Lifting the curtain on the interiors of luxe new hotel QT Queenstown
Interior designer Nic Graham, of Sydney’s Nic Graham & Associates, is the creative behind the fit-out of Australia’s seven QT hotels. Here he shares insights into the luxe new QT Queenstown.
Nic, you and your team designed the interiors of all the QT hotels, with the exception of QT Museum Wellington. How do you want people to feel when they walk into QT Queenstown? With all of the QTs, we want guests to feel a sense of intrigue and a sense of place. Queenstown is a year-round tourist town but has a reputation for being a winter destination, so my team and I took aspects of a winter chalet and an all-terrain sports club and complemented them with bespoke furniture and a bright colour palette to create a home away from home that can be enjoyed all year round.
A narrative that emerged in our early storyboards was ‘freedom’ – the freedom to be sporty, to be part of nature, or to remain indoors in the comfort of your QT suite yet still take in the grandeur of The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. During the day, the enormity of the views in the public spaces is unable to be ignored, and the interior layout highlights these views. In the evening, the loss of view is compensated for by the bold use of colour, seen in elements such as the furniture and carpet, and soft lighting that creates warmth.
We aim for our blend of interesting objects and paraphernalia to invite guests to be curious and explore. As with the other QTs, which are known for their eclectic, quirky look, this hotel is a mix of vintage and modern, with a strong use of colour and graphics, as in the large-scale, custom-designed mural in the lobby by Fabio Ongarato Design, which depicts a series of mountainscapes formed from human bodies – an amalgamation of hips and breasts, with skiers superimposed. There’s always a little bit of sass and sexiness involved; QT isn’t a place in which you’d want to be uptight!
What shades did you include in your colour palette? When I first arrived in Queenstown, it was to white mountains, hillsides covered in yellow flowers and a bright blue lake. Inspired by the strong blue of the water, the dusky blue of the hills when the sun sets, and the grandeur of the view, the colour palette features lavender, soft blues and charcoal grey, balanced by bold furnishings
and bright pops of colour, including yellow. Copper is also used throughout the hotel as a highlight metal – a QT first.
So, tell us about the hotel’s public spaces. The lobby breaks the mould of other QTs, which all feature generously sized lounges, coffee shops and bars; QT Museum Wellington even has an art gallery. Here, it’s more understated to allow guests to focus on the amazing views. However, the suspended fireplace in the lobby is the perfect example of the harmony between vintage and contemporary that’s prevalent in all QT hotels and resorts. The sculptural, castiron design dominates the space, adding a mid-century appeal.
The lobby and reception areas both feature timber-lined ceilings, timber flooring and split-rock walls that bring an earthy element and Queenstown’s reputation as an adventure playground indoors. The chevron-pattern timber flooring continues through to the food and beverage spaces, guest corridors and guest rooms to create a more residential feel. We custom-designed the carpet that runs
THERE’S ALWAYS A LITTLE BIT OF SASS AND SEXINESS INVOLVED; QT ISN’T A PLACE
IN WHICH YOU’D WANT TO BE UPTIGHT!
along the guest corridor to be bold and graphic, a combination of flora and fauna with digitised snowflake, leaf, flower and mountain shapes. Alongside it is an exaggerated painted dado that mimics the mountainous horizon.
We decided to balance the captivating views in the food and beverage spaces with playful, contemporary décor, to encourage guests to feel as if they can let their hair down. Reds bar is filled with custom-designed, vintage-inspired furniture and sits somewhere between a nice ski chalet and a contemporary lounge. Meanwhile, with herringbone-patterned flooring, leather straps and signage in the shape of a gondola, the restaurant, Bazaar, is an ode to vintage sports gear and the new age of bold skate and skiwear. The concept of QT’s Bazaar restaurants is that they’re ‘interactive marketplaces’, so the restaurant flows off the kitchen and allows for key displays and spaces where the chefs and guests can engage with each other. The central cooktop always takes precedence; we bring the customers into the kitchen, inviting a connection.
And what can travellers expect from the guest rooms? Because this was a new build, by local architects Warren and Mahoney, we wanted to keep the guest rooms contemporary and fresh. The attention to detail of boutique hotel design comes through here, in the knick-knacks, cushions and artwork. The guest rooms are more understated than the public spaces, but still have elements of that signature QT quirk. Thanks to our range of bespoke furniture, there’s never just a bed and an off-the-shelf chair in a QT hotel room. With luxuriously large bathrooms with double basins, sofas that transform into double beds and those big views, QT Queenstown is designed to feel like home, but not as most of us know it!
ABOVE LEFT Vintage meets modern throughout the hotel, creating a sophisticated yet homely aesthetic exemplified by the blend of bespoke furniture in Reds bar. The fireplace by Aurora Suspended Fires seen here mirrors the one in the lobby. ABOVE RIGHT Bazaar restaurant’s elegant angled windows give diners an uninterrupted outlook across the lake to the mountains beyond. The locally sourced ingredients used in the open kitchen include produce grown in the hotel’s rooftop garden.
ABOVE In harmony with the natural environment outside, the relatively subdued colour scheme of the hotel’s 69 guest rooms helps to create a restful experience. Among the special touches in these spaces are QT’s signature gel beds, merino socks and sophisticated mini-bar set-ups that include confectionery made just down the road at the Remarkable Sweet Shop.