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voco Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise was once known as the Watermark Hotel. The hotel has since been completely refurbished and is now part of the InterContinental Hotel Group. Reinvented with a bright, vibrant decor and three different voco Gold Coast restaurants, this hotel aims to impress and delight both new and returning Gold Coast visitors. Its prime location is just one of many reasons to stay here.

voco Gold Coast Reception
voco Gold Coast reception

We are staying at voco Gold Coast for a quick one-night school holiday GC getaway, an easy 45-minute drive from our home town of Brisbane. As we drive up to the porte-cochere, my eyes are drawn to the new F-type Jaguar parked at the entrance. This is not the type of car I would expect to see at a 4-star hotel, but after entering voco Gold Coast, it doesn’t seem out of place at all at this flash looking hotel. voco Gold Coast parking is available underneath the hotel if you are like us and don’t have a suitably fancy car to park outside.

The voco Gold Coast reception area is bright and inviting, sporting a vibrant yellow and black decor which is part of the voco brand signature. Situated in the lobby area is the Social House Café, ready to indulge a quick caffeine hit and sweet treat for early morning departures or daily top-ups. The smiling staff hand us our keys and a complimentary pack of shortbread made with honey from the bee hives on the hotel roof, and tell us how to reach our Deluxe Room.

voco Gold Coast Lobby lounge
voco Gold Coast lobby lounge area

Our accommodation has a lovely ocean view and bright, fresh décor in line with the reception area. Our room’s refurbishment was part of the hotel’s rebranding from the Watermark Hotel to voco Gold Coast. This was part of a multi-million dollar renovation which saw its 389 guestrooms getting a fresh new look. The thing we notice first is the cheerful yellow, blue and white décor followed by the new bathroom which has a deluxe walk-in rainshower and upmarket Aveda toileteries. This is a huge change from the dreary shower-over-the-bath set up we remembered from the hotel’s Watermark days when we stayed here for a conference.

voco Gold Coast - Deluxe Ocean View suite
Deluxe Ocean View Suite at voco Gold Coast

Our Deluxe Room is on the small side but it does fit in a very comfortable king size bed, chaise lounge with ocean views, work table with a chair, mini bar fridge and cupboards. We also have the addition of a rollaway for our lanky teenage son which cuts down the space considerably. However, we keep the bed folded until bed time which frees up lots of additional space. So much so, that we don’t even notice it is there.

A tight fit with an extra bed but the free wi-fi is a winner

There are three in-house dining options: Social House, Waves Buffet Restaurant, and Clifford’s Grill & Lounge. All of the dining options are located on the ground floor, with Social House café area providing first class people watching opportunities in the lobby. There is also a separate Social House bar area behind the café. The only thing we weren’t tempted by was the poker machine area tucked away at the back of the Social House bar, although thankfully you need to walk in a separate door to access this so it doesn’t intrude on the overall vibe.

Clifford’s Grill & Lounge has great food and great people watching

As part of our stay, we dined at all the restaurants and found the food to be of a very high quality, particularly for a four-star hotel. Clifford’s Grill & Lounge is undoubtedly the standout dining option with an extensive menu featuring modern Australian dishes with a focus on surf and turf. However, be warned the dishes at Clifford’s are huge. We had one small and large plate each, and couldn’t even manage one dessert to share between the three of us after that. And we were travelling with a teen. Yes, the portions really are that big.

Clifford's Bar and Grill - steak
Juicy steak at Clifford’s Grill & Lounge
Clifford's Bar Prawn and Cream Gnocchi
Prawn and gorgonzola cream gnocchi

We also had breakfast included at Waves the following day. This was good but nothing to write home about, just a well executed four-star hotel buffet breakfast spread. If we returned to the hotel, we would skip the buffet in favour of breakfast at Social House Café. This dining venue has excellent barista made coffee and a choice of pastries or a la carte hot breakfast dishes such as waffles or pancakes served with seasonal fresh fruits, vanilla bean ice cream, and voco honeycomb made with honey from the bee hives on the roof of the hotel.

Social House Cafe for a la carte breakfast and coffee

The other voco Gold Coast facilities include two pool areas, one on the east and west side of the hotel, so you can watch the sunrise and the sunset. A great feature not advertised on the website is the guest laundry area which would be perfect for extended stays. If you are flying into Coolangatta airport from overseas as part of a longer trip to Australia, all of the traveller friendly facilities at voco Gold Coast would be especially appreciated. Other features include a large gym area and stand-alone L’Aqua Day Spa which is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm. The spa offers many massage and facial treatments and specials, such as a one hour massage with all the trimmings for $89.

voco Gold Coast L'Aqua Day Spa
L’Aqua Day Spa

voco Gold Coast over delivers on quality, style and service with some of the nicest staff we have come across on the Gold Coast. If you are travelling with two children, booking one room with two double beds if your kids are small is the way to go. With rooms available from $120 per night (and this is during the busy school holiday period), you could almost treat yourself to two rooms for older kids if you felt like a splurge. voco Gold Coast is an excellent hotel if you want bang for your buck in a highly sought after location, with plenty nearby to keep you entertained plus it’s less than a minute’s walk to the beach.

Discosure: The writer stayed as a guest of voco Gold Coast and would not hesitate to return to this hotel at his own expense.

Looking for some accommodation on the Gold Coast? Read our reviews of The Star Gold Coast and the very cute La Costa Motel. Or you can check out this round up with plenty of Gold Coast accommodation suggestions to suit every taste and budget.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.