During the recent school holidays we had an opportunity for a quick mini-break on the Gold Coast. My brother-in-law who lives in Los Angeles had to fly to the Gold Coast for a business trip. As he was coming out with his family, we all decided to join him – but not for the business part, just the holiday.
Getting to the Gold Coast from Sydney is easy. It’s less than a 90-minute flight. As long as your flight isn’t delayed, delayed, delayed and then finally cancelled. But I won’t bore you with that; I’ll just get straight into what a fantastic few days we had on the sunny Gold Coast.
There are so many options and choices of places to stay on the Gold Coast. Narrowing it down, we wanted to be as close to the beach as possible and there is only one resort that’s situated on the beach and that’s the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.
The resort was built in the 1980’s by the infamous Christopher Skase and his Quintex Group. Long story there that we’ll avoid! Recently the resort has had a comprehensive renovation and it now sparkles and shimmers with a very edgy and modern look.
The accommodation options at the Mirage are numerous. We had Alfie with us so decided on a corner spa room because these rooms are a little larger and come with a king-sized bed and a couch that can be turned down to a sofa bed.
We arrived in the afternoon and had a fairly seamless experience at check-in except for the fact our room wasn’t quite ready. We were told it had ‘maintenance issues’ and were given complimentary bottles of water while we sat in the expansive lobby and waited for the ‘issues’ to be resolved.
It appears that long-gone are the days where a porter escorts you to your room. When our room was ready the receptionist gave us a map and with a wave of her pen, marked our room with an ‘X’ and we set off it find it. We did have a bit of trouble as it was on the first floor and when we walked into the building we couldn’t find a set of stairs to take us to the next level. I asked a cleaner if we were having a blind-moment and he explained that the stairs were actually external and we had to walk through that building and then out a set of doors where we would find the staircase. Seek and you will find!
Our room was light and bright and flooded with sunshine. It had windows that slid right back leaving an expansive opening and it was lovely to sit in front of the opening and enjoy a drink. While we really liked our room, it was situated directly opposite the restaurant and the function room so there were times when we felt we were lacking privacy and had to live behind the curtains.
While the room has certainly been brought up to date from its birth 30 years ago, there were a few things that seem to have been overlooked. There were no cupboards or drawers in the bathroom so everything had to sit on the counter where we quickly ran out of room. There was not even somewhere for the hotel’s hairdryer so we found that in a drawer outside the bathroom. Overall the room was lacking in cupboard space and drawers and we had difficulty unpacking so Alfie had to live out of his suitcase for lack of other options.
The bed was comfortable although I did prefer the bed at Peppers Soul, a resort just a short drive from the Mirage. I also would have liked a few more pillows as there were just four on the bed and no extra pillows supplied. We also only had one chair to sit on for the three of us but I guess that’s because the couch had been turned down to a bed for Alfie.
We did experience noise from the people in the room above us and this noise was especially obvious in the bathroom where I could hear word-for-word conversations. However, the people above us were not the considerate type. They had what sounded like a dozen children in the room and we could hear every thunderous footstep.
Our room was serviced daily and the bathroom restocked with a good range of products. You could opt to not have your room serviced but for me, not having to clean your bathroom or make your bed defines being on holiday.
Hands down, the breakfast buffet is the best I’ve ever experienced. Em, who lives in LA, said the American breakfast buffets she’s experienced just don’t compete. The food area was spotlessly clean, there was ample staff, and the most incredible offer of a range of quality foods I’ve ever experienced. There were many healthy options but also, if you wanted, you could have pancakes topped with ice cream. Go Alfie!
The resort features water, water, water. It’s everywhere with low-rise blocks of accommodation separated by pools of water with overhanging palm trees. Its complete effect is a serene, tranquil and soothing environment that really gives you that holiday feeling.
The lagoon pool is expansive and is heated to 26C. It’s surrounded by level lawn with plenty of sun lounges parked under umbrellas. Pool towels are available from a couple of cupboards that are constantly being re-stocked. The pool has a swim-up bar which is a terrific novelty for the kids who often sat there in the afternoon and enjoyed an ice cream or a milkshake. Unfortunately there isn’t a heated outdoor spa which would have extended the time we spent outdoors as it was the middle of winter and in the afternoon the air temperature started to rapidly slide south.
We spent a couple of days by the pool and it was very relaxing and peaceful. The only sting in the outdoor experience was the price of food at the Oasis Pool Bar. While the food was of a very high standard and while it was always served promptly, it was unnecessarily expensive. A burger from the kid’s menu was over $20.00. The only person in our party of 16 who didn’t nearly keel over from shock after reading the prices charged was my LA brother-in-law who found instant relief by converting the prices back into US dollars. Lucky him.
The children all enjoyed being so close to the beach and spent many hours just playing in the water and building sandcastles. We brought surfboards with us (never leave home without them) and Drew spent lengthy time in the water teaching his nieces and nephews how to surf.
All 16 of us drove away from the Mirage proclaiming the four days to have been terrific. Fantastic weather, a gorgeous beach, excellent food, comfortable accommodation, a fabulous pool, and all in very aesthetic surroundings. It was a great destination for a family reunion.
Verdict: Incredibly relaxing.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort: 71 Sea World Drive, Main Beach, Gold Coast