Robert Q Travel Byron's Blog

Australia's Latest Luxe Stays: New Hotels to Inspire a Trip Down Under
Koalas and kangaroos, beaches and beer and ‘bugs’ (lobster-like shellfish), deserts and mountains and rivers iconic in the Southern hemisphere, and that famous Aussie lifestyle and hospitality! There are so many reasons to put a trip to Australia on your travel list – including these new, luxury hotels that make a trip anywhere in Australia just a little more exciting with anticipation.
 
From the first-ever Ace Hotel in the southern hemisphere, to the biggest W Hotel in the world, Australia’s tallest hotel, a nature lodge with indigenous guides, the first Marriott Luxury Collection in Australia, to historic re-imaginations, every style of traveler who appreciates the good life – and the best of Australia - will find a new hotel to love.
 
Ask us to design the trip Down Under of your dreams including one or more of these new hotels.
 

SYDNEY

 
Ace Hotel
Opened in May 2022, the Ace Hotel Sydney marks Ace’s very first home in the Southern Hemisphere. Nestled in Surry Hills, Ace Hotel Sydney is a sweeping re-imagination of a historical location. With 257 incredible guest rooms and a variety of suites, there is a room for every type of holiday. The hotel also offers a range of dining options, including ground-floor restaurant, LOAM; craft cocktails, wine and beers at Lobby Bar; day-to-night cafe and bar, Good Chemistry; and the acclaimed, genre-bending restaurant Kiln, located 18 stories above Ace and helmed by Chef-Partner Mitch Orr.
 
W Sydney (opening late 2022)
Set to be the biggest W Hotel in its catalogue of more than 60 across the globe, W Sydney will be a must-visit for travelers to the harbor city. W Sydney’s undulating ribbon form rises through two elevated roadways on Sydney’s Darling Harbour, creating a spectacular waterfront experience, sightlines over the Harbour and pedestrian links across Cockle Bay and from the Harbour through to Darling Quarter and Sydney's International Convention Centre.


The hotel is within walking distance of the buzzing dining and shopping district as well as the surrounding area. The gleaming glass building will boast 593 guest rooms and an assortment of larger serviced apartments, along with a restaurant, two bars, spa and an infinity pool overlooking the harbor.

 Ⓒ QT Newcastle
QT Newcastle (opening June 2022) - Newcastle, 90-minutes drive north of Sydney
Newcastle may be known for its laid-back beach culture, but it will soon also house its own luxury accommodation offering. The popular boutique QT Hotel brand will be making its debut in Newcastle in June 2022, marking the fourth QT property to open in Australia. Set to take over the former 111-year-old David Jones department store building, QT Newcastle will be conveniently located on Hunter Mall right in the centre of the growing beach-side city. The design-led hotel's luxurious, quirky flair and distinctive service will feature across the 106-rooms, rooftop bar and its signature QT dining concept.
 

GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND

 
The Langham Gold Coast (opening June 2022)

Located on the sands of Surfers Paradise, The Langham Gold Coast will feature 169 rooms and suites and an additional 170 serviced apartments as part of the new Jewel Residences by The Langham. Visible throughout the Gold Coast, the hotel will be located inside the tallest of three waterside skyscrapers.


It is the first and largest development with direct beach access to be built in the coastal city within the last 30 years, offering uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean or the Hinterland. Surrounded by the buzzing dining district and nightlife of the Gold Coast, the hotel offers guests the perfect base to explore the region. The hotel will also offer a Cantonese restaurant T’ang Cou, an afternoon tea experience similar to the world-famous version at sister property The Langham in London, England, and several wellness offerings built around traditional Chinese medicine.
 

MELBOURNE


Ⓒ Ritz Carlton Melbourne
Ritz Carlton (opening late 2022)
Australia’s culture capital is getting set to ‘put on the Ritz,’ with the arrival of The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Melbourne in late 2022. Located in bustling Spencer Street within walking distance of some of the city’s top dining and shopping destinations, the hotel will be housed in the $2.6 billion West Side Place. The precinct will include four striking towers accommodating more than 2,600 one, two and three bedroom residences, many with expansive views across the city and the bay, and exceptional lifestyle facilities. The Ritz Carlton hotel itself will also set a record as Australia’s tallest hotel, complete with a “sky check-in”, a restaurant on level 79 and 263 hotel suites.
 
 

FARTHER AFIELD


Ⓒ Finniss River Lodge
 
Finniss River Lodge - near Darwin, Northern Territory
Perched on the edge of a vast floodplain, the newly opened Finniss River Lodge is located just a 90-minute drive or 20- minute private charter flight south west of Darwin. Boasting one of Australia’s most exciting chefs, Travis Crane, guests will experience dining that celebrates the highest quality and most seasonal produce native to the region.

Ⓒ Finniss River Lodge

Guests will find a relaxing escape, luxurious suites and amenities, along with an inviting wet-edge pool, all offering expansive views out over the surrounding floodplain and fiery sunsets. For those wanting to explore the region, there are a range of immersive experiences led by highly trained guides, including air boating, on-property four-wheel drive or open buggy tours, heli-fishing and cultural learning with an Indigenous guide.
 
The Tasman - Hobart, Tasmania

The Tasman Hotel in Hobart’s city centre is the Marriott Luxury Collection brand’s first in Australia. Located in Parliament Square just a six-minute walk from Hobart’s city centre, the hotel features 152 rooms and suites with carefully restored features and Georgian and Art-Deco design elements throughout.


The hotel also houses a range of premium dining options, including a lobby lounge, whisky bar and signature Italian restaurant in partnership with Chef Massimo Mele. With a range of stylish rooms available, there is something for every kind of traveler looking for a truly memorable experience.
 
Sequoia at Mount Lofty House - Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Located within an hour of Adelaide’s International Airport in the ambient Adelaide Hills, Sequoia houses 14 sustainably designed suites each with unrivalled panoramic views of the city and picturesque surrounding region.


The state-of-the-art lodge, situated on the sprawling Mount Lofty Estate, features spring-fed stone hot pools, an infinity pool, day spa and valley rim campfire amphitheater. Sequoia has an on-site team of local Experience Hosts who guide guests through activities themed around the lodge’s key experience pillars of Food and Wine, Wellness, Nature and History.
 
The Westin Margaret River (opening 2023) - Margaret River, Western Australia
Located on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach in Margaret River, 2.5 hours’ drive south of Perth, the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa (below and top images) is slated to open in 2023. The resort will be home to 120 guestrooms, including 45 spacious suites, featuring uninterrupted views of the vivid coastline.


Seeking to offer guests an opportunity to rest and recuperate, the resort will feature a range of spa packages from the iconic Heavenly brand as well as a signature Westin fitness studio and a resort-style outdoor swimming pool. Drawing heavily on local produce, there will be a diverse range of culinary offerings on site including an all-day dining restaurant, lobby lounge and pool bar.
 

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Images copyright of their respective properties unless otherwise states, all courtesy of Australia.com

5 Reasons to Travel to the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is still one of the most exotic and unknown locations on the planet.  This federation of absolute monarchies on the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula was established in 1971. Since then, it's made its mark on the world, first as one of the top ten oil producers, then with the lavish lifestyle of all that oil money, and more recently, as an increasingly popular travel and cruise destination.

Here are 5 things you might not know about the UAE:

1. There are 7 emirates in the United Arab Emirates.

They are: Abu Dhabi (which also serves as the capital) Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Quwain.  The largest emirate, Abu Dhabi, is nearly 90% of the UAE's land mass – over 67,000 km squared (26,000 sq. miles).  (Abu Dhabi Skyline photo, top. Credit.)  It and splashy Dubai are the best known. The smallest emirate – Ajman – would fit into Abu Dhabi 25 times.  Saudi Arabia surrounds the UAE to the west, south, and south-east, with Oman on the south-east and northeast, and the remaining border is a 650 km (400 mile) coast along the Persian Gulf.  The emirates' largest natural harbour and cruise port is at Dubai.

Photo Credit

About 10 million people live in the UAE.  Only 1/10th of those are Emirati citizens and the rest are expatriates; laborers and domestic workers from mostly 3rd world countries, and some business expats from the West. 

2. It has the tallest skyscraper in the world.

Even in a region known for surreal cities of glass and steel sprouting out of the desert that surrounds them, the Burj Khalifa (Khalifa Tower) stands alone.  Inspired by traditional regional architecture, this mega-tall skyscraper tops out at 829.8 meters (that's 2722 feet).  Imagine this: it's so high above the earth that, standing on higher floors of the tower, you can still see the sun for a couple of minutes AFTER it has set at ground level.

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The Burj Khalifa has blown away dozens of world records, including tallest structure, tallest structure ever built, building with the most floors, highest elevator, highest outdoor observation deck, highest nightclub, and highest restaurant.  It's the centerpiece of a massive mixed use development that includes an artificial lake and parkland fed by water from the vast air conditioning units of the tower. You simply will not get a more spectacular view over Dubai than from the tower.

3. And the world's largest artificial island.

You've probably seen photos of this.  The Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago of reclaimed land on the Persian Gulf coast of Dubai, part of a development to increase Dubai's shoreline by 520 km (320 miles).  In a complete break from any previous land reclamation project ever undertaken, the development's encircled palm tree design not only takes your breath away, it also maximizes beachfront.  Privately-owned villas, hotels and resort areas occupy the palm fronds and circle. 

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Hotels, resorts and hotel residences in this spectacular setting include: The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort, St. Regis Hotel – The Palm, Kempinski Hotel & Residences, Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort & Spa, The Langham, Palm Jumeirah, Waldorf Astoria, Dubai Palm Jumeirah, W Hotel, Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai, and dozens of independent properties.  There is no other hotel / resort destination in the world like the Palm Jumeirah.

4. And the largest man-made marina.

The man-made Dubai Marina is built along a 3 km (2 mile) stretch of shoreline on the Persian Gulf.  This artificial canal city is said to be inspired by Concord Pacific Place along False Creek in Vancouver. When complete, it will overtake the current world's largest man-made Marina del Rey in California and be home to over a hundred thousand people in its residential towers.

Photo Credit

Dubai Marina is a completely new waterfront.  Engineers brought the waters of the Gulf into the site of the man-made marina.  A large central waterway runs the 3 km length of the site; marine wildlife, including whales, are known to travel inland from the open sea into the marina. The waterways of the marina are complemented by 8 km of landscaped public space.  12% of the land surface of the Dubai Marina is devoted to public space. You may not think of a desert country as a place to go to the beach, but places like Dubai Marina do give you the opportunity to swim in the local waters. (Carefully check and follow designated areas to avoid breaking strict public dress codes).

5. But the Emirates aren't just ultra-modern cities.

There is still Nature in the Emirates.  Outside the futuristic, man-made environments of the UAE's cities, are vast deserts with rolling sand dunes, oases that provide water for settlements, and grow date palms, acacia and eucalyptus trees. The desert itself is not barren; grasses and thorn bushes continue to support wildlife. 

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Conservation programs initiated or supported by the Emirates' royal leaders are helping ensure the survival of wildlife species near extinction from hunting, including the Arabian Onyx, Arabian camel and even wild leopards.

Police Car in Abu Dhabi.  Photo Credit

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most astonishing, contradictory, ultra-traditional and futuristic, spectacular travel destinations in the world. 

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Travel like a Rock Star: W Hotels' Sound Suites

You know it's something you've always wanted to say: "I'm with the band".

You and your friends may have never realized your high school dream to be famous recording artists. But it's not just actual rock stars, indie bands and electronic music creators who can have the ultimate 'destination recording experience'.

W Hotels' Sound Suites allow anyone to go on vacation, and lay down some tracks as well as work on your tan. Four W Hotels around the world: Bali, Barcelona, Seattle and Hollywood, all have the one-of-a-kind Sound Suites.

It's just the type of development we'd expect from the hotel chain that set the bar for modern, stylish, artistic lifestyles. W Hotels feel more like independent design hotels, but as a chain, they have celebrated, empowered and integrated the works of creators of music and the arts, with a global music director and advisors, signature music experiences and an immersive experience of the local creative scene in each hotel.

Their North American Music Director, Chicago-based producer DJ White Shadow, known for his work with Lady Gaga, came up with the idea for W Sound Suites, and the brand has run with his concept, implementing W Sound Suites with professional grade sound equipment and top technology for audio production. You'll find Native Instruments and Shure state of the art sound equipment like a keyboard, DJ system, professional-grade headphones and microphones, as well as Yamaha acoustic guitar and Fender bass for professional musicians and aspiring guests to use in music sessions.

The professional sound studio set up lives in W Hotel signature style. The W Hotel Barcelona, for example, which has Europe's first W Sound Suite, features murals from local visual artist Ricardo Cavolo. A 'fire' for music and design come together in the original art that inspires Sound Suite musicians. W Sound Suites have space to accommodate your entourage with a lounge, a living room, as well as soundproof recording and mixing space, so you can raise the roof with your sound.

Support for music creativity goes beyond the space to hold your own private recording session with amenities like stylish restaurants, room service, pools and gyms and spas and bars of the hotels. Musicians booking a W Hotel Sound Suite may also have access to Master Classes, sound engineers and other local experts through the hotel's Music Curator.

W Hotels Sound Suites bring out – or resurrect - the music creator in us all. We love the idea of booking Sound Suites for guy and girlfriend getaways or bachelor parties… for the musically-inclined, it's a once in a lifetime blast! W Hotels see the suites as not just for recording artists on creative retreats, but as a way to support amateur and emerging talent – all within the artistic, creative vibe of the signature W Hotels environment.

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