Last week I headed south to the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, with my best friend Claire, for some mid-week rest and relaxation. The resort is easy to find, around 10 minutes drive from the freeway and it has a grande, sprawling feel, it reminds me of Billy Madison’s mansion. Adding to the Billy Madison vibe is the fact everyone appears to be driving around on golf buggies! Fantastic!
My favourite thing about the resort is the people working there. Every single person we spoke to, from the front-desk staff to the restaurant and breakfast staff, were all incredibly friendly, genuine, kind, helpful and beaming with a big smile. The customer service never felt forced, it always felt genuine and welcoming. The staff remembered us and would stop for a quick chat as we ran into each other, they were quick to give us recommendations on what to do, where to go and what to eat at the restaurant. It made the stay so much more enjoyable because we felt so welcome and comfortable the entire time. The resort is all about old-school hospitality and service, when you pull up at the entrance of The Great House you’re helped with your luggage and, if you want, your car is parked by the valet. Check-in is quick, easy and efficient and you get the feeling you could ask the check-in desk or concierge for help with anything and it wouldn’t be too much trouble.
After checking in you’re treated to a ride in a golf buggy, dropping you and your luggage to your room and explaining where all the essential things are along the way like where breakfast is served and where the activities are located.
The rooms are a great size, we had a twin room, with two Queen-size beds, and still had enough space to spread out our bags of clothes, computers, cameras and other bits and pieces. The room was really comfortable which made it easy to spend a few hours relaxing in bed, catching up on work, reading, watching TV or sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine.
Everything in the room reminds you of old-world hospitality, it has a really grande, provincial feel about it which is calming and relaxing. The large bathroom has a big, inviting bath tub and the shower was a good size with excellent water pressure (very important!) and plenty of hot water. Even the bath products supplied in the room and guest towels are high-quality, no nasty old dispenser soaps or dry, scratchy towels in sight.
Our twin room overlooked the pool and resort, with a view of the Marina as well. It was a really pretty view, especially in the afternoon when the sun was setting behind us and the warm, golden light bounced off the big gum trees and masts of the larger boats in the marina. In terms of food, the resort’s signature restaurant, The Fireplace, serves absolutely amazing meals. I didn’t have any expectations at all and was really blown away by how beautiful the food looked and how incredible it tasted. We were the first to try the new spring menu and enjoyed every single course from entrée to dessert (even the bread to start was divine!).
The menu is seasonal and food is prepared from locally sourced produced. It’s the kind of food that isn’t pretentious or stuck-up, it’s just great food cooked exceptionally well. Take a look at the new spring menu here. I would recommend visiting the restaurant for a special occasion or romantic dinner, even if you aren’t a guest of the resort.
Breakfast, served daily at the Cove Cafe is also a real treat. There’s so much to choose from, a great mix of healthy options and something a little more hearty too. Everything is available, from hash browns, eggs and bacon, fresh fruit and granola to waffles and cold cuts. There’s a wide variety of pastries, cereals and muesli to choose from and so many options for vegetarians and gluten-free folk. I loved the fresh-made juices available and the option to have Barambah Organics yoghurt, yakults and soy milk. Another treat at breakfast is the coffee is barista-made and it is fantastic!
The resort pool is more like a private beach than a pool, with white sand leading into perfect bright blue water, lined with beach chairs, umbrellas and those comfortable big cane beach beds you can hide out in all day. There’s big bean-bag style beds you can float around the pool on as well as fun toys for the kids to play with too, and a separate smaller pool for the little ones.
A short walk from the pool is the Marina, with big, beautiful boats, and the Marina Village with a variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries and cafes to enjoy. After walking around, the perfect place to unwind in the afternoon is The Pool House, grab a cocktail and relax at the bar or in a beach chair while the sun sets. Of course if you’re a mad golfer you will love the two internationally renowned golf courses on site, The Palms and The Pines. If, like Claire and I, you have no golfing abilities whatsoever, you can take a drive to Harbour Town or Robina Town Centre for a spot of shopping or visit the resorts on site day spa, Champions.
Other activities could include a visit to a National Park in the area or a local beach, if you feel the need to get back to nature. For families, there are so many activities to keep kids entertained during the school holidays! There’s hours of fun on offer at the Family Fun Zone, including the putting green, cricket pitch, giant chess, giant jenga, beach volleyball and bocce as well as foosball, ping-pong, board games and card games. The resort also offers morning and afternoon activities at its Planet Trekkers kids club.
I would recommend the resort to families, golf-fanatics and anyone looking for a really relaxed, luxurious break with excellent service and everything you need at your fingertips. Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is the perfect place to unwind and disconnect from the world.