After a two year exile due to all things COVID, I’m excited to return to Noosa and even more excited to be checking into the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort. To be honest, I’m also a bit apprehensive about how Noosa has fared after two years of state borders opening and closing like a revolving door. But as I walk down a bustling Hastings Street, I see a sign that one of Queensland’s most glamorous holiday destinations is well and truly back. It’s the boardshorts of my dreams in a shop window – with a (sale) price of $475!
After my wife finishes shaking her head at my expensive taste in swimwear, it’s time to check into the Sofitel Noosa (as most locals call the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort – because Australians can’t resist shortening a name). With its prime location on Hastings Street in the heart of Noosa, the Sofitel Noosa has all the ingredients for a stylish beach holiday. With its Mediterranean-meets-France styling, it’s a landmark destination for travellers after an extra dash of style with some of the best service in town – and beyond. Even during our mid-week winter stay when it’s way too cold for swimming at Main Beach, the hotel is almost 100 per cent full.
As we approach the entrance to the Sofitel, I’m surprised by the number of staff on hand to greet us with the Sofitel signature “Bonjour”. Since COVID came to town a few years ago, I have come to appreciate how hard it is to find and keep good staff but at the Sofitel Noosa, everything seems to be going well. With many smiles and warm welcomes along the way, we are ushered to reception for an efficient and friendly check-in which has us with keys in hand and well informed about the facilities in a few minutes. Even better, high tier Accor loyalty club members receive a welcome glass of chilled Champagne in a private reception area during check-in. Here’s cheers to that!
We are staying in one of the Sofitel’s Signature Suites located on the top floor overlooking Hastings Street and out to Laguna Bay. The Sofitel has 176 rooms, one restaurant on Hastings Street and three bars including their signature swim-up pool bar alongside the huge lagoon-style pool. The pool channels Saint Tropez with jaunty striped umbrellas and is heated so it can be enjoyed throughout the year by guests who (unlike us) remember to bring their swimmers.
Other facilities include the AQUA Day Spa and a well-priced bottle shop for that last-minute French bubbles indulgence. If you fancy a chilled glass of something delicious from this bottle shop in the walkway alongside the hotel, you can charge it back to your room. Then there are The Cabanas Noosa, a chic space alongside the pool with French Riviera vibes. Additional facilities include a sauna and gym area for guests who enjoy a daily workout, and some of the best people watching in town at the hotel’s Noosa Beach House Bar overlooking Hastings Street.
Arriving at our room, we find all the mod cons associated with a luxe 5-star hotel like a Nespresso coffee maker, big screen TV and a huge king size bed. Our spacious suite also has a full dining table with room for six, a kitchenette and a sizable lounge area. Bathing pleasure is catered for with a sizable bathroom with a spa tub, dual sinks, and a walk-in rain shower with divine Hermes toiletries. Our accommodation is very impressive even though the decor is looking a little dated compared to the hotel’s stylish public areas. We find out later that a major room upgrade program is about to get underway so it won’t be long before the rooms look as glamorous as the hotel itself.
The thing we love most about our suite is the view which takes in the beautiful Mediterranean pool area with stylish sun lounges and umbrellas, and wraps around to Hastings Street and out to Laguna Bay. A large patio area with an outdoor dining suite plus two sun lounges has you daydreaming about sipping Champagne while you soak up Noosa’s famous sunshine and the view. We skip the BYO option this time and decide to head downstairs to the bar for a drink and a snack.
The Noosa Beach House Bar is located on Hastings Street and perfect for a lunch time nibble and a glass of wine while we watch the passing parade of upmarket cars, Vespas, and holiday makers enjoying one of Queensland’s most famous beach destinations. The bar area is a few steps from the Noosa Beach House Restaurant which dishes up modern European flavours with Noosa’s flair for local, seasonal produce. If the Beach House Bar is busy, you can head to the Riviera Bar adjacent to reception which is equally appealing with plush seating and a menu of fresh seafood nibbles and cocktails with views of the Noosa River.
Unlike some hotel breakfasts, the one at the Sofitel Noosa is well worth the spend. I’m not usually a fan of buffets and usually prefer an a la carte menu but this spot changed my mind. With made-to-order café style egg dishes – think ‘Would you like a side of avocado with your eggs Benedict?’ – and pancakes delivered to your table, barista coffee (at no extra cost), fresh fruits, bread and pastries plus various juices, you could easily spend an hour or two here each morning dining and people watching. Leave room for the pastries and multiple coffees as they are both amazing.
One of the best things about staying here is you don’t need a car to experience all that’s great about Noosa. With some of Noosa’s signature restaurants like Sails, Bistro C and Season a short stroll away along with tempting stores and boutiques, and a stunning beach and national park for swimming and adventures, there is plenty to keep you entertained nearby. If you feel like venturing further afield, it’s a 15 minute walk (or an even faster Uber or taxi ride) to the thriving drinking and dining scene at Noosa Junction with its exciting and eclectic bars and dining options.
Our wonderful stay rushed by and had us checking to see if we could hide under the bed at checkout time. From the smiling staff who greeted everyone as they walked through the lobby, to the stylish pool, excellent drinking and dining options and our suite which came with two make-your-own cocktails and Zumbo desserts at turndown each night, the memories of the past two years and their associated challenges disappeared more quickly than our evening sweet treats. We had always wondered if this hotel was worth the hype (and expense) – and it most definitely is.
After an early room service lunch on the balcony before our departure to make the most of every last minute of our stay, we went downstairs to our car and not one but two smiling staff assisted us with our luggage. Staying at this five star hotel in the heart of Noosa isn’t cheap but is it worth it? Absolutely!
Disclosure: The writers travelled with assistance from Tourism Noosa. They would not hesitate to stay at this hotel again at their own expense, especially if it was to celebrate a special occasion.