Queensland is often unfairly regarded as the uncultured cousin of its southerly neighbors, those edgy urban nests of Sydney and Melbourne. Put it down to the Australian competitive spirit, since any claim of The Elandra as being anything less than cosmopolitan, luxurious or refined is nonsense, evident as soon as one enters its lavish fusion of styles.
Wooden walkways connect the Elandra’s buildings, leaving the rich ecology of local flora and fauna undisturbed. Happily, the opposite isn’t always true — human guests are quite often visited by curious locals; cassowary families are known to stroll casually through back patios on their morning walks, while butterflies, frogs and various fuzzy marsupials are all part of the scenery as well.
Remodeled in 2007 by ex–stage actress Katrina Knowles, the Elandra’s inner spaces reflect Knowles’s considerable travels, and the design is a dramatic mix of global influences. Tribal totems, Moorish lamps and African artifacts give the property’s shiny white interiors an overriding exotic appeal — something that defies all Australian resort conventions; there’s not a dolphin portrait, shell sketching or dried starfish to be found on the entire premises.
The centerpiece of The Elandra — and the thing to which most guests will feel helplessly drawn — is its sizable pool. Skirted by designer loungers and Moroccan-style day beds to which gourmet food and beverages can be summoned, hours here magically turn into days, guests tuning out to the hush of the ocean and the silhouette of swaying palms against pastel skies. If only The Elandra were home.
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