Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hotel - QT Port Douglas


We're escaping the Sydney winter gloom with a long weekend in Far North Queensland at the QT Resort in Port Douglas.

A car from Exemplar coaches and limousines is waiting at Cairns airport to ferry us north along the stunning 1 hour-long coastal drive to Port Douglas.

Wally, our driver, entertains us with his local knowledge and challenging pop quizzes.
It's hard to believe that a 3 hour flight can transport you to a completely different climate with lush tropical vegetation and that gloriously warm sun.

A massive striped black and white lampshade is suspended from the QT entrance giving a hint of the playful design and fit-out featured throughout this new luxury resort.

We check-in and head to our room.
It's large and comfortable with the black and white stripes and happy summer colours theme continuing across the decor.

I love the printed lamp shades.

And we have a relaxing view onto the bush hinterland stretching behind the resort into the mountains.

Our room has an adjoining kitchen, dining and lounge area with another balcony.

... with more playful artwork.

Time to explore the rest of the resort and grab some lunch at Estilo - the QT's relaxed bar and lounge.

A selection of sliders and a crisp chardonnay will do very nicely

... enjoyed near the pool.
With only a few days to see the sights we've booked a same-day ocean sunset sail with Sailaway

Our safety instructions are accompanied with champagne and canap├ęs. Very civilised.

And off we go!

It's quite magical on the water. There's a warm breeze and the air tastes of sea salt as we glide past the wharf.
As we explore the outlying reefs and gently dodge the other boats also enjoying dusk on the water, I think about my fellow Sydney-siders trapped in evening traffic congestion. This is a good time to saviour.

Dinner afterwards is in town at the renowned Harrisons restaurant in their beautiful fairy-light lit garden courtyard overlooking the beach.

The 14-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder with hay-baked pumpkin, feta and cucumber and mint salad lives up to its legendary reputation. Perfectly matched with a tasty bottle of the local Ambar Hill Reserve chardonnay. We sleep very well that night.
After an invigorating breakfast - including delicious carrot and watermelon shots - I want to explore the QT resort's kitchen garden.

It's tucked away in the car park in raised beds along the fence line to protect the garden from winds and capture as much of that morning sun. The garden is bursting with fresh herbs and winter greens.

Tiny radishes poke through the soil. It will soon be time to put in the summer plantings to add to the restaurant's menu.

QT's kitchen garden is part of its commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the resort's activities and giving guests a taste of locally-sourced produce.  The chefs tend to it themselves and hopefully in time it will expand to allow even more crops to be grown on site.

A short cab drive back into town to soak up a little more of that sun before we fly out tomorrow.
The locals are on the wharf trying their luck with their lines.

Port Douglas is an ideal little hamlet surprisingly untouched by the developer's dollar.

There is an authenticity and simplicity about the place that is beguiling.

I'm already planning my next getaway.