Sure Queensland has some of the country’s best beaches, but it’s not only about sand and surf in the sunshine state.
From country chic to an urbane urban resort, here are a few great Queensland hotels to visit if the thought of sand, sun and salt water just makes you feel hot and sticky.
Spicers Peak Lodge, Maryvale
Half the adventure is getting here. Spicers Peak is a two-hour drive from Brisbane, with the final winding 12 kilometres of mainly dirt road leading past patches of rainforest and paddocks to a plateau at 1100 metres above sea level – all making it feel very much off the beaten track.
At journey’s end is a luxurious, contemporary lodge of timber and stone with an alpine aesthetic and an amazing 360-degree panorama of the forested peaks of the Main Range National Park.
There are walking trails for all levels of fitness, a spa, gin, whisky or cocktail masterclasses and sunset drinks around a fire pit. A degustation by The Peak’s head chef, Dean Alsford – whose impressive resume includes time at The Fat Duck, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Vue de Monde – is a highlight.
Come for: The food and the views
What’s the damage? From $999 a night, including all meals, beverages, minibar and a $50 spa credit
This is rugged without roughing it – in fact, you an arrive either like a rockstar or an overland adventurer. Access to the luxury lodge in outback north Queensland is via a 35-minute helicopter transfer or a three-hour four-wheel-drive trip from Cairns.
On a secluded 28,000-hectare cattle property, Mount Mulligan is set below a sandstone escarpment surrounded by eucalyptus woodlands.
Accommodating just 16 guests at any given time and offering your own electric buggy to explore the sprawling property (and no television in the rooms), it’s all about immersion in nature without city distractions. Take a bath in your private outdoor tub under the stars, watch the sun rise from the escarpment, wet your line at the weir or try your hand at cattle mustering.
Come for: The stargazing and seclusion
What’s the damage? $1700 a night for two. Rates include all meals, a selection of Australian wines, beers and spirits, and a daily experience
The only boutique accommodation in the world-heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, about 90 minutes north of Cairns, the lodge offers 15 eco-friendly luxury ‘treehouses’ in the rainforest canopy.
There’s a main lodge with bar, restaurant and a dining area overlooking a lagoon, as well as a spa, pool and their very own (croc-free) waterfall and swimming hole to discover.
Do nothing or do the lot – yoga classes, snorkelling on the Mossman River; a half-day four-wheel-drive tour with a guide from the local Kuku Yalanji people, an indigenous art workshop or grab your binoculars and go wildlife spotting on a Daintree River cruise.
Come for: Chasing waterfalls and learning about indigenous culture
What’s the damage? From $380 a night
Spicers Hidden Vale
A pleasant drive of just over an hour from Brisbane, Hidden Vale is ‘country lite’ – perfect for urbanites who aren’t quite sure they want the whole real country immersion.
The 34 plush cottage rooms are contemporary and chic (no chintz, gingham frills or twee knickknacks here) and set among poinciana and jacaranda trees.
There are 5000 hectares, so plenty of space to get away, whether it’s with a walk on one of the many trails or riding the mountain bike tracks. There’s an impressive market garden, a spa, a tennis court, pool and a bocce court.
You can go and visit the animals, including adorable piglets, goats, chickens and ducks, or take a ‘safari’ to spot some of the 25-plus koalas who live on the property.
Factor in a long, leisurely lunch or dinner in the gorgeous barn with its mediaeval-sized coal spit roast and a menu of produce largely grown or made on site.
Come for: The wildlife and field-to-fork dining experience
What’s the damage? From $379 a room per night
The Calile Hotel
Surely The Calile, with its 1960s Miami-meets-Queensland design aesthetic is close to becoming one of the most Instagrammed Australian hotels on social media?
It’s the beach resort holiday you go to when you don’t actually like the beac. There are beautiful people tanning beneath striped poolside umbrellas or draped on mattresses under cabanas, sipping cocktails while Brisbane’s glitterati, cognoscenti and business wheeler-dealers dine at the one-hatted Hellenika or sip chardonnay in the light-filled lobby bar.
Rooms and suites, city view or poolside, are as idiosyncratically chic as the rest of the hotel, with touches of deco brass and pink marble.
The Calile is perfectly situated in James Street for throwing some serious cash around – some of Brisbane’s best designer shopping, bars and restaurants are within a stone’s throw.
Come for: The shopping and the drinks
What’s the damage? From $329 a night