Words by Ashton Rigg
Watching the foamy swell rhythmically push its way to the shore, jet-skis skimming along the canals, and spying others admiring the same views from their hotel balconies, you realise this is what the Gold Coast fuss is all about.
Brisbanites have a funny relationship with the Gold Coast. It’s so close you’re often not sure when one ends and the other begins. Plenty of people commute between the two; it's quicker than the peak-hour trip from Sydney’s western suburbs into the CBD.
Given these close quarters, we tend not to spend lengthy amounts of time at the Coast. Maybe an overnighter, a Hen’s Party weekend… we even drive to and fro just for a nice dinner or a few hours in the surf.
This is where interstate and international visitors have an advantage. When you make the effort to come all the way to Queensland’s glitter strip, you’re going to want to make the most of it. Queenslanders like the Gold Coast, but everyone else? They love it.
Sitting on the 37th floor of the Hilton Surfers Paradise, I spot pastel holiday homes, 42-kilometres of beach curving up the coast, the Q1 looming large, the sharp Hinterland peaks fading on the horizon, and the newly installed light rail gliding behind the esplanade, which will surely become as iconic to ‘the Goldie' as any of the above.
Even when the forecast is set for grey days, the Gold Coast somehow manages to turn it on. Still, it helps to be staying in one of Surfers Paradise's most impressive hotels.
The five-star Hilton Surfers Paradise soars above the glitter strip, squeezed between Orchid Avenue, the Cavill Mall and Surfers Paradise Boulevard. All the best bits of the Gold Coast are literally on your doorstep, yet you don't have to venture beyond the lobby if you don't want to.
Between acclaimed restaurant Salt grill, the quirky cocktails of Fix bar, the smorgasbord of treatments at eforea spa and multiple pools for splashing and sunning, you can eat, meet, stay and play on site.
The Hilton brand is synonymous with style and always ticks the boxes, especially when it comes to business travel. Along with 169 Guest Rooms in the Orchid Tower, there are no less than 250 spacious Residences working their way up to the 55th floor.
My home away from home was a two-bedroom Sky Residence. Chocolates on the pillow, panoramic beach-to-mountain views, a spacious living room to catch all the Australian Open action, laundry to give the togs a tumble-dry before the next morning's dip in the pool, his and hers bathrooms and a walk-in robe… I can't even imagine what the Penthouse Suite must be like.
If there was one piece of advice for corporate travellers (or anyone who dreams of kicking it with the high-flyers), it would be to upgrade your stay at the Hilton Surfers Paradise to the Executive Package, where complimentary Wifi and parking are just the tip of the hospitality iceberg.
You'll be given a separate card to your room key – one that opens new doors – on check-in. This silver slice of the sweet life allows you access to the Executive Floor on level 15. Pop up for a quiet continental breakfast and skim the headlines or check your emails over morning coffee.
If it weren't for a few buildings on the horizon, you could be fooled into thinking you were on a cruise ship, peering out across an endless blue ocean as you nibble a freshly-baked croissant or dig into the fresh fruit salad. You might even return to the lounge for tapas and drinks in the afternoon, watching the day fade away and Surfers flicker to life.
There's more to the Executive Lounge than coffee and charcuterie – the private express check-in/check-out is the ultimate convenience. A private dining room with food curated by celebrity chef Luke Mangan is perfect for wooing clients, and state-of-the-art meeting facilities seal the deal.