I’ve written before about my deep love for the beachside resort town of Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
I first visited as a nine-year-old, my first job on the Sunshine Coast was at the local newspaper and I’ve been a welcome day-tripper and weekender many times during the years in between.
The heart of Noosa – and what it’s always held on to – is its National Park. And thank goodness it has. It gives such beautiful breathing space to this region and we should all be very grateful for a bunch of very passionate Noosa-ites who fought to protect this green space.
I always think about what could have been when I walk/run the National Park coastal track, which winds around bays and headlands.
In 1989, many of those same passionate Noosa-ites were also not very happy about the arrival of the first five-star hotel to Noosa – the Sheraton Noosa – aka, the “pink palace”. You couldn’t miss it …
I got to attend the weekend-long opening gala in 1990 and boy, oh boy, it was the party to end all parties. It was at the end of the “spare no expense” era of the ’80s. Sydney and Melbourne’s A-Listers were jetted in. A free-flowing cocktail bar did flow … and flow … and flow.
Fast-forward to 2013 and the pink Sheraton received a much-needed makeover and white wash, thanks to new owners. In June 2016, Sheraton handed over its management to Accor and the Sofitel brand was welcomed to Noosa.
I hadn’t stayed at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort since that re-brand – until last weekend. I was very fortunate to receive vouchers to stay at the hotel for my 50th birthday last June and thought that a kids-free weekend before Valentine’s Day would be just the thing.
And it was.
Noosa turned it on, weather-wise. And I fell in love all over again with this re-branded Noosa icon.
It could have been the French greetings from all staff (I’d never tire of that); it could have been the ocean-view room (in all my stays over 29 years, I’d never stayed in a room that looked out over the ocean); it could have been the distinctively beautiful fragrance at reception; it could have been the blue-striped umbrellas around the lagoon pool; it could have been the rejuvenated Rivera bar ideally positioned for the best sunsets in Hastings Street; and it could have been the recently opened The Cabanas section of the pool area (more on that below).
It all probability it was all of the above. A bit like effortless style usually comes with a lot of effort and hard work, it’s tricky for beachside, five-star properties to get the right mix of service and style without coming across as stuffy. Sofitel Noosa nails it with the right blend of Aussie chill and European chic.
Give me a little European chic any day and I’ll imagine I’m lying under an umbrella somewhere on the Mediterranean.
The Cabanas makes it very easy to imagine you’re there. I know it’s not for everyone (and not very Aussie) to book and pay for a specific spot beside a pool but I loved that we treated ourselves to that on a busy poolside Saturday afternoon.
It was indeed extremely pleasant and oh-so relaxing to take up position in one of the five cabanas, sip on rose, and order oysters and sashimi for afternoon tea. Sparkling and still water, a fruit platter and butler service are all part of the $155, four-hour package (do book ahead of your stay, particularly for weekend spots). Take position at the front on the lounges or chill at the back on the lounge. Each cabana can accommodate four people but you have to be staying at the resort. We dipped in and out of the pool and Mr SY hung around the swim-up pool bar, not to put our butler out of a job … no they had the Winter Olympics screening on a TV in the bar.
This space does open to the public on some Sunday afternoons (check ahead for when the Cabana Club afternoons are on) and, when my friend Kirsten stayed the week before we did, there was a 50th birthday party being set up in the entire space. I was partly jealous of the birthday girl and also wondering how we could become instant friends. I mean, I loved her style already.
In this post, I talked about some of my fave dining spots in Noosa.
On this weekend, we lunched at The Spirit House (thanks also to a 50th birthday present). This an old favourite. I remember 30 years ago interviewing the owners, standing in a bare paddock and him showing me the plans for what has now become an iconic Sunshine Coast dining destination. The food, service and atmosphere never disappoints and it didn’t on this day. They’ve also opened a bar to the side of the main restaurant/dining area. That’s worth checking out if you’ve forgotten to book ahead for lunch or dinner.
Locale was our Friday night choice and it was amazing. Great food, service and atmosphere. The spanner crab risotto was my pick, washed down with a sulphur-free Italian white, chosen from a very extensive wine list.
Saturday morning, I skipped the hotel breakfast to catch up with Susan at Tourism Noosa at one of my faves, Season. Got to love a beachfront position at any time of the day and the food here is just fabulous.
Saturday night we caught up with friends and ate at Miss Moneypenny’s. I’d only ever gone there for cocktails before or after dinner so was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was.
Noosa is about two-hours’ drive north of Brisbane and 20 minutes north of the Sunshine Coast Airport.
Find out more about Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort HERE.
Find out more about The Cabanas HERE.
Head to Visit Noosa to find out more about what to do in the Noosa region, as well as upcoming events and festivals. I’m thinking of signing up for the Runaway Noosa Marathon (the fun run event, of course!).
So tell me, have you been to Noosa lately? Live locally? What are you favourite things to do?
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