For a romantic weekend away in Queensland, the Gold Coast offers a diverse range of enticing destinations, from beach to hinterland. One of our faves is the trendy beachside area of Broadbeach, a slick urban centre, with a plethora of restaurants offering eats from around the world. We’ve put together an itinerary that includes four of our favourite things: dining, wining, shopping and spa-ing – and best of all, you won't even need a car!
After checking into your room at the newly renovated Jupiters Hotel & Casino right in the heart of Broadbeach, head downstairs to the Atrium Bar or PA Bar for a pre-dinner drink. Dinner tonight is at Cucina Vivo, Jupiters’ fabulous new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant overlooking the hotel pool area, where authentic Italian feasts are served up in an atmosphere of boisterous conviviality. Choose a table for two on the romantic outdoor terrace, or join the throng and pull up a chair at one of the long tables positioned around a sizzling two-metre-long wood-fired oven where delicious pizzas are prepared by Jupiters’ pizzaiolo (pizza expert). There’s no shortage of tempting dishes to choose from, so maybe start off with handmade pastas and cold cuts from the charcuterie station before indulging your taste buds with a main course from the extensive menu prepared by Italian-born and trained chef, Salvatore Silvestrino.
After breakfast, hit the beach for an early morning dip before embarking on a shopping spree. Just across from the hotel (on Hooker Boulevard) is the mega-shopping centre, Pacific Fair. At the time of writing, it’s undergoing a massive redevelopment, but still open. When completed in 2016, it will be the biggest shopping centre in Queensland, with more than 400 shops, restaurants and entertainment destinations. Another shopping option is the Oasis Centre at Broadbeach Central: three floors of shops, restaurants, supermarket, fitness centre, yoga studio and hair and beauty salons, just a quick walk across the highway (at the crossing!). Right next door to the Oasis is the Oracle Broadbeach, home to the Endota Spa, where a treatment is a fitting reward after a gruelling shopping trip. We hear the “Spa Mix” package – footbath, facial, pedicure and massage is particularly divine (and yes, it’s for him as well as her!).
A romantic escape is just not complete without a long, boozy lunch, and there are more than 100 restaurants in Broadbeach (no, that’s not a typo – 100!). In the Oasis there’s great Italian at Mario’s or Alto Cucina & Bar, or half-price lunches of the freshest seafood at Bugzies. In the mood for Middle Eastern, Latino or German food? A few steps away at the Oracle, you can indulge at the Mecca Bah, The Cuban and the Bavarian Bier Café, respectively. And for the best dim sum around, head to Sky Broadbeach on Surf Parade, at the entrance to Oracle Broadbeach.
Walk off any lunchtime indulgences (and get ready for dinner) with an afternoon stroll – it’s only three kilometres to Surfers Paradise along one of Australia’s loveliest stretches of white-sand beach. After about 40 minutes you’ll find yourself in the centre of this iconic town – grab an ice cream and stroll down to the river to board a Wyndham Cruises boat for a relaxing 90-minute cruise along the Nerang River. Passing the multi-million dollar mansions lining the riverfront is an eye-popping glimpse into how the other half live. Afterwards, if you don’t feel like walking home, jump on the new G:link, an integrated tram system. (Tip: if you want to see more of the coast, jump on a tram heading in the opposite direction – you’ll get back to Broadbeach eventually, but via the scenic route!)
For a final slap-up dinner to celebrate a perfect romantic getaway, book a table at Jupiters’ new Japanese restaurant, Kiyomi. This is Chase Kojima’s first restaurant in Queensland and the internationally recognised chef is getting rave reviews for his cutting-edge modern Japanese menu that uses unique combinations to create exciting, surprising dishes. Cases in point: scampi with foie gras, white soy, apple and mizuna salad; binchotan duck breast with beetroot, sansho pepper and wasabi; and salmon robata with ssamjang miso and watercress. Delish. The menu is tantalising, the cocktails and saki wickedly good, and the décor sexy – the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable dinner on a romantic weekend getaway.
A sleep-in is optional, but a lazy Sunday breakfast is most definitely not. Afterwards, head to Jupiters’ stylish new pool area and settle in at a private cabana (reserved in advance) for a few hours of pure relaxation in the sun. With music pumping, let the attentive bar staff wait on you (hire of private cabanas includes bottled water and a fruit platter), or make a day of it and move on up to the lounge/bar area for a light lunch before the sun goes down on your weekend escape. You’ll head back to reality with beautiful memories that linger longer than your tan, relaxed and already planning your next romantic escape on the Gold Coast.