Lavished with style

It is the famed playing field of the world's bold and beautiful people... for sheer opulence this Versace-styled resort on Australia's Gold Coast does not disappoint.

Much has been written about this avant-garde hotel with the signature style of the Italian fashion house Versace and of its reigning diva, Donatella Versace, who has styled every last detail of the hotel. The first sight of the huge lobby, dwarfed by larger-than-life marble pillars, plush circular seating, velvety tropical flora and an abundance of mirrors everywhere, took my breath away, as did the expensive baubles adorning the elegant bodies lounging there.

The following two days gave one a new definition of luxury and service.

Every single item in the rooms of the $300-million property is an objet d'art sourced from the House of Versace, from the Versace china for tea and coffee to the crystal in the private bar. And everything is stamped with the familiar Medusa figure from Greek mythology that inspired Gianni Versace and went on to become his corporate logo. While smaller, more intimate boutique hotels have their own charm, the sheer luxury of the larger-than-king-size bed with its ornate covers, and the grand sofas and chairs scattered around the room was another experience. The huge spa-bath allows guests to soak away their weariness after a hard day's frolicking on Gold Coast's legendary beaches.

Guests are pampered throughout, starting with a box of Versace chocolates in the room to the elegant, wrapped-in gold-tissue goody bag of Versace soaps and perfumes in the bathroom and the choice of six types of pillows for a good night's sleep.

The hotel is a venture of the Sunland group, and it was Managing Director Soheil Abedian's fascination with the baroque styles and neoclassicism of European Renaissance that led him to the Milan-based fashion house. The result was the luxury-designer hotel and resort.

The attention to detail sets this property apart from others in the business... the mosaic in the driveway of the hotel is the second-largest pebble mosaic in the world and was created by five Italian master tile-makers using handpicked pebbles from their region. The magnificent chandelier in the hotel foyer had once adorned Milan's State library and was bought by Versace for his villa. More than $11.5 million worth of marble imported from Italy embellishes the hotel.

The resort is surrounded by five shallow lagoons for guests to luxuriate in. Alternatively they can head for a day's indulgence at Salus Per Aquum, the in-house spa nestling between the calm broadwater on one side and the surging ocean on the other.

The hotel houses a Versace boutique with a selection of accessories, make-up, homeware, costume jewellery, fragrances, scarves and clothes. The boutique also stocks elegantly packaged gifts ideal for giveaways back home.

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