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October 10, 2008

Hamilton Island: Qualia

A retreat over the barrier reef.
Photo: Condé Nast Traveler

Every May, Condé Nast Traveler releases its Hot List, a collection of the best new hotels, spas, restaurants, and nightspots. Check the Daily Traveler every day for a new post from this year's list.

Tucked away on 30 acres of Hamilton Island's northernmost point, this adults-only retreat has rocked the Great Barrier Reef when it comes to island comfort. The 60 pavilions--elegantly constructed in native timber, limestone, and slate--have floor-to-ceiling windows, plus (in the Windward Pavilions) infinity-edge plunge pools overlooking glorious tropical surroundings. While this resort is all about nature's beauty--exemplified by abundant tropical foliage and the warm ocean waters--there's fun to be had, too. Pavilions come with an electric golf cart for tooling around the island, and room rates include non-motorized water sports, on-site meals (though not alcohol), and dining at Hamilton Island's best restaurants--perhaps wise, as Qualia's island-time service can be spotty.

Address: Hamilton Island, Australia
Tel: 61 2 9433 3349

When to go: September and October to avoid the intense humidity and the jellyfish.
Which room to book: Pavilion No. 6 for its views, seclusion, and cute walkway to the beach; or the Beach House for a private lap pool and guest quarters.

Further reading:
* Qualia's Web site
* Spa Qualia
* Nicole Kidman's Baby Magic: Australia's waterfalls have pregnant-making powers
* Hot List 2008


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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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