We’ve covered some of the coolest hotels in a few of the world’s most bustling cities – Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin – but now we’re ready for a little R&R, a little closer to home. These Australian resorts are all about the good life. All 8 offer guests Instagram-worthy views, plush suites, outdoor adventures, soothing spa treatments, and the opportunity to make your Facebook friends extremely jealous of your restorative escape. Leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind, and head to these sweet Aussie retreats.
Relax surrounded by all the splendour of the Great Barrier Reef at qualia. Pronounced kwah-lee-ah, the name in Latin means “a collection of deeper sensory experiences” and that’s exactly what guests of the resort have to look forward to. Situated on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island, the qualia experience includes fine dining, an infinity pool, a library, a clothing boutique, a fully-equipped gym, treatments and yoga at Spa qualia, and an Activities Team on-hand to make sure your time outside of the resort is just as spectacular as your time in it.
Take the road less travelled at Longitude 131°. It’s not often you see the words “luxury” and “wilderness” together, but this unique ‘campsite’ in the desert of Central Australia offers exactly that. Stay in one of the 15 extravagant tented accommodations, and you’ll be treated to the unforgettable experience of waking up every morning to a view of Uluru – aka Ayers Rock – and sweeping red sand dunes. An exceptional touring program allows you to explore your surroundings, while the Red Ochre Spa and dining at the Dune House keep you entertained during afternoons in.
Gaia Retreat & Spa
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, get fit, de-stress or detoxify – or just looking to chill the *$&@ out – you’ll find what you need at Gaia Retreat & Spa. The 19-room property, set on 25 acres in the subtropical hinterland of Byron Bay, offers a selection of retreat packages for guests who want to have it all without doing any of the heavy lifting. In addition to the packages, your Gaia experience can be tailored even further to your unique needs with focus packages in weight loss, fitness, detoxification, meditation, art and yoga.
Lizard Island suffered significant damage during Cyclone Ita, but a team is hard at work restoring the resort to its former glory. When it’s back in action, this is where you’ll be headed when you have a hankering for 40 well-appointed suites, five star cuisine, indulgent spa treatments, and secluded afternoons on private beaches. Lizard Island is consistently ranked as one of the world best resorts by top publications and organizations like Condé Nast and Travel + Leisure. Don’t miss the signature 7-course beach dining experience.
You’ll have two words on your mind during your stay at Saffire Freycinet: that view. It’s breath-taking, mind-blowing, magnificent and every other cliché you can think of. It’s also far from the only thing Saffire Freycinet has to recommend itself. Luxury and Signature suites are available, but spring for the Private Pavilions if you want a really special experience. Dine at the Palate restaurant, have a nightcap by the five-metre fireplace in the Lounge, get pampered at the Spa, and explore Freycinet’s stunning natural wonders and attractions with complimentary and signature experiences.
Like Longitude 131°, Capella Lodge is part of the Baillie Lodges family of luxury properties. Located on World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, Capella Lodge was the first property in the Baillie Lodges portfolio and is still a favourite for guests seeking a subtropical escape. Here, travellers are treated to mesmerising views of both ocean and mountain from the indoor and outdoor lounging areas, the beach house-chic Restaurant and Bar, and the nine spacious, light-filled suites. The spa also makes the best of the location’s natural beauty, with treatments available both indoors and outdoors in the Kentia Pavilion.
“Getting away from it all” really means “getting away from it all” at Sal Salis. Nestled in the dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park, this remote beachside safari camp is made up of only nine spacious Wilderness Tents. Your stay in the great (pampered) outdoors will be rustic but comfortable. Amenities include a small reference library with board games, a lounge area with a self-service bar and a sunken dining room serviced by a solar-powered kitchen. Leave your phone and laptop at home – the lodge has a landline if necessary, but otherwise you’ll be totally off the grid.
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort And Spa
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort And Spa is Australia’s first conservation-led luxury resort. Set within the Blue Mountains, each of the resort’s 40 free-standing luxury suites comes equipped with its own private terrace and pool (yes, a private pool). Emirates Wolgan Valley maintains close ties with its astonishing location. The spaces are designed with furniture and fixtures from local Australian artisans. Treatments at the Timeless Spa use plant essences native to the country. Members of the local Aboriginal tribe even cleansed the site in an ancient ritual before construction began.