Travellers are always looking for the next “untapped” destination, in the hope that they can get a taste of paradise before the throng of tourists inevitably arrive.
These tropical ideals are normally characterised by swaying palm trees, turquoise waters, beach huts, and fisherman basking under the heat of the midday sun.
For those who want to indulge in life’s luxuries in a tropical paradise, your best bet is Qualia on Hamilton Island, in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, according to the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
The luxury Whitsundays resort (we’ve used a picture of Whitehaven Beach, above, by fluffisch) took the top spot in a ranking of the Top 10 hotels and resorts in the world, achieving a perfect score of 100 in all categories, including rooms, service, food, location, design and activities.
In Latin, Qualia means “a collection of deeper sensory experiences”, and the resort’s stunning setting – surrounded by Aussie Bushland – certainly allows Qualia to live up to its name. Qualia is the first Australian resort to top the ranking in the survey’s 25-year history.
“This recognition by such sophisticated and well-travelled readers is truly gratifying,” said Sandy Oatley, chairman of Hamilton Island Enterprises.
The top five was completed by the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, in the Maldives in second place, followed by the Lodge resort in Northland, New Zealand.
The Hotel Caesar Augustus in Capri, Italy, was in fourth place, and the top five was rounded off by the Palazzo Sasso, in Italy.
The Taj Exotica Resort and Spa also achieved a perfect score of 100, in all areas apart from activities (97.5). Kauri Cliffs also achieved a perfect score of 100 in all areas, apart from location (95.2), though we’re struggling to see why!
Other resorts and hotels in the top ten included the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in South Africa, along with Peninsula House in the Dominican Republic, which came joint seventh with La Villa Gallici in France.
The world-famous Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora came in ninth place, while Perivolas Hotel in Santorini sneaked grabbed tenth place.
Top 10 hotels and resorts in the world:
1. Qualia, Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef
2. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Maldives
3. Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Northland, New Zealand
4. Hotel Caesar Augustus, Capri, Italy
5. Palazzo Sasso, Ravello, Italy
6. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
=7. Peninsula House, Las Terrenas, Samana, Dominican Republic
=7. La Villa Gallici, Aix-En-Provence, France
9. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
10. Perivolas, Santorini