romantic

QT, SYDNEY

It's a Saturday night in the bustling hub of Sydney. Shows are playing, restaurants are fully booked and the harbour is glowing. Strolling through the city, gothic buildings lining the street, I found myself at the iconic State Theatre on Market Street where my hotel is supposed to be.

"QT?" a lady in a red wig asks. "Yes" I reply, assuming she was an actress from a nearby show. She wasn't. She escorted me through a narrow foyer to the elevators where a few floors up is the lobby of QT Sydney.

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Bursting with colour and velvet, I checked in quickly and started to get my QT vibe on. Sexy, quirky and over the top.

My room, an Executive King, overlooked George Street on the 9th floor, with large heritage windows. Polished floorboards, bright rugs and eclectic furniture draw on the past mixing it up with edgy design.

The mini bar was stocked with Patron, salami, nibbles and a beard kit; perfectly curated for the modern hipster. The room seemed to encourage the guest to pour themselves a drink, or two, with martini glasses dotted around the room.

No luxury is overlooked in the bathroom with fitted, velvety, hooded black robes. Slinking around feeling quite the Marilyn Monroe, I discover MALIN and GOETZ amenities in the cabinet. A big New York tick.

Gowings, the hotel restaurant, takes on a more sophisticated style with an ultra-hip ambiance. Serving up modern food, the breakfast shies away from the usual offerings and satisfied my weekend munchies. Watermelon salad with pomegranate and vanilla ricotta was balanced and refreshing, followed by Mexican eggs with avocado and beans. Served promptly, by staff who were a little too cool, it was a good spot to nut out the day's business.

Where the hotel really wins me over is at it's spa and grooming boutique. Stepping in to a luxe laboratory, the changing rooms are fitted out with vintage style lockers and mosaic tiles. I booked myself in for a Turkish Salt Scrub and was guided through historic hallways to my treatment room. Original stained glass ceilings and semi-exposed brick walls housed my therapy bed, which was one of the softest I've had. After a full body loofah, I was massaged with their "satin lotion". I don't know exactly what satin lotion is but I couldn't stop touching my glowing skin for the rest of the afternoon.

Despite it's central CBD location, the room was peacefully quiet. Waking up feeling hazy after my night on the town, the soft dim lighting was a relief on my heavy eyes. A long stretch and I dozed back to sleep. QT, you're not my forever home but you are what I needed right then and quite frankly your sass has me smitten.

CHECKING-OUT DEBRIEF
FEEL: Take the missus out and get lucky. Pack red lippy.
ROOM PICK: Corner suite for the views.
WIFI: Yes, complimentary.
RATES: Starting from $380 AUD. Breakfast packages available.
CHILDREN: Get a babysitter, its adult time.
MINI BAR: Spirits galore, cocktail kit, beard kit, salumi, nibbles. Treat yo'self. Coffee machine provided.
GETTING THERE: Valet parking is available, simply pull up the front, put your hazard's on and QT will sort out the rest.

I stayed as a guest of QT Sydney.
https://www.qtsydney.com.au/

 

MINERAL SPRINGS HOTEL, HEPBURN SPRINGS

Checking in at the Mineral Springs Hotel, you feel refreshed, even before hitting the spa. The lemon lampshades, high ceilings and windows bathe you in light as you waltz to the reception lounge.

Breakfast (included) is served at The Conservatory, with both cooked to order items and a buffet featuring fresh produce picked from their farm. It's not a rushed affair either. Hanging lamps and cane furniture give you an air of relaxation, despite the stately surroundings.

The multi-award winning spa is the draw card for the hotel. Start with their extensive organic tea selection, and relax in the lounge (there's an open fire in winter). The outdoor deck is the perfect spot to sip on your tea before heading in to the mineral water baths, overlooking the gardens of Villa Parma.

Twilight bathing on Friday and Saturday nights is a must. Soak yourself in steaming therapeutic waters as the sun goes down - one of their signature treatments.

The springs terrace room gives you an intimate space for a couples getaway. Relaxing on a king bed, you're facing your own terrace and a bay-window bathtub. A separate bathroom behind the bedroom, and a space for writing and lounging gives you a retreat for a chocolate and wine weekend.

The in-house restaurant, The Argus Dining Room, recently awarded a Chef's Hat by the Age for 2015, serves modern Australian cuisine referencing local produce from the region. So whether you're looking for a Victorian getaway, fine dining or relaxation therapy, Mineral Springs Hotel really is the best of what Spa Country has to offer.

CHECKING-OUT DEBRIEF
FEEL: Modern grandeur.
ROOM PICK: Springs Terrace Room.
WIFI: Yes, included in the rate.
CHECKING: 2PM check-in | 11AM check-out.
BREAKFAST: Included.
RATES: Terrace Room – From $415 per couple 1 night midweek / $1055 per couple 2 night weekend. Springs Deluxe Spa Room – From $340 per couple 1 night midweek / $950 per couple 2 night weekend
CHILDREN: OK - but not recommended (no additional bedding can be provided besides a cot). Minimum spa age is 16.
IN-ROOM: TV, bathtub (in some rooms), writing space, terrace (in some rooms).
MINI BAR: Yes, limited.