9 September 2011 by Luke McCormick
Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove Resort
The Gold Coast's Sanctuary Cove Resort is located within Australia's most exclusive, fully integrated resort complex. The heritage-style ‘Queenslander' is built around a white sand-fringed saltwater lagoon, with plenty of sporting, leisure and recreation facilities on hand to guarantee a satisfying stay.
Surrounded by a 300-berth marina and 100 acres of land, it is one of Australia's top leisure destinations, conveniently located 45 minutes from Brisbane and Gold Coast Airports.
The hotel is also backed by two championship golf courses: The Pines and The Palms, which can be accessed by a three-minute courtesy shuttle from the hotel. Both are considered among the best courses in Queensland.
The resort itself is built in the style of a 1940s Queensland homestead, set among extensive gardens and lawns. Five accommodation blocks surround the main ‘Great House' building and two conference centres.
The resort is close to the many chic boutiques, bars and cafes of the Marine Village. Just a short from the hotel you will find more than 80 specialty shops and over 15 cafes, restaurants and wine bars, allowing you to immerse yourself into one of the Gold Coast's leading lifestyle destinations.
As far as dining on the premises goes, there are four unique restaurants. The Pool House, Verandah Bar and Cove Café offer informal dining, while the Fireplace Restaurant's fare is prepared in a unique custom-made wood-fired oven.
The Fireplace is located in the Great House and overlooks the gardens and lake pool. This award-winning restaurant is reminiscent of a private dining room in a large manor house, offering provincial style cuisine featuring fine grilled meats and seafood. The hotel also has an a la carte restaurant where bookings are essential.
The fully licensed Masthead Bakery in the Marine Village is especially great for lovers of coffee and café-style delights.
Another dining highlight is enjoying complimentary canapés on the lawns of the Regency Club in the evening.
For relaxation there is a one-acre saltwater beach lagoon pool, a tennis complex and access to a nearby recreation club with many facilities, while a day spa provides facials, massages and body treatments.
On the accommodation front each room offers views of either the pool, marina, river, gardens or golf course. Inside you'll find colonial-style décor, polished parquet floors and plantation shutters opening onto a balcony.
Just a short stroll from the hotel you will find the many chic boutiques, bars and cafes of the Marine Village. Here more than 80 specialty shops and over 15 cafes, restaurants and wine bars allow you to immerse yourself into one of the Gold Coast's leading lifestyle destinations.
Boat cruises depart daily from the Marine Village. Choose to see Sanctuary Cove from the Coomera River or cruise to Stradbroke Island for lunch before continuing down the Broadwater to the Spit.
There are fishing tours to nearby reefs and waterways of the Broadwater on offer as well as deep-sea fishing expeditions.
Nearby there are around 40 championship and resort golf courses and the region's major theme parks - Dreamworld, Movieworld and Seaworld - are just ten minutes away.
Other nearby attractions include the Gold Coast Arts Centre at Surfers Paradise, the Holden Performance Driving Centre at Ormeau and Lamington National Park and Mount Tamborine in the hinterland.
The Palms Golf Course
The Palms was recently closed for 18 months for a complete re-design by golf course architect Ross Watson. It was re-opened in April 2011 after $8.8million in refurbishment work and the addition of a $12million golf club, part of the ongoing transformation of Sanctuary Cove's infrastructure.
The course now provides a real challenge for golfers. After several months of play the greens are bedding in well and from all the accounts the overhaul has created a more difficult, yet satisfy course that is proving a real hit with visitors and members alike.
The course features plenty of water features and hazards, with lake, canal and river views and rewards accuracy, with many of the holes boasting slender fairways, water-lined approaches and clusters of bunkers.
Here a conservative approach is needed with a focus on placement, not power.
The large undulating greens challenge the best of putters, with three putts certainly brought into the equation.
Tee placements have been designed to suit a variety of playing conditions and a diverse playing membership. Certainly it is less difficult than the renowned Pines course, recognised as one of the finest in Australia.
Watson has designed several famous courses in Australia and internationally, including The Royal Sydney Golf Course and Magnolia Golf Club in Japan, and says The Palms is one of his most outstanding creations, unique because of its rustic bunker style and strategic layout.
The Palms is deliberately shorter than the neighbouring Pines course and is often called a ‘thinking man's course' because of the need to think more about where the pin is and where one needs to be aiming.
The call for thoughtful play is immediately made clear by the strategic elements contained on the 484m par 5 hole 1 which gives a taste of things to come.
Although a conservative approach is encouraged throughout the course, risk taking is still rewarded, although it will generally result in penalties.
The course is beautifully kept with cabbage palms, paperbarks and gums and is surrounded by some of Queensland's finest homes and apartments.
GPS-enabled carts provide electronic score capability, along with visual flyovers of each hole and a feature to track the length of each shot, allowing to keep on top of your round with ease.
The front nine is characterised by long fairways and large bunkers, with the main feature being the large lake that is skirted by the seventh and eighth holes, with views back onto the Hyatt's chapel.
The back nine is tightly packed around water, surrounded by the canals and waterways of the Coomera River, providing a good choice of short round or a great contrast for the full 18.
The course has some great par 3 holes that are sure to attract critical acclaim, with hole 12 quickly gaining recognition as the course's signature hole.
Overall the par 70 course has a rating of 70 and a length of 5904 metres off the back tees.
The front nine is mostly made of par 4 holes, with a pair of par 3s and the opening par 5, while the back nine features par 4s, and a pair of par 3s and 5s.
The Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club is exclusive in nature and hosts many functions, with bookings solid almost a year in advance. The newly built clubhouse is located by the first tee, which is a short cart ride away from the main club.
The Arnold Palmer designed Pines course is a members only affair, while the Palms is accessible to the public. Guests of the Hyatt Regency have access to both courses.
Sanctuary Cove is home to scores of wildlife and has been listed as an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, ensuring The Cove remains a valuable part of the local conservation landscape. It is home to various breeds of fish, reptiles, insects, mammals, amphibians and birds, including kangaroos, flocks of Corellas, foxes, kookaburras and number of white geese.
The Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club is among the best in Australia and certainly deserves to be discovered.
Author: Luke McCormick