A spa, spa bet­ter thing

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA DE­PAR­TURE LOUNGE

HOW­long be­fore trav­ellers start plan­ning their ac­com­mo­da­tion around the qual­ity of a prop­erty’s spa as well as (or even rather than) its ac­com­mo­da­tion? The size, scope and prod­uct lines used at a spa are al­ready de­cid­ing fac­tors for many con­sumers, as ev­i­denced by the in­vest­ment that Hy­att Re­gency Coolum, on the Queens­land Sun­shine Coast, has just put into its sig­na­ture fa­cil­ity.

The Spa at Hy­att Re­gency Coolum re­opened ear­lier this month af­ter a $4.2 mil­lion re­fit. Now there are 18 treat­ment rooms, many with ferny out­door court­yards, and a fab­u­lous man­i­cure-pedi­cure (mani-pedi in spa lan­guage) lounge where clients sit on an el­e­vated bench piled with bol­sters and cush­ions. It looks freshly trans­planted from a Moroc­can riad and just as lush and ex­otic. The other spa­ces in the spa are much more Aus­tralian in feel, fea­tur­ing lo­cal tim­ber and un­sul­lied stone fin­ishes and cool colours that tie in with the re­sort’s beach-and-bush lo­ca­tion.

De­par­tureLounge was there for the open­ing event, tow­ing MrLounge, a chap who knows his shi­atsu from his Swedish and isn’t afraid to lie down in a room with mood lighting and piped game­lan mu­sic and say so. Mr Lounge even ap­pre­ci­ates the com­par­a­tive ben­e­fits of var­i­ous spa prod­ucts and was ap­prov­ing of Hy­att Re­gency Coolum’s Carita range (in fact, it’s the only spa in Queens­land to of­fer th­ese top-class Parisian unguents).

But on mat­ters to do with soap, you’d won­der why Lounge ever both­ered to send her other to obe­di­ence school. She thought he had been well versed in which soaps one in­stantly ap­pro­pri­ates from ho­tel rooms to take home and drool over and which ones are in­signif­i­cant enough to ac­tu­ally use in situ.

In the Am­bas­sadors Club at Hy­att Re­gency Coolum, where an arc of wan­tonly spa­cious res­i­dences have mul­ti­ple bath­rooms equipped with La Prairie soaps and bath prod­ucts, MrLounge was sec­onds away from ac­tu­ally us­ing said soap be­fore Lounge swooped and saved the day. ‘‘ Next you’ll be want­ing me to travel with a cake of Solvol in my port,’’ he was heard to mut­ter.

La Prairie is only the world’s most ex­pen­sive spa range, even us­ing caviar in some of its prod­ucts. Its Jew­elled Skin Caviar Luxe Skin Cream is avail­able in a lim­ited-edi­tion jar en­crusted with 2400 Swarovski crys­tals. No free sam­ples at ho­tels, sadly. ■ HY­ATT Re­gency Coolum was bought by in 2003 and the com­pany set about cre­at­ing res­i­den­tial precincts; even­tu­ally there will be about 550 dwellings but 64 per cent of the site will be re­tained as open recre­ational and con­ser­va­tion space, so this is no shoul­der-to-shoul­der com­pound.

This is the big new thing in re­sort­land: the in­te­gra­tion of cool, con­tem­po­rary houses so that guests can ex­tend their hol­i­days for­ever by ac­tu­ally liv­ing there, usu­ally in ac­tive re­tire­ment. The pluses are ob­vi­ous: high se­cu­rity and low main­te­nance, like-minded neigh­bours and ac­cess to splen­did leisure fa­cil­i­ties (the fun and friendly Todd Wood­bridge was con­duct­ing ten­nis clin­ics dur­ing Lounge ’ s visit).

One of the must-haves for th­ese golden years is the pres­ence of a golf course (Coolum is home of the Aus­tralian PGA Cham­pi­onship); chaps (and women given to sen­si­ble shoes) of a cer­tain age seem quite potty about golf and here you can do it with kan­ga­roos thrown in. Across the 150ha Coolum site, the roos lounge about as if they own the joint and seem un­fazed

Lend Lease by lit­tle white balls skim­ming over their heads. To pro­cure a slice of the good (re­sort) life is no cheap op­tion but this is the way of the fu­ture for mon­eyed re­tirees and other very suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ments, such as Mir­vac’s Ma­genta Shores near The En­trance on the NSW Cen­tral Coast, prove it.

Lounge likes the idea of such quasi-re­sort liv­ing and is well-equipped for it al­ready, with a vast col­lec­tion of pur­loined ho­tel soap from 30 years of travel edit­ing; enough to see her and MrLounge through, in fact, un­til they shuf­fle off to the great spa re­sort in the sky. www.coolum.re­gency.hy­att.com. ■ ALSO new in the ac­com­mo­da­tion uni­verse is the ad­vance of the ur­ban well­ness ho­tel. Turn to page 5 for Judy Chap­man’s round-up of city oases that are of­fer­ing all man­ner of healthy in-room fa­cil­i­ties, from spa cui­sine menus to spe­cial tele­vi­sion fit­ness chan­nels and yoga mats. At the Grand Hy­att Hong Kong, there’s even a Plateau cat­e­gory of suites that are like mini­treat­ment rooms; it’s the near­est you could hope to get to ac­tu­ally sleep­ing in a spa. ■ FIND of the week: Missed go­ing to Bei­jing for the Olympics? Lounge , who is a sports tragic and has been glued at all hours to the box, ad­dicted to the in­tri­ca­cies of ev­ery­thing from the clean and jerk to the pum­mel horse, notes that from early Septem­ber, Se­lec­tive Tours will add a tour of the Birds Nest Sta­dium and Wa­ter Cube Aquatic Cen­tre to its Bei­jing pro­gram. From $375 a per­son in a three-star ho­tel for three nights to $428 for five-star ac­com­mo­da­tion. 1300 760 208; www.se­lec­tive­tours.com. ■ LOUNGE loves: Hawai­ian tourism bods owe Paris Hil­ton a flower lei and a blue cock­tail or sev­eral for some un­ex­pected pub­lic­ity. Hil­ton’s spoof US elec­tion com­mer­cial, in which the dizzy bikini-wear­ing blonde nom­i­nates the is­land of Maui as the best place to tan, has clocked up more than 6 mil­lion hits at www.fun­ny­ordie.com. US-based Con­deNastTrav­eler is happy, too, as Hil­ton waves about the mag­a­zine in the ad. Ap­par­ently the pub­lish­ers have cre­ated a mock cover fea­tur­ing Hil­ton to thank the any­thing-goes heiress for the plug. ■ LOUNGE loathes: Press re­leases are al­ready arriving at the Travel&In­dul­gence desk sug­gest­ing ho­tel gift vouch­ers as Christ­mas gifts. Could the fes­tive sea­son re­ally be that close? Th­ese and other money-sav­ing of­fers are fea­tured in Travel&In­dul­gence’s hol­i­day deals, up­dated daily: ■ www.theaus­tralian.com.au/travel/dd DEALS OF THE WEEK Prices slashed on Syd­ney-Tahiti cruise; four-wheeldrive ad­ven­ture dis­counted; yoga ‘‘ boot­camp’’ re­duced; Club Med Mal­dives at half price.

Warm re­cep­tion: The newly re­fur­bished spa at Hy­att Re­gency Coolum on the Queens­land Sun­shine Coast boasts 18 treat­ment rooms in a stylish beach and bush lo­ca­tion

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