The prestigious Relais & Châteaux association has long provided the discerning traveller with the best private hotels and fine restaurants worldwide.
This year, the membership-based hotel and restaurant group adds 45 new members to its collection, including qualia on Hamilton Island in Australia.
Relais & Châteaux also announces Paulo Coelho, the acclaimed Brazilian author and travel connoisseur, as its 2012 Ambassador. He features in the guide and has written a charming introduction.
This year, three of the new hotel members are in Australia and New Zealand - qualia resort on Hamilton Island, Saffire Freycinet resort in Tasmania and Huka Lodge at Taupo. They will be promoted in the new guide, distributed to 800,000 of the world's most discerning travellers and restaurant-goers each year.
Boutique resort qualia has become an iconic Australian resort since it opened in 2007. At the secluded northern tip of Hamilton Island, qualia offers stunning views across the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands. Renowned worldwide as a premier retreat, qualia is for spirited travelers wishing to seek out sensory perfection for the body and soul.
The three new members are in good company, joining Jacques Reymond Restaurant in Melbourne, Tower Lodge in New South Wales' wine region Hunter Valley, Jonah's at Whale Beach in Sydney and Tetsuya's Restaurant in Sydney. In New Zealand there are: Kauri Cliffs Lodge on Matauri Bay, Mollie's Hotel of Auckland, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay, Otahuna Lodge in Canterbury, Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet on Lake Wanaka, Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown and in Tahiti, Le Taha'a Island Resort and Spa.
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 500 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries. Established in France in 1954, the Association's mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character. Furthermore, Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for and a personal commitment to ensuring their guests is privy to moments of exceptional harmony. To choose Relais & Châteaux is to experience an unforgettable celebration of the senses. From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers a chance to explore the Route du Bonheur and discover a special place in a variety of destinations.qualia, Australia's world class luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef, is located on the secluded and breathtakingly beautiful northern-most point of Hamilton Island. qualia has 60 elegant one-bedroom pavilions and a Beach House, each set among eucalyptus trees with postcard views of the idyllic blue, green waters of the Whitsundays. Two superb restaurants and Spa qualia cater exclusively to guests of the resort. Hamilton Island can be accessed directly from all east coast international gateway cities in less than three hours. 'qualia' is deliberately spelled with a lower case 'q' as it is a reflection of the relaxed, understated nature of this property.