one is an extra $200 per night. There is no beach to speak of. It is really just rocks with a current you would not want to get caught in. There was no atmosphere whatsoever, just a lot of people feeling important but ultimately disappointed like we were. The rooms are beautiful but the service was lacking. To get anywhere you need your buggy which impacts the already lacking atmosphere. The spa is really stunning but had non-guests using it, which affected the avlability. The food in the restaurant was lovely, but again there were people sitting there in near-silence. I must disagree with some of the people who said the food was terrible. Also, Hamilton Island isn't as bad as people say it is. Sure it's noisy, has a large airport and has hotels ranging from three stars, but at least there is atmosphere and character. I stongly suggest saving your money and trying a smaller beach resort like Lizard Island or going to the Fiji islands if you are looking for atmosphere, beaches and luxury without the heaped-on pretense!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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17  Thank Luxtraveller77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2009

I stay at this resort as part of our Honeymoon for 10 nights. We were picked up from the airport in a nice Mercedes and dropped off to the reception area which has wonderful views onto the Whitsundays, normally at this time someone may come and provide you with a cold towel to cool you down or even check you in. We had to wait for about 20 minutes before we were attended to.

We were brought to our room that had lovely views, however we had booked a room with pool (Plunge pool) but were given the standard room which was nice but not what we booked. The lady that checked us in told us that the pavilions with pools were fully booked but she would get back to us. She never got back to us.

I felt that the Hotel was understaffed and the staff that were there had not been provided with the correct training, not all the staff but the majority. Some of the staff are really friendly and professional but let down by the majority of staff.

The lady cleaning our room (our toilet) was also serving our food at Dinner, I am sure that she was clean but ........

At breakfast we were sometimes given bottled orange juice instead of fresh Juice, you could tell the difference.

Ordered Salmon with bagels and would get Salmon with toast. I know that there is no real difference between toast and bagels but it is not polished it is not what you would expect, this happened on more than one occassion.

You had to ask for your glass to be refilled with water rather than someone just there to refill.

If you ask for a coffee then expect to wait 20 minutes and then you need make the decision if you should just forget the coffee and just leave.

Having said this the food was good at Breakfast and Lunch with plenty to choose from.

Buggies were a nice touch, where eash pavilion had a buggy to drive around in and if you forgot to recharge overnight then someone would plug it in.

The internet Wifi had a poor signal, or slow connection speed. The computers that were supplied by the hotel also had a slow connection the right hand button of the mouse did not work on any of the computers and they never refilled the printer with paper you had to alway ask them to do this.

The pool service was poor, there was never anyone to take orders for drinks so you had to go up to the bar and then they would take it out to you. Service was slow.

The staff for the watersports facilities were friendly and helpful, however again understaffed and were often busy transporting guests to other Islands, or entertaining guests on excursions leaving no one at the desk to help you if you wanted to go Kayaking or sailing. You just had to wait until someone returned, just not what you expect.

The beach (Pebble Beach) is a small pebbled beach with a small man made sand area which was laughable. Don't expect to go on long beach walks, however walking along the pebbled does take a long time as it can be painful without shoes.

The Swimming pool is a good size. The sunloungers are comfortable, with nice large beach towels.

The gym is small but has nice views, has a few light dumbells, 2 treadmills, 1 rowing machine. If you require a more strenious workout you can use the gym "in town" at no extra cost which was good.

Security into the resort was good, with a gate stopping other guests of Hamilton Island from getting in, but this did not stop them from taking photos of the resort whilst you are sun bathing by the pebble beach as they travel around on one of the many boats that sail on by.

The cleaning service in the bedroom was poor with dust along the floor and collecting under the bed, never replaced any of the shampoo, or other lotions in the bathroom so again you had to ask for them. If you are going to be tight with the products that you are suppling then use cheaper products and make them available.

There was no atmosphere at the resort, no live music at night.

We received a note the night before we were to check out with our final bill that was incorrect, and our times for our transfer back to the airport were wrong.

On checking out we had to wait 20 minutes for one of the receptionists to check us out. Again not enough staff. When we finally sat down to make payment we had to wait twice for the member of staff that was assisting us to come off the phone, she could see that we were waiting for her to finish her call but kept us waiting, not just once but twice and did not even apoligise.......I found that none of the ladies working at reception were of any help. I locked myself out of my room on one occasion and asked if someone could just let me back in I did not need a new key as I had one in my room just for someone to let me in. Anyway the receptionist insisted that she would need to have another key made for me, but I had to wait until she had attending to other guests. So I had to take it upon myself to ask one of the cleaners to let me back into my room..

In conclusion it is a nice Hotel, but the service lets it down. The service is not polished I felt I was being attended to by Students on a gap year, they do not take pride in what they do, and I was glad to be leaving, don't expect a biscuit with your coffee, but do expect you plate at dinner to be dropped in front of you with little attention, its the little things as well as the bigger things that were just not there and will leave you asking what are you getting for your money.

Would I go back, No. Not even if it was for free. Jason the manager came across as a nice guy, but he really needs to tighten the reigns up, and get staff to take a little more pride in what they are doing, and employ more staff.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2009

As per last rshah21's review, service was not up to scratch for what claims to be a 6 star resort.
Here's what we put on the hotel feedback form:

"Disappointing. Poor attention to detail
Examples are numerous, including -
(1) Unable to take a bath because of missing bath plug.
(2) No bottle opener in room - would expect there to be a checklist of required items (ticked off) before check-in.
(3) Dinner took an hour an a half to be served - no apologies for delay + food was cold.
(4) Cleaning items were left in the room after service
(5) Incorrect charges to room account - assigned without any signature.
(6) Incorrect transfer and luggage collection times.
(7) Poor room service menu.
I would like to hear from you regarding the above. Thanks.
* For balance, would say that all issues were promptly seen to. However, the issues should not have arisen in the first place.
This is the first time I've given negative feedback for a 5* hotel. The fact I chose Qualia for my honeymoon makes this even more disappointing."

Despite the fact that we asked specifically to be contacted to discuss our comments, 3 weeks on we are still waiting for Qualia to make contact.

Finally I would add that as other reviews state, the resort is stunning, as is the location, but for the price this hotel charges, you expect service to be perfect too.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank bowerm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2009

Qualia is a very beautiful hotel with stunning views, but unfortunately it stops there. The venue may be 5*, but the service is not! Most of the staff are unfriendly and seem to be going through the motions. You have to constantly ask for water at all meals. There is NO atmosphere here at all. The food is good - but then everything else on the island is fried rubbish, so that is not hard. Perhaps if you stay here for only a couple of nights then you will have an amazing time and be ready to move on - but any longer and the cracks begin to show. Even when we checked out the receptionist kept taking phone calls and asking us to wait - it was totally understaffed. Had to always ask for shower gell, toliet rolls and towles for the room??? this is not what you expect for $1200 a night. The shower in the room was terrible, either too hot or freezing, the beach is just pebbles and you cant walk on it without shoes - note this!!!! There was hardly ever any pool service - basically the list goes on - do not expect 5 * service here.

Reading the good reviews I can only think that these guys stayed between 2 - 4 days, perhaps that is all Qualia is good for, a long weekend break from the city.

It must be noted that there were some really good, friendly staff - just a few, but they were good, it just a shame that the others let them down. The others basically made you feel like they were doing you a favour everytime you asked for something and found it very difficult to even smile!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank truthtraveller_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Qualia Resort

Address: 20 Whitsunday Boulevard, 4803, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Whitsunday Islands > Hamilton Island
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:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Hamilton Island
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Hamilton Island
Price Range: $825 - $1,490 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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