Carefree, good-looking, and ever-so-slightly naughty, QT Hotels & Resorts has pushed the boundaries of what a high-end hotel can be, all the while embracing a whimsical, only-in-Australia ethos. Since QT’s debut on the Gold Coast in 2011, the hotel group has slowly expanded across the country (the most recent arrival: Melbourne in September), and each has its own local flavor. Here are six reasons why you should check into a QT property the next time you travel Down Under.
1. The minibars literally entertain you. They’re filled with nostalgic relics of Aussie childhood that you can use during your stay, such as retro games and books such as the 1967 classic The Red Balloon. There are also souvenirs that are actually worth buying: old-fashioned candies, screen-printed tote bags by local artists, the hotel’s own house-made private-label hot sauce, and an “emergency bow tie.”
2. The elevators have attitude. In Sydney, they change the playlist based on the number of people who board (“Let’s Get It On,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”), and in Melbourne, female voices call out 50 different flirtatious phrases to guests in various accents (e.g., British, French, and Eastern European).
3. The hotel doubles as an art gallery. The curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, a frequent QT collaborator, assembled the impressive onsite collection of Australian contemporary digital and video art. At the Gold Coast property, the lobby’s focal point is a floor-to-ceiling wall installation by Jennifer Steinkamp that depicts the whirling of the Earth through the seasons—leaves and flowers are blown by winds that represent the passage of time.
4. Checking in is part of the show. Forget bellman uniforms. The staff who greet arriving guests are called “Directors of Chaos,” and they wear edgy costumes created by Sydney-based theatrical designer Janet Hime, which include cherry-red wigs and knee-length black leather coats.
5. The interiors invite the neighborhood in. The QT Melbourne reflects its location in a longtime fashion district, where a classic cinema once stood. A video installation in the lobby plays vintage black-and-white footage of fashion shows, pulled from that cinema’s archives.
6. You’ll eat well. In Melbourne, there’s a French brasserie, a cake shop, and an aperitivo bar, but the main attraction is Hot Sauce, a lounge influenced by Melbourne’s popular laneway bar culture that serves Korean- and Japanese-inspired dishes (caramel fried chicken ’n’ chili; mango-ripple ice cream) and offers an extensive selection of Japanese whiskey.