The Chiva Som experience at Qualia Resort in Hamilton Island is a mixture of great indulgence and absolute comfort. Words by Jonathan Jackson: Photography by Show & Tell Imagery
In a gated community, just a short drive from the very small Hamilton Island airport, where the runway quite literally runs into the Coral Sea, is a resort that makes you feel like you are one of the rich and famous. Around the corner from the resort is Beatle George Harrison’s former abode and the island itself is littered with the homes of some better-known business owners, entrepreneurs and celebrities.
For those who don’t own homes on the island, Qualia is the resort of choice; intimate, tranquil, it is the getaway for those who like their service supreme and their privacy unencumbered.
Our stay at Qualia coincided with Cyclone Ita. It didn’t matter though. This is one place where the staff is confident that no matter what the conditions there will be something to enjoy in this safest of havens. Even during the eye of the storm, when the winds blew over 100kmh and the bamboo bent to the ground, the glass panels that separated the inside of the luxury rooms from the outside storm stood firm.
While you may say any port in the storm, Qualia is the port to be.
Our stay at Qualia coincided with the Chiva-Som experience. Part of general manager, Matthew Taverner’s edict is to treat Qualia guests with a range of luxury experiences.
Spa Qualia is placed at the heart of the resort and is perfectly situated to catch the soft sea breezes and take in the tranquil views of the Whitsundays.
Their spa treatments are thoughtfully designed to rebalance the synergy between mind and body and to capture the essence of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. Treatments include facials, a range of massage options, men’s regeneration treatments, couples treatments and a day spa indulgence.
It is pampering to the nth degree, however the Chiva-Som treatments brought an entirely new experience.
For those unfamiliar with Chiva-Som, it is the only destination spa in the world to have consistently appeared in the top three of the Conde Nast Traveller (UK) Reader’s Travel Awards. Chosen as the “World’s Best Destination Spa” in the 2009 Travel+Leisure Reader’s Travel Awards, Chiva-Som is also a member of the Destination Spa Group and Healing Hotels of the World. It is the perfect march for Qualia.
I had the option of four types of Chiva-Som massage: 1. Manual lymphatic massage - ideal for anyone on the Chiva-Som Detox or Weight Management programme and for pre and post-surgical procedures. 2. Maya Massage (50 min)
This treatment is a so-called the deep colon-cleansing massage. This Maya Massage is designed to help the colon rebalance itself through gentle yet deep manual massage. It is the perfect adjunct to colonic therapy. 3. Postural Integration (50 min) Good posture is essential to your health and well-being. When our bodies are perfectly aligned, we move with ease and free of pain. As soon as we lose our perfect alignment, all of this change, tension appears, movement becomes awkward, and pain sets in. Since we are born without posture, we must develop it and then maintain it. 4. Stress Release Therapy (50 min) Frequent use of a personal computer and sitting still for extended periods of time can cause chronic physical problems. These common ailments affect many people who work long hours and don’t receive the correct therapies and treatments. Stress Release Therapy has been created to relieve these stressed musculoskeletal areas. Using our myofascial relief technique, soft tissue release and upper body massage with superficial heat applied on the whole arm, we help to increase blood circulation and relieve tension that manifests itself in the upper body. The treatment ends by applying an herbal compress to the eyes and facial area to relax soft tissue around.
Given my profession, I could well have chosen the stress relief option, but due to small back ailments, I chose the postural procedure. It was one of the best massages I have ever had. The masseuse was also a physiotherapist and put me through some serious therapy. I’d recommend this to any executive, who spends most of their time cooped in an office in front of a computer.
The massage followed the Chiva-Som lunch. This was clean Thai food; a three-course flavour sensation that took me back to holidays in Thailand (minus the alcohol). Fish, seafood, soup. It was a great meal. We followed that up with a five-course Chiva-Som dinner, which also hit the mark. Take a look at the photos they speak for themselves.
I’d recommend any hard working executive try Chiva-Som. You’ll feel refreshed.
On the second day of our two-day stay, it was like Ita had never been through. The blue skies and island views were postcard perfect. We ascended over the island in a helicopter to take in the scenery and get a sense of the Whitsundays. If you have no aversion to helicopter rides take the trip. It gives you a great sense of the reef and the small islands.
The pool at Qualia overlooks the sea; in fact there aren’t too many areas where you can’t see the ocean. The mid level rooms have their own plunge pools – pool water to ocean provides a stunning view. Room six is one of the most magnificent rooms, you could ever stay in. We didn’t get to see the private house, however the plunge pool pavilions are nothing to sneeze at. It is almost the perfect room.
The service is impeccable. It is far from intrusive, however your every need will be catered for no matter where on the island you are. As a side note, one of the great things about Hamilton Island and Qualia, is no matter where you are on the island you can charge everything back to your room.
This is a friendly, relaxing experience. It can be expensive, but you get what you pay for and you receive a great deal.
The view from room six.