In a busy life, it’s important to plan times of retreat; weekends of relaxation, sharing time with your partner surrounded by green. Somehow, we find that lawns, gardens and wilderness are nourishing for the soul, far more so than concrete and bitumen!
The InterContinental Sanctuary Cove is one of our favourite retreats, an expansive resort situated on the Gold Coast. Its tranquil gardens surround a swimming pool and lagoon, water cascading between them. Just beyond their blue waters, the Coomera River frames two sides of the property.
Part of the 500-hectare Sanctuary Cove Resort developed by Mike Gore in 1986, the resort has its own amenities such as golf, boating, restaurants and a shopping village, yet it feels a world away from suburbia because of its tranquil natural landscape and wildlife.
We arrive in late afternoon, a perfect time to take a walk around the expansive grounds. Rosellas flit between the trees, and at times kangaroos can be seen grazing on the lawn in total disregard of the superyachts cruising gracefully past, just within sight.
We’re staying in the Queenslander Suite on the northern edge of the resort overlooking the wedding chapel on a lower level. Our rooms are elegant, spacious and quiet, comfortable rather than ostentatious with a palette of secondary colours lifted by vintage lithographs of wildlife.
Though the Marine Village offers many fine restaurants, we are drawn to The Fireplace, the resort’s signature restaurant.
A fire carries intimacy and romance, the notion of care, love, and keeping the home fires burning. Historically, a wood-fired oven has been the flaming heart of many kitchens, the focal point of the kitchen and an integral player in food preparation.
The Fireplace embodies those concepts, with much of the food cooked in an open wood-fired hearth, the centrepiece of the restaurant looking out on the dining area. After the meal is cooked, Executive Chef Matt Hart and his team carefully assemble each dish on a long counter top in front of the fireplace before meals are delivered to the table.
We settle with a glass of Central Otago’s Two Degrees Pinot Noir as we enjoy entrées of Miso-glazed tuna and rich Braised beef short rib, both superb. It’s a delight to enjoy friendly and informed service with technically excellent internationally-styled food, flourishes such as avocado emulsion and sesame dust adorning the tuna, and an intriguing carrot crisp crowning the short rib.
These two dishes are our favourites of the evening, followed by Lamb striploin with parsley micro-sponge and textures of sweet potato dressed with a red wine glaze and Pulled chicken gnocchi with sage beurre noisette, Swiss browns, parmesan and almonds for mains.
There’s a feeling of cosiness to the venue that lends itself to quiet conversations on winter nights, perfect for an intimate date or a family gathering. So much better for those staying in the hotel, as you can wander back to your room on lamplit paths or catch a lift with a porter in a golf buggy if you want. The night is yet young!
In the morning, breakfast at Seasons is a hive of activity carrying a totally different vibe. The restaurant’s vaulted ceiling adds light and airiness to the venue, and there’s a smorgasbord of food choice: a wide selection of cereal, yoghurt and bïrcher muesli in the cereal bar, made-to-order omelettes or eggs at the hot breakfast station as well as other hot selections. You can make a juice of your own creation with the industrial-size juicer or take a bowl of fruit ‘in the raw’! It’s the land of free choice.
Whether you are a local enjoying a weekend away or an overseas visitor tasting our relaxed Gold Coast lifestyle, few places capture the sense of a ‘relaxation retreat in the city’ quite like the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort. With its stately country feel, the resort will always hold a special place in our hearts.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast were guests of the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort.