Sometimes I really need to escape, just for a night – to get away from the everyday and enjoy the finer things in life, but it can be a tricky finding somewhere not too far from home while feeling like you’ve had a relaxing escape.
Ten years ago, a night away at the casino might have been the last thing I would have considered, however the newly renovated The Star Gold Coast is proving itself the ideal luxury escape. So we packed our bags and headed for a midweek “staycation” to wind down and relax for 24 hours and see just want The Star Casino and Hotel had to offer.
We’ve all seen those moments in the movies when someone walks into a room and everyone just stops and turns to stare in awe – as they step forward slowly the crowd parts for them to graciously move in slow motion through the room. If it’s possible for a hotel room to make you feel alive in that moment, this is it.
Not only are the rooms spacious and striking, with sharp decor and a wonderful modern feel, the room literally comes alive via the integrated control system as you step inside.
Stepping forward the kitchen lights gently turn themselves on, moving on towards the bedroom; sensing our presence the blinds automatically slowly begin to open of their own accord to reveal a beautiful backdrop of the Gold Coast below us, complete with our own private balcony.
Opulent? You bet. Is there a “stay here and never return home package?” Let’s hope so.
Everything about the room screams next level service and comfort. From the welcoming plate of macaroons and hand crafted chocolates, to the intricate and unique soaps and creams from L’Occitane that adorn the bathroom.
At this point we could remain locked in this room for the next 24 hours and not be fazed, comfort, pleasure and style are everything here and we are at peak indulgence level already.
Having checked in as early as possible we decided to explore, we’d seen the pool from the balcony and were puzzled at the people swimming in it in July? A quick test and we discovered the water to be the perfect temperature – no wonder guests were swimming and occupying the two large heated spas to the left as well!
Tucked inside near the pool we contemplated the long list of amazing treatment options at the Azure Spa & Fitness Centre including the 2.5 hour couples package that begins with champagne, but opted to put that one on the next time list.
One of the best companions to luxury is service, I hate doing things for myself at the best of times and when I’m away on a break that feeling is amplified. Knowing that we had a lovely dinner ahead of us, we wanted to dress the part. So did we remember to iron our shirts? No. After a quick phone call, with an hours notice before we were due to head downstairs, staff whisked in to take away the offending clothing. Less than 45 minutes later it returned, freshly pressed and ready to go.
For me it’s always about the perks, the extra little things you can get out of your stay, and choosing a room on the executive level was definitely a perk worth taking. Not only does it include your own express check in on arrival, it includes access to the executive lounge all day and night.
Perched privately above the ground floor, it boasts office spaces for the corporates needing somewhere to work, a fully stocked supply of water, soft drink and nibbles available anytime throughout the day.
However, 5pm each evening is when the executive lounge is most valuable – for two hours you are indulged with complimentary beer, wine and canapes, the kind of treatment that really makes you feel like a star.
The true star of the night though, was the in-house restaurant Kiyomi. It’s no wonder head chef Chase Kojima (pictured below) has earned this restaurant a coveted hat. Unassuming and simple in style, Kiyomi lures you in without the pretence some might fear from a hatted restaurant.
The simple traditional style is comfortable, but it’s the staff that compliment the experience expertly. Continuing the theme of indulgence, it was only appropriate to attempt the eight-course set menu.
Whilst it may feel ambitious, the portion sizes are crafted expertly, never too little and never too much, making it feel perhaps a little like walking a marathon at the perfect pace. Beginning with Hiramasa Kingfish, we were treated to beautifully cooked octopus with watermelon and feta, followed by a delicious serving of King Brown Mushroom, Fungus & Furikake. Each course is expertly explained by our waiter with words, phrases and descriptions rolling off the tongue as though he’d prepared these himself.
Moving on we enjoyed the Cuttlefish, Amigo Powder & Tarragon Ponzu, followed by the Pork Robata with Wasabi Apple Sauce, before devouring their exclusive 2GR Fullblood wagyu 9+ Flank Steak, Broccolini, Parsnip & Burnt Honey, finishing with the chef’s selection of fresh sushi.
In an attempt to outdo himself, dessert is a mix of flavours and styles, pockets of gelatin like pasta filled with ice cream compliment a strong aniseed ice cream, complex, ambitious and delicious. This was more than just a meal, it was an experience, one we won’t forget anytime soon.
It’s easy to picture how the rest of the night may go from here. Either comatose in our gorgeous hotel room dreaming of the food we’d just consumed or a cracking night on the tables in the casino itself? Not quite. Instead we were able to find a great middle ground as we explored the rest this venue had to offer.
More than just a gaming room, although there are pokies and tables galore, we hopped from bar to bar around the ground floor, each with different vibes, different music and styles. It was more than we’d expected from a night out at the casino, something we hadn’t experienced in many years. We ran into old friends, made new ones and got to explore The Star as a place we could enjoy socially, especially with the knowledge that heading to bed meant we only had to pop upstairs.
Feeling a little worse for wear the next day (the light blocking curtains were heaven sent!) I ventured to breakfast solo while my husband slept. Again, the level of service from the staff at the Garden Kitchen & Bar makes this more than a buffet breakfast.
As a strong coffee was whisked in front of me, the staff doted and smiled with the expert knowledge they were dealing with someone who may have over-indulged. The spread was nothing short of huge, from pancakes to pork sausages, eggs, omelettes to your liking plus the finest and freshest croissants, nothing was too much trouble, even going so far as to bag up a selection of pastries and hash browns to deliver back to our room as we continued our morning.
Before wrapping up the trip with a final lunch date we had to test out those poolside facilities and spending an hour relaxing in the heated spas was just what the doctor ordered in the perfect Queensland winter morning.
Our final stop was at Nineteen at the Star (pictured below), the newest and most spectacular dining experience at the venue and it is something you definitely need to prepare yourself for. An exclusive elevator delivers you nineteen floors above the Gold Coast to a chic, modern restaurant perched poolside with an unrivalled view.
A team of attentive staff float effortlessly throughout the venue shifting and polishing, doting and cheerful, never missing a beat as we take a seat for our lunch. The chefs in the kitchen bustle as they prepare for service, the extra preparation is evident here as the staff explain all food is purchased fresh daily, creating an ever changing menu of flavours, remaining in flux and ensuring freshness and creativity.
We opt for simplicity, Roast Highland Duck, Hazelnuts, Foie Gras, sliced thinly and served expertly, a perfect lunch dish, the Truffle Mushroom Risotto however, is exceptional.
Beautiful flakes of fresh truffle adorn the dish, cooked with expert precision to reach the ideal texture, it’s nothing short of flawless. We could indulge more, but there’s only so much one can do in twenty four hours and now we have an excuse to return.
To book your next stay at The Star Gold Coast head to the website here.