Where to stay in Gold Coast, Australia – Sofitel Broadbeach; Mercure Gold Coast

In Travel by Sara Ann KLeave a Comment

Johnny Depp is filming his latest Pirates Of The Carribean movie there. Jay Chou just held his wedding after-party there. And the next Commonwealth Games will be hosted there. Gold Coast, known for its undulating beaches, seems like the place to be. And with prices going for as low as $68 on promotion at **Scoot – heading to Australia for a short break is now pretty affordable.

** The trick is to sign up and be a member to their alerts, and wait for their Tues early morning deals that are always a bargain!

Did you know that all Scoot planes have names? Ours was named Barry.

Did you know that all Scoot planes have names? Ours was named Barry.

I headed to Gold Coast, Australia for a short 4 day 3 night break last November with my mother, more than 10 years after our last visit, and I was pleasantly surprised.

While it still has the same chill, relaxed vibe about the place, hipsters have definitely hit the area. Plus point – there is always a cool café where you can get a good cup of joe around the corner, a farmers market where you can buy organic produce, and of course… a cheeky barbershop where you can trim your beard.

You know its hip when it tickles your punny bone.

You know its hip when it tickles your punny bone.

 

We stayed at Sofitel Broadbeach with some of my girlies, which turned out to be the best part of the trip.   Sofitel Broadbeach, Gold COast, Australia

With Moonberry (Irene), Becks (Rebecca Saw) and Bea (Beatrice Lee)

Slightly further down from the tourist section of Gold Coast otherwise known as Surfers Paradise – the hotel not only boasts great waterfront views,

but it also is attached to a shopping complex that houses a Woolworths. (Anyone who has gone on an Asian Family Vacation would know staying next to a supermarket is like striking hotel lottery gold. Where else would you buy sweets and snacks to load into your suitcases to lug back home?!)

Besides a great sized room;

Two double beds in our room – perfect for both me and my mom. Even though we’d have gladly squeezed into one too!

with a generous bathroom, a balcony with the view of the beach;

Quick panoramic sweep of the view

and a gymnasium (that I never got acquainted with), the selling point of the hotel imho, besides its location of course,  is its restaurant – Room 81.

I am not fan of “eating in” when I’m overseas, but Room 81, which houses both a bar, and fine-dining fusion restaurant – was so good, I became a convert. I ate there twice!

Run by the young chef, Sam Moore – the restaurant and its food, is worth a stellar review of its own.

From the creative, and literally smoking, cocktails made by a charismatic mixologist, Thomas, where everything seems to be covered in fairy dust – we learnt later that this was real gold dust – to the prettily presented plates of food made with local produce. Each dish in the degustation, from the matcha smoked ocean trout, that slid down my throat with just the right hint of the ocean, to the star of the show – Sphere – a chocolate ball that is served “smoking”, where diners have to smash it in for a reward of delicately balanced flavours –  chunks of honeycomb, creamy chocolate ice cream, a dollop of refreshing blood orange sorbet, and crunchy gold malt balls – was an experience in itself. Another plus to the hotel – the plethora of food options available in the area, even late into the night. Hipsters have invaded Broadbeach, so just around the corner at Oracle BVLD, there are quaint new bistro bars that offer everything from Korean to Cuban.

It may not look like much at midnight. But this place had some really great restaurants worth checking out. Cuban. Korean. Bistros. Very cool area.

It may not look like much at midnight. But Oracle Boulevard had lots of great eats!

The area had some cool shops like Witchery and really cool boutique coffeeshops and restaurants.

The yuppie offerings like Moo (a steakhouse) offer happy hours that seem to be packed with sharply dressed PMEBs. And for those travelling with parents – there are no less than three Chinese restaurants within a five minute walking radius that seem to be constantly packed with both local Chinese and tourists alike. (One is similar to a higher end Seafood Restaurant – Think Imperial Treasures, and two are dim sum restaurants.) There are also at least five different nightspots all within walking distance from the hotel that were alive and kicking, one of which, East, comes recommended by the locals in the know.

The only downside to the hotel? For a property that big, the pool is pretty small, but then again, it is a hop, skip and jump to the Kurrawa Beach. And if you are afraid of the cold like myself, you’d appreciate the fact that the pool, located just outside the breakfast area, is heated.

Breakfast at Bistro on3 was another highlight of my stay at Sofitel Broadbeach. Bistro on 3 DSC_0192_1 Each morning you are served with a different shot of detox juice – are greeted by an array of healthy, tasty options, and – the piece de resistance – an automatic pancake maker: a machine that put a smile on my face each morning by magically popping out two, perfect pancakes within a minute.

The cincher for this hotel was the little details.

Things like cold-refreshing coolers of fruit-infused water were in the lobby at all times so guests could top up their bottles, or grab a quick drink when they got in.

The artwork everywhere to showcase local artists, which are available for purchase.

How the staff went out of their way to make my mother feel at home, suggesting things that we could do, and spoiling us with daily plates of chocolate and huge bowls of fresh fruit. (Honestly, they were the heart and soul of the hotel, from my fave waitress at room81, Lilian, Thomas, Daniel at Bistro on 3. Even the beautiful lady GM, Avery, they each went out of their way to make not only me, but every guest feel at home.

Yummy chocolate and fruit. Mom and I looked forward to this every day!

 

They also showed my mother the way to Pacific Fair. Only one of the biggest malls in Gold Coast, that was a mere 10 minute stroll away from the hotel.

Yup. That is a shopping mall. A short walk away. I was in heaven.

Yup. That is a shopping mall. A short walk away. I was in heaven.

And my mother wasted no time getting herself there while my girlfriends and I went off for an afternoon of bad golf.

If it is more a family vacation that you have in mind, then Mercure Gold Coast, where I headed for a spot of recreation, seems to be a good option. It is further out from the “city” – and about a forty minute drive away from the airport. But while I didn’t stay there, my gal pals and I went for a golf clinic with their PGA Professionals, Lee and Peter Harrington at the Palm Meadows Driving Range.

An hour lesson for two people will set you back a mere A$90, and you could also make a full day of it with tuition, lunch and 18 holes with your professional in a golf cart at A$395.

We happened to be there when a young, handsome, just-turning-pro-golfer guy was there. So, we got a few tips. (More like.. I checked out his.... rear *cough* swing.)

We happened to be there when a young, handsome, just-turning-pro-golfer guy was there. So, we got a few tips. (More like.. I checked out his…. rear *cough* swing.)

Mercure is sandwiched between the Palm Meadows Golf Course, and the Lakelands Golf Course designed by Jack Nickalaus, but also partners with three other golf courses that are all relatively close by.

Big smiles even though we kinda sucked. =P Well. I did.

Big smiles even though we kinda sucked. =P Well. I did.

The main draw for most families, is that is it also closer to attractions like Sea World, Dreamworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World and Dreamworld.

For me, the selling point yet again was the food.

If you are a kangaroo meat virgin like myself – then perhaps, the Mercure Hotel’s indigenous menu offerings are a good introduction to the meat.

We were served fillets of marinated kangaroo with salad, and a kangaroo pot pie – and I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted like beef.

The goat cheese tart, dukka dusted prawn and the herb and pistachio crusted lamb rack are also worth mention. Pretty fancy food if you were only looking for a place to crash while playing a few holes with your mates. All in all, my trip to the Gold Coast was a pleasant re-introduction to the place. Will I go back again? Definitely.

 

Stay tuned for my other posts on my Gold Coast trip.

Review: Room 81 – and other places to eat in Gold Coast, Australia

Nightspots around Broadbeach in Gold Coast Australia

Things to do in Gold Coast, Australia

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