SCRATCH beneath the glitzy facade and there is a trendy undercurrent at the Gold Coast.
Long the domain of the kitsch and maligned by the annual onset of graduating teenagers, look beyond the surface and you will find substance and personality.
Epitomising the shift from shabby to chic is the QT Hotel at Surfers Paradise.
Recently refurbished, this is one of the region's coolest places to stay.
The changing hues of the external hotel lettering is the only cue that this is something different.
A mixture of '60s chic and modern minimalism, the styling flows from the skateboarding concierges and reception gals in jumpsuits through to the cockatoo nightlights in each room.
Almost a worthy Gold Coast attraction in itself, the QT rooms are groovy in every way, and on arrival you can enjoy homemade lemonade and then sit back in the well appointed rooms which have surprising fun touches in every corner.
Any stay at the QT is incomplete without dropping into the hotel restaurant, called Bazaar.
This isn't your average buffet, rightly described as "an interactive marketplace" where the menu changes with seasonal produce.
There is a floor-to-ceiling window where you can see into the cool room full of premium meats, along with the refrigerators filled with produce.
Diners can browse their way through an array of dishes, including Asian wok stations and seafood, or chat to the chefs near the crock-pots full of goodies who will cook your steak to order.
The spread is nothing short of sensational and of the highest quality. It would be difficult to find better value for $65 per person.
The QT is a short walk from the heart of Surfers, but far enough from the action for a relaxing getaway.
Well worth a brief stroll is Black Coffee Lyrics, a quirky cafe-cum-cocktail bar hidden above Centre Arcade near Cavill Mall.
It features a welcoming retro theme, from the old doors converted into tables through to the vine book stacks, and a memorable dining experience.
For those who love their caffeine hits they don't come much better than Black Coffee Lyrics, which transforms into a funky grunge bar at nightfall.
Another great quiet location worth a visit is Bumbles Cafe in Budds Beach.
It's a brilliant break from the hustle and bustle of the Goldie.
Fine cuisine is the Bumbles trump card with a sophisticated outlook.
The retro trip to the Gold Coast wouldn't be complete without seeing some of the sights, and the QT offers complimentary use of their vintage beach bikes for in-house guests.
Get on the esplanade and there's a brilliant path which follows the beach into the heart of Surfers, or head north to the marina.
- QT Hotel is at 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise and has 297 guest rooms each with designer bathrooms: for more information visit http://www.qtgoldcoast.com.au.
- Black Coffee Lyrics is open six days a week, located upstairs in the Centre Arcade on Surfers Paradise Blvd.
- Bumbles Cafe in Budds Beach is at 19 River Dr, and open daily from 7am.
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