QT Gold Coast is not your typical hotel. The modern and quirky design is a smart contrast to the old fashioned hospitality that welcomes guests on arrival. The building and its surrounds, are in many ways, more like a resort than hotel with experiences, both small and large, there to be discovered.
The opening of QT on the Gold Coast in 2011 was the start of what’s now become a nationwide series of bespoke hotels. A retrofit of the former Gold Coast International gave QT a home and the opportunity to test a new hotel philosophy that’s well and truly paid off.
The QT charm makes it easy to spend more time sitting by the pool, discovering hidden artwork, eating at the popular restaurant, Bazaar, or watching the waves break from your room. Unlike other hotels, that provide the basic package, the QT experience is much bigger and seamlessly connects with the identity of the Gold Coast.
“The vibe of QT is fun and funky” says Patrick O'Meley, Front Office Manager for QT Gold Coast, “It starts with our amazing service and continues through to design and architecture that hangs on to the 1950s and 60s. The older generation loves it because it’s something familiar to them, and the younger generations like it because it’s something different and fun”.
The ability of QT to cater for multiple customer needs and expectations is one of its many strengths. The Hotel has positioned itself as not just being a place to stay, or a ‘home away from home’, but more ambitious than that, an experience that celebrates small moments and rewards curiosity.
At QT guests are provided with the ‘tools’ to make their stay unique and more enjoyable. The staff don’t wait to be asked a question but provide initiatives that encourage exploration in and outside of the hotel.
These initiatives start with the giant chalk board in the main foyer that is updated daily with activities, weather information, local fun facts and hotels discounts. Another is the stylish QT bike hire that allows guests to explore some of Australia's most famous shoreline on two wheels.
The in-room lemonade kit is also a nice touch, especially on a warm Gold Coast day. On call, a few lemons are delivered to your room where you follow the instructions to make your own lemonade. The quirky and fun recipe compliments the permanent stand downstairs in the foyer, and the hub of QT culture that moves about around its activation.
A commission by American installation artist, Jennifer Steinkamp, compliments these smaller moments with a giant digital artwork that reiterates the fun and nostalgic vibes of seasonal change. There’s a sense of play here that gives QT an energy seldom found at other hotels or public spaces for that matter.
“One little moment at QT can start thousands of conversations” says O’Meley, “You get to make your lemonade and then experience massive digital art, it’s a nice contrast and one that we find just works. That’s just two things that are popular and leave our guests talking for days”.
But O’Meley assures me there’s more to QT than lemonade and art, “When you visit, it’s not just about the games, it’s about the environment and surrounds. Just like we’re fun and funky, the [Gold Coast] should be too, we are a fun and funky City” he says.
QT is an important destination that represents the very best of a Gold Coast holiday. It’s also an iconic landmark and with its retail, hospitality and world-class service, is a cultural heartbeat for the region. A place that attracts locals (especially for Taco Tuesdays) but also a visitors’ first stop, QT by default becomes an important ambassador for the region and the cultural life of the city.
“Service is a huge thing at QT” says O’Meley, “In other hotels you can’t have tattoos or be different, but in QT we promote the individual and find that we have happier staff and happier customers as a result.”
O’Meley takes this seriously and it’s paid off for QT. An often subtle celebration of employees has translated into a culture that reflects QT’s vision for the Gold Coast and a vision that is increasingly being shared by the wider City.
The mantra heard from the taxi, the café and the beach is the Gold Coast is ‘finally coming of age’, it’s ‘growing up’ and with the Commonwealth Games on its doorstep in 2018, it will be recognised around the world, as a ‘city to watch’. As QT has proven, the Gold Coast is no longer that overgrown beach town but a sophisticated holiday destination.
With the new light rail line having exceeded expectations, and plans for a new multi-million dollar Cultural Precinct on its way, it is the existing destinations and innovation of locals that’s proving the other big asset for the Gold Coast.
The future of the Gold Coast isn’t about size or quantity but the quality of lived experiences. It’s about knowing your heritage, being authentic and supporting locals and encouraging them to share in your vision. QT does this and does it well.
5 SLICES OF LEMON FOR THE GOLD COAST
SUPPORT LOCALS: The best hotels (and places) are seen through the eyes of the local. At QT, bars and restaurants are packed with locals adding their stamp of approval on the space and atmosphere.
DREAM BIG & THINK QUIRKY: The design at QT is quirky and bold but also practical and true to its vision. Other opportunities in the region should also incorporate a truly Gold Coast flavour through design or programming.
BE AUTHENTIC: QT staff are encouraged to be themselves, creating a point of difference and a healthier work environment. The Gold Coast’s uniqueness should be celebrated and fostered.
BUILD AND SUPPORT AMBASSADORS: QT considers its staff an important asset to the brand. The Gold Coast should also support ambassadors that are advocating a better and more creative future.
CREATE MOMENTS: QT balances small and big moments to create an experience worthwhile for visitors to return. The Gold Coast should also consider these small moments while delivering big infrastructure projects.