Alex: (Bear with me as there’s lots of photos!)
Growing up, I have vivid memories of annual holidays to Surfer’s Paradise with my family, with regular visits to the popular BMD Northcliffe surf club and spending hours at the gigantic Time Zone (that seems to have gotten even bigger). The hotel’s we stayed in were the classic high rise self contained apartments with unparalleled views of the beach. Simple and clean with the selling point being that beautiful stretch of sand that can be seen from the distance of our abode.
But outside of the hustle and bustle of “Cavil Ave” and just a short drive away in Main Beach lies the most opulent and extravagant hotel in the Gold Coast which we had the pleasure of staying at this time round. Palazzo Versace. It’s fair to say that this was a very different experience to any that I have had during the many visits to Queensland.
Now, if Donatella was 50 years younger and maybe not as plastic fantastic as she is now. I’d say there’s potential, but anyone that knows me well, knows of my strange obsession with Versace and the finer things in life. So as myself and Bianca literally booked our flights out of nowhere I told her, I would not go unless we stayed at the Versace hotel and I quote “It’s not the Versace mansion…but it’ll do.”
Service was impeccable and as we arrived for our 2pm check in, we were promptly served. Staff were on hand ready to bring our bags up to the room.. Taking our seat at the reception table we enjoyed some banter with the receptionist who welcomed us and gave tips on what to do in and around the hotel.
The hotel is no more than 5 stories high but takes up an impressive amount of width space that’s positioned right on the marina. We were on level 3 with our door opening up to the terrace that had day beds where you could relax, read a book or under our circumstances…eat.
Bianca, not so much a fan of garish, in your face detail was pleasantly surprised by the room décor. We opted for two large double beds instead of one King bed that was enveloped by a number of Versace pillows gracing crisp white bed linen.
The floor was a beautiful tarnished wood with lighter details throughout. The bed head, chairs, tables and even light holders were all embellished with the signature Medusa Head (my kryptonite). But I think both our favourite and least favourite part of the room was the bathroom. As soon as you walked in, a large mirror with gold framing took up the better half of the back wall and was perched just above the gigantic Jacuzzi bath. The tiling on the floor was the extravagance that we all know Versace to be. With black and white shades with gold and dark green details. The shower and toilet were separated by frosted glass and had their own frosted doors. And there in leads to our least favourite part. Obviously sharing a room with my sister meant I wanted my privacy and she hers, so as we saw the frosted bathroom door we both looked at each other with an uncomfortable gaze. Let’s just say we had to constantly yell at each other to not look at the bathroom door as we got out of the shower.
The hotel is home to 3 different restaurants that can cater to the needs of anyone’s price point which is quite impressive in itself. But we were on a mission to find the best eateries on the Gold Coast and Vanitas prides itself as being a strong competitor in the food scene, especially after recently gaining a chef’s hat.
The restaurant is what you imagine from a fashion house. Beautiful marble tiles on the floor, elaborate table setups with Versace X Rosenthal dinnerware being used throughout the whole night, I would not want to break any of those plates! With the view being the sparkling lagoon pool and surroundings. Also, it’s interesting to note that the restaurant is only open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
To activate the palates we were brought out an amuse bouche of ‘cheese on toast’. It often scares and excites me when chefs do their own take on such cult classics. It gives the chef the ability to showcase their creative technique but if unsuccessful it can be quite an odd way to start a meal. Thankfully the chef pulled it off. Cheese ice cream with a strawberry and balsamic reduction. The Parmesan wafer added a nice cheesey punch to the dish but Bianca didn’t seem too blown away. Overhearing other diners the word ‘interesting’ was almost always used.
The bread and butter was brought to the table and both of our eyes lit up. It’s our favourite thing guys, give us a break. Beetroot bread with feta and olive oil. The bread was warm and the butter easily spreadable but we found that the bread lacked any distinct flavour. Now I don’t know if it’s just us but it was unanimous that when having bread it should be either butter and salt or olive oil and salt not both of them together.
As an entree we decided to share my favourite thing in this world. The Seared scallops blood sausage with artichoke $19. This dish was not on the menu and was described to us as having truffle, but I’m not going to put that in the description because if there was truffle it was legit non existent which was a little disappointing. Thankfully the dish overall was executed wonderfully. The scallops had a nice char to them and actually the whole dish tasted like peanut butter which Bianca explained as coming from the artichoke. I could’ve done without the blood sausage or an alternative meat element but only because ever since Bianca explained what it was I’ve been turned off.
Another one of my kryponites is pumpkin ravioli, so after seeing it on the menu I ordered the Pumpkin and Pinenut Ravioli, Mustard Fruits, Stracciatella Velouté, Amaretto Biscuit $39. Well… for $39 I was expecting more than just two little ravioli in a bed of sauce. After showing photos to people that assumed this was one of our entrees but no ladies and gents feast your eyes on this ridiculousness. I’ve been to many restaurants, in fact a lot of fine dining restaurants and this was quite a poor excuse for a main. The dish, thankfully was quite good. The strong taste of amaretto biscuit reminded me of when I was travelling through Europe. Each element so perfectly intertwined with each other but only one let down was that the edges of the ravioli were a little too al dente.
Bianca always a fan of the Pork ordered the Berkshire Free Range Pork Belly & Jowl, Parsnip, Boudin Noir, Swede 43. The Pork belly had a nice crispy skin. The jowl got the thumbs up from B as well but the texture was interesting. There was crispy bits on the jowl that mimicked the texture of the crispy skin on the pork which was nice.
To share we ordered a side of mash potato with melted manchego cheese. Oh my goodness man. This was phenomenal. Rich and velvety mash, perfectly seasoned and that cheesy rooftop just pushed this dish to the top of our list.
Bianca wanted the Blood Orange Tart, Yoghurt, Cardamom $16. Which was a super light ending to the meal. The blood orange was quite aromatic as it was placed on the table. It’s quite an intense flavour but was balanced well in this dish. From what I could see on our slice there seemed as though there was some marbling done on the top of the tart which would’ve have looked lovely!
Chocolate Hazelnut, Olive Oil, Winter Black Truffle $18. The pièce de résistance. Literally. It was a work of art. So many varying textures and flavours that it was almost like a party! If you like rich, dark, intense flavours then this is your dessert. The ice cream was meant to have truffle in it but we couldn’t taste it. It just tasted like a really nice vanilla bean ice cream. The price point on all the desserts was well worth it. Decent servings and amazing flavours. We were very impressed.
After our meal we decided to sit in the lobby. Honestly I could’ve sat there all day and night and would’ve been content. I ordered a piccolo and then realised it was $7. Complete joke, but moving on, that was my fault. I realised I could’ve made my own coffee in the room for free, oops.
There actually wasn’t a lot of time for relaxing and free time on this trip as we had so much we needed to fit in. So the hour that I had to myself I went and laid in one of the cabanas available at the lagoon.
There’s no denying that you feel like royalty as you sit and relax just sinking in the view. Granted I was the only one at the pool because I’m pretty sure it was like 12 degrees but hey I had my Versace robe on so it was fine.
The hotel also has two bespoke Rolls Royce’s that are available for hire. The head rest are embellished with the signature medusa head with Versace pillows in the back seat.
ROOM SERVICE/EATING IN THE ROOM:
This is just a bunch of pretty photos for you to look at as we got a bunch of stuff and brought it back to the room including this limited edition Nutella Pokemon doughnut from Doughnut Time.
On our last morning I wanted to get room service, Bianca had no say in the matter.
I didn’t take photos of the prices so I’ve completely forgotten now but I remember the avocado on toast being $22. But that’s okay, I’ll live.
Toast with accompaniments
Fruit Salad with yoghurt
Avocado on sourdough toast with cherry tomatoes and feta
Peanut butter and Nutella Cake with vanilla frosting, salted caramel drip, macaroons and edible flowers from Tome Cafe, Maroochydore.
There you go peeps. To say I was in heaven would probably be an understatement. I’d love nothing more then to be sitting back in my Versace bath robe with a slightly younger and plastic free Donatella feeding me some cake.
Until next time!