Hotel Review: QT Gold Coast is a charming reflection of Surfer’s Paradise

Within the past few years, QT Hotels & Resorts have made a massive impact on the lofty world of boutique accommodation in Australia, carving out their own lane through forward-thinking design philosophies and a desire to do things differently. Sydneysiders are in constant awe of the subversive, baroque sensibilities of QT Sydney, awards regularly pile up for QT Falls Creek, and the celebrated hotel brand have even managed to shape some unique charm in the notoriously vanilla surrounds of Canberra. All of this is an extension of when the brand first made their debut on the Gold Coast back in 2011, replacing the historic Gold Coast International Hotel on Staghorn Avenue next to the region’s world-famous beach.

QT is located just a couple minutes walk from a G:link station.
QT is located just a couple minutes walk from a G:link station.
A sunken seating area is one of the most attractive features of the lobby.
A sunken seating area is one of the most attractive features of the lobby.

A big talking point for QT as a brand is how they use the particular character of each city to inform the property’s design. There is no better example of this than when you first walk into QT Gold Coast. It’s bright, energetic and full of life, natural light illuminating just about every inch of the lobby as the instant feeling of a chic 50’s beach-house forms. Funky and colourful designer furniture is spread generously through the space, snaking around by the sightly cafe that’s preceded with glass jars of sugary sweets and the alluring smell of freshly brewed coffee. The opposite direction leads to an inside sunken area that looks like it was made with cartoonish tea parties in mind, as well as the entrance to the property’s popular Stingray Lounge, a cocktail bar which attracts quite the rowdy club-ready crowd of locals on weekends.

QT's ground-floor cafe also serves a beautiful high tea.
QT’s ground-floor cafe also serves a beautiful high tea.
QT's popular cocktail bar is accessible from the lobby.
QT’s popular cocktail bar is accessible from the lobby and from the street.

The above is just the frame of QT’s imposing lobby. Details are focused and eye-catching, the most memorable being a large digital artwork commissioned from American installation artist Jennifer Steinkamp. It’s a kinetic homage to the seasons, fixed to the wall above several colourful hipster-friendly bikes, all of which are available for hire. Too often Gold Coast is breezed over by tourists who find it hard to resist that beautiful, long stretch of defining golden sand; having these bikes near the entrance is but one way QT seems to be encouraging exploration of the area’s oft ignored back streets.

QT's backyard.
QT’s backyard.


Glass windows all through the glamorous lobby allow views into the affable back area, which is defined by two spaces. First, there’s the quaint astro-turfed garden impeccably designed towards killing time. Second, the generously sized pool with a spa and swim-up bar where various sunbeds beg a spare hour or two. The playful vibe here sizzles with the kind of youthful energy one would expect from the light colour palette.

A swim-up bar is all you need.
A swim-up bar is all you need.

Exciting public spaces aside, QT Gold Coast is equally impressive when it comes to their rooms. 297 guest rooms fit into the tower, a mix of suites and both twin and singles offering either ocean or mountain views. The property is located in between the ocean and the river, so no matter which angle you end up facing you are promised quite the spectacular view of typical Gold Coast life.

QT King Ocean Room
QT King Ocean View

Stepping into a QT King Ocean View would lightly smack even the sleepiest hotel guest awake, taking the design concept of bright and summery and giving it an almost tangible quality. While the lobby features a great range of colour, the room is kept to the soulful tones of blue, green, orange, purple and yellow. The charming colours are subtly splashed throughout the room, from the twin mirrors near the bed to the dotted hooks from which colourful nets hang, containing pairs of unused flip flops for guests’ convenience. It’s a clean, comfortable, and very welcoming atmosphere.


View from the balcony.
View from the balcony.

As with all QT properties, each room has a neat little kit providing most of what you’d need to make yourself a drink. In most cases, this is a cocktail – for example, Sydney’s rooms have DIY espresso martini kits – but for Gold Coast the sun-kissed region calls for a batch of home-made lemonade. As such you’ll find a colourful set-up by the window with instructions, a jug and two glasses with stirrers, encouraging guests to kick back with their own DIY lemonade, most appropriate when you step out onto the balcony and take in that all-encompassing view. Towering hotels to the side, clear blue sky up above and that golden glow set against the waters: the quintessential Gold Coast vista. QT do their best to add to this scene as well; look down and – depending on your room – you might scope an attractive bird’s eye view of the pool and garden areas, a sightly addition to an inspiring perspective.


Looking down from the balcony.
Looking down from the balcony.

Small motifs of Australiana creep into the scene of 50’s glam, one of the most charming being a cockatoo lamp posted by the bed. Like many other standalone items in the room, this is available from the unconventional lobby shop.


The bathroom is rather tiny if you aren’t resting in a suite. A spacious shower takes up most of the area, squashing the toilet into the corner.


A medium-sized standalone TV sits on one side of the long work desk while all the computer-related connections you need are found on the other. The work space is in perfect position for all that natural light to come shining through, bringing a sense of relative calm should you need to knuckle down and smash out some work.


Of course QT’s famously wacky mini-bar is featured. An emergency bow-tie and an instant beach ball reflect the youthful energy while sitting next to bags of gummi bears and chocolates. More traditional options like pringles, beers and wines are also available.


Dining options are aplenty through the property. By the backyard garden you’ll find – tucked in the corner – the entrance to Yamagen Japanese Restaurant. There aren’t too many quality traditional Japanese restaurants up on the Gold Coast, so this is a special treat for both hotel guests and locals. It’s a very casual restaurant that has a space dedicated to your typical teppanyaki dining experience, separate from the bar area which is the best spot to enjoy their fine selection of Japanese whiskies and watch the resident sushi chef prepare fresh seafood.

On the second floor is where you’ll find Bazaar, a curious display of various food stations that reflect QT’s intentional move away from tradition. This isn’t a typical hotel buffet, but rather what staff describe as an “interactive market place”, a beautifully executed concept whereby you’re interacting with the chefs at these different food stations rather than lazily piling on food that doesn’t at all fit together. All chefs behind the stations are more than willing to help you fill plates with spreads that actually make sense.

QT have their own fishing trawler which sources from the ocean locally so fresh seafood is a particular interest here. You can also get some steaks cooked up behind the stations, load up on pillow-soft baos with various fillings, or dive straight into the dessert station, the restaurant wise enough to offer both indulgent and healthy treats. Whatever you do, don’t overlook that cheese and charcuterie section, a finely curated selection that instantly places this above many similar hotel restaurants.


Of course, the brand’s awarded SpaQ concept is also featured as part of the hotel, located on the second floor nearby the entrance to Bazaar. The comprehensive and customisable treatment options are just the tip of the iceberg here; super-soft silky robes, beautiful lockers rooms, perfect temperature – all these focused details come together nicely to fully justify the glowing reputation this hotel spa has enjoyed for years.


As QT continue to grow, the brand stands as one of the most artful and distinctive approaches to hospitality across the country. To think it all started here not even a decade ago is testament to how much demand has been built around the name, and QT’s Gold Coast property remains one of the group’s greatest achievements. Recently, the hotel has become the testing grounds for a brand new performance art concept that could very well be the defining moment in the region’s attempt to change ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games; there’s little surprise as to why this property was chosen after spending a relaxing few days basking in it’s Surfer’s Paradise inspired glow.

A QT King Ocean View room starts from around $329 per night.

QT Gold Coast

Address: 7 Staghorn Ave, Gold Coast QLD 4217
Contact: (07) 5584 1200


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.