Golden oldie shines anew
ROOM AT THE INN
THERE’S been a revolution afoot at Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast — a design renaissance, that is, aimed at transforming a 1980s property that had lost its shine.
In its heyday, this 295-room resort sprawled across 3.4ha was, much like its Port Douglas sibling, all about glittery trimmings, plush carpets, Italianate statues, veritable quarries of pink marble and faux-empire furniture.
If the original developers, Christopher and Pixie Skase, had any eye for design, it appears they were looking towards minor palaces in Naples.
What a difference a new owner with deep pockets and a few decades can make — now, thanks to a recent $26 million overhaul, here’s a streamlined, design-savvy resort that’s in tune with our contemporary expectations about voluminous and airy spaces, pared-back details and an appropriate sense of place.
First there is the sitting- pretty location at the northern end of Main Beach, and the surfy-salty views. There is a seamless flow-through of sparkling light and reflective surfaces, from the porte-cochere off Seaworld Drive to the expansive lobby to the lagoon pool and sea beyond.
The colour palette in the public areas is bright white and sandy beige; there are groovy Italian armchairs and bendy floor lamps that loom like sci-fi creatures. In the style of hotel-meetsgallery, boldly colourful canvases by David Bromley, including many of his signature female nudes, are for sale.
The resort is big enough for guests to require a map to locate their room — mine is such a long walk through seem- ingly endless corridors that I wonder if the receptionist should have handed me a compass and handful of breadcrumbs to leave a trail.
But this tilt at an orienteering badge seems worth it to arrive at an oversized room with wide-opening windows overlooking the South Beachside Lawn and the promise of the Pacific along a sandy path. The beach end of the lagoon pool and the Oasis Pool Bar are close, too, and I soon discover a garden detour via walkways back to the main facilities.
Even if not staying here, it’s worth dropping by for a drink or a meal just to see what the Gold Coast can do when it really turns it on. Pearls Bar, for instance, is a beauty, with cleverly defined and curtained nooks and a choice of tall bench tables with barstools or comfy lounge settings; go for colourful cocktails, tapas plates or civilised high teas. Terraces, the all-day diner, has a killer outlook over the lagoon courtesy of high window-walls; the chic stone buffet tables transform from breakfast hubs to seafood extravaganzas for dinner seven nights a week and the quantities are unstinting.
And the requisite spa? Forget any notion of a few massage rooms and a bit of old whale-calling music. Here you have the Golden Door Spa & Health Club, as integrated a facility as you could imagine.
The treatment menu covers eight pages and all I find that approaches the Gold Coast of old is a Complete Bronzed Body tan promised to last five to eight days or until the next medallion polish. Susan Kurosawa was a guest of Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast. Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast, 71 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach; (07) 5577 0000; sheratonmiragegoldcoast.com.au; goldendoor.com.au. Rooms from $213 a night if booked 30 days ahead; packages include discounts of 20 per cent if you stay a minimum of two nights and pay by MasterCard (valid to March 31). Direct pool access from Lagoon category rooms. About 26km from Coolangatta airport; Gold Coast Shuttle from airport (includes drops at other hotels) is $21 a person ($11 children under 13). Couples, families; busy during school holidays. Yes, flat entry, elevators and two specially equipped rooms. Concierge can assist with bike hire ($30 a day); there’s about 40km of flat beachside cycling between The Spit and Burleigh; Marina Mirage shopping centre is opposite the resort and accessed by a footbridge. Slow-moving queues to be seated for breakfast at Terraces during my weekend stay and buffet dishes not replenished quickly enough. The Gold Coast’s largest guestroom categories, from 43sq m to 185sq m(Royal Suite); a makeover that has truly transformed this once-tired resort.
The bright white lobby of the revamped Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast; left, the royal suite