Down Under Dreams

LoungeDream big when it comes to your honeymoon.  No, not just the bedroom—the location!  For many couples, it may be the only time in their working life that employers let them take two weeks off.  And if you’ve got that much time, then boy do I have a suggestion for you: get thee Down Under!  It’s no secret that I wear my love for Australia on my sleeve—literally the Sydney Opera House is tattoed on my arm.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share some of my favorite recent finds on my Priscilla-esque journey that ended at Uluru/Ayers Rock.

First, while many travelers start in Sydney, I now advise folks to go right away to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays near the Great Barrier Reef.  It’s an easy connection after you’ve landed in Sydney or Brisbane.  After a 14-hour flight (from LA), you probably just want a shower.  But trust me, don’t stop—go recover from jetlag in the splendor of qualia resort—and then head back to Sydney when you’re ready to party.

Here are my taste-y reasons why qualia should be on your gay wedding/honeymoon list:

Poolside Qualia

Taste-y Style: The private villas are Aussie chic—the best of the Asian-inspired open layout with plunge pools but decorated in a modern, sleek, comfortable and sexy style. The only tough decision I had was where to lie down and take in the view—the tub, the bed, the outdoor couch or the pool.

Taste-y Relaxation: Spa qualia uses all natural Australian products formulated from native earth and plants.  Opt for the Kumali Ritual—a steaming ball of native herbs and spices dipped in Aussie macadamia and sweet almond oil, then massaged, pressed, and rolled over the entire body.

Qualia BBQTaste-y Morsels: Aussie native Chef Jane-Therese Mulry was a trusted right hand of London superstar Marco Pierre White.  At qualia, she’s turning out some of the most original combinations I’ve ever tried—meat paired with fruit for a main course anyone?  The BBQ Wagyu beef with Honeydew in a Raspberry Vinaigrette packed a punch—of flavor and delicateness.

Taste-y Activities: One visit to Hamilton Island Golf Club—a ferryride away on a neighboring island—and I was ready to convert from tennis to the links   The eco-friendly course design features spectacular views of the Whitsundays.  Between the roaring ocean and my cute Aussie golf instructor, I could hardly keep my eye on the golf ball.

Qualia 15th Hole

Taste-y Nuptials: If you’re lucky enough to convince a group to attend your ceremony on the island, then reach out to Hamilton Island Weddings.  They have the inside scoop on the best spots for various groups—and can take care of all the details having done many same sex ceremonies.

And just like that famous Aussie hospitality, qualia is celebrating New York’s marriage equality vote with a special Gay Honeymoon Package that includes over $1,800 in special amenities and savings. This honeymoon package includes one complimentary night (valued at $1,045) making it a seven night stay (believe me, you won’t want to leave), plus: complimentary bottle of French champagne (valued at $170); dinner for two at Pebble Beach Restaurant (valued at $330 per couple); and a sunset cruise including cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (valued at $265 per couple). The total package is priced at $6,270 for accommodation in the Leeward Pavilion* type suite and available through March 2012 with some blackout dates.


<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/s/noscript?tag=gayweddings07-20" mce_src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/s/noscript?tag=gayweddings07-20" alt="" />

Editor’s note: lucky JP, he was a guest of qualia for two nights.

Jon Paul Buchmeyer is the author of the award-winning humorous memoir Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life and writes frequently for Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit magazines. In addition, he is the author of his own popular blogs: ABCityblog.com and Poptimistic.com.