Sometimes, life calls for a lazy seaside holiday with all the trimmings, and when it does, you can count on the Gold Coast’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort to deliver. The city’s only five-star beachfront establishment doesn’t muck about. From the moment you enter the gleaming white lobby — replete with ocean views and an indoor waterfall — it’s clear this place epitomises a certain kind of Gold Coast glamour: one that has less to do with understatement than, say, six hectares of manicured tropical gardens, Grecianstyle sculptures (“Is that Poseidon?” my husband asks) and turquoise ‘lagoon’ pools. If it sounds a touch over the top, that’s the point. Just try feeling stressed when you’re knocking back piña coladas in these surrounds. The picture-perfect landscape offers exactly what we’re after: pure escapism. (And, of course, a swim-up bar.)
Constructed in the 1980s, the hotel, located on the Southport Spit, has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar facelift.we’re staying in one of the new Mirage Villas, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious lounge, balcony and kitchen. Cool blue and grey fabrics, combined with pale timber, give the suite a light, airy feel. The beach is just metres from our door.
The resort has several dining options (Pearls Bar is the spot for drinks served with a spectacular water vista), but really, it’s all about the seafood buffet.we’ve been told the spread at Terraces, the main restaurant, is “iconic” on the Gold Coast, and discover a crowd of locals and tourists has descended on a Friday evening to taste their way through every oyster/octopus/ocean thing on the menu. It’s not a task for the faint of heart — or palate — but if you have the stamina to devour plate after plate of aquatic fare (oh, and some Asian- and Western-style dishes), the rewards are rich. (Sometimes a little too rich for those who lose all sense of portion-control/ decorum; it turns out there is such a thing as too many prawns.)
The next night, we head to Broadbeach — a 15-minute drive from the resort — for dinner at Mamasan. Chef Ray Choi (previously at Sydney’s China Doll) has crafted the Southeast Asianinspired menu, with must-try dishes including crab ravioli dumplings and crispy Mamasan KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) wings served with “almond snow”.around us, chatty diners fill the moody, low-lit space, which features Wishbone chairs, concrete floors and industrial lighting.the atmosphere is polished, approachable and a whole lot of fun. Just like the Gold Coast itself. – Jessica Matthews