Qualia Hotel

Guest review of Qualia Hotel in Hamilton Island by Aussie blogger Claire Hastings!

No matter how wonderful your life is, sometimes you simply need to get away. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I had this irrational feeling that I was losing touch with myself, and that I needed to reconnect. Being both an introvert and an extrovert is taxing on a person. I genuinely enjoy the company of my friends, and love cooperating with people in my line of work, but every so often I come to feel drained and in need of alone time. Yes, being at home, all by my lonesome usually recharges my batteries. Still, I had been working too much without a break for a long period of time, pouring all my energy into juggling work, relationship and friendships, and I was very aware that a lazy weekend at home is not going to cut it this time. No, I needed to make a run for it. I saw a window, and it was three days wide, so I had to make a quick decision – where to go and where to stay. Given that my priority was privacy and seclusion, (and a touch of luxury never hurts), Hamilton Island and Qualia Hotel were the obvious choice.

The Welcome

The lobby

Getting around to picking my home for the next three days was perhaps the most difficult part, simply because everything the hotel has to offer is gorgeous. However, once I clicked the button ‘Windward Pavilion’ and saw the words ‘private’ ‘infinity pool’ and ‘soothing décor’ I was sold. Click, click, booked! When I finally made it there, it was so breathtakingly gorgeous I just stood there, speechless, staring at the eucalyptus trees, the transcending colour of the Coral Sea, and of course, the supremely beautiful interior.

Sweet Suite

The rooms are airy and spacious, with stunning views just steps away from the foot of the bed.

The minimal design featuring calming wood and shades of blue made the room feel like it was designed by Mother Nature herself. I’m not kidding, I felt calmer and more centered as soon as I entered my spacious castle. I feel like it’s important to mention that, while I do love kids, the cheerful noises were definitely not my agenda, so the fact that Qualia is only for those 16 or over was an additional incentive.

The bathrooms were also beautifully designed – my favorite feature was this standalone bathtub.

Fine Dining 

I turned off my phone and spend so much time swimming in my own pool that I actually started to prune, not to mention that I felt famished. Not feeling ready to rejoin the world, I decided to take advantage of the convenience of the in-pavilion dining. As I sat on the deck, with the gorgeous sunset and exquisite food in front of me, I truly never wanted to leave this place. I thought I would get some time to collect my thoughts, but once I was here, there was nothing tumbling in my head; there was just blissful serenity and joy.


I have to admit that I was torn between my desire to stay inside the entire time and the wish to see what else this place had to offer. Thankfully, my mind was swayed and I went outside. A massage, that’s precisely what I needed. I booked an aromatherapy massage and it was the best thing I ever did. I’m not generally a believer, but I actually felt like my body was a broken puzzle and the massage put the pieces back where they belong.

As long as I was on a quest of self-rediscovery, I thought, why not book a consult with a neuropath. We discussed my lifestyle, dietary habits, and I left with my own personalized wellness plan that I still follow to this day. I knew I was a tad out of sorts, but I never expected to leave this place so fresh and so rejuvenated.


Usually, hotel rooms are just fun and luxurious places to crash in when we’re done partying and exploring a place. Qualia is an entirely different experience. It provides you with everything you need to feel replenished and almost transformed, and now I know – every time I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll go back to my happy place and imagine being on that deck, and as soon as I get the chance, I’ll actually return to my happy place.


I am one of those people guilty of over-packing; be it a long weekend or a full-blown holiday, I take everything I own. In the spirit of change, this time I kept it light. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be leaving the hotel much (or at all), so I approached packing nonchalantly. I browsed for a few playsuits in Australia, found exactly what I needed, bought and that was it. Two swimsuits, a book, a cozy sweater and baggy jeans, and I was done. I decided to go make up free as I figured it would be kind of liberating, and it so was.


Hamilton Island



Eberjey triangle bikini
745 AED – net-a-porter.com

Topshop floral romper
110 AED – topshop.com

Soeur Du Maroc tote handbag
400 AED – shopbop.com

Maggy London bracelet
340 AED – maggylondon.com

Casetify clear iphone case
145 AED – casetify.com

Heart sunglasses
15 AED – newchic.com

Nivea beauty product
15 AED – amazon.co.uk


Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email sara@holidaysinheels.com!