Looking for a luxury hotel family experience that’s a little closer to home? Sigourney and family discovered the recently revamped JW Marriot Gold Coast Resort & Spa recently and found it to be the perfect getaway when you don’t want to go too far away.  

We were feeling burnt out and in need of a holiday, but we didn’t have the time or the budget to fly to Europe. Plus we discovered hubby Damien’s passport had expired so going international wasn’t even an option. The idea of piling the family in the car and heading on a road trip up North, however, seemed infinitely easier. An adventure in fact! We do the drive at least once a year to visit my mum who lives on The Gold Coast, stopping at Port Macquarie overnight on the way, so the idea of adding a luxury hotel into the mix is very enticing. 

Occupying a princely position behind Surfer’s Paradise Beach, in the glorious adventure playground of Queensland’s Gold Coast is the recently renovated luxury hotel JW Marriott. Formerly known as Surfer’s Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa, the hotel underwent a stunning $35 million renovation in 2020 under Australian design studio, DBI. 

The JW Marriott’s five star rating is evident from the moment you check in when you’re offered welcome drinks – that change colour, no less. The kids are instantly enthralled. (Check out my IG reel here for the highlights on our stay).  As we explore our adjoining rooms, all elegant cream tones, blonde woods and soft lighting and furnishings, we are drawn outside to the balcony, transfixed by the epic pool that the hotel is famous for. 

The enormous lagoon style pool features an artificial reef with tropical fish circled by a white sand beach, caves, waterfalls and a waterslide. The kids can’t get their swimmers on fast enough and I literally have to chase them down in the lifts. Nestling into a sun lounge, kindle in hand, I get that first delicious taste of Rancho Relaxo. We order burgers and cocktails from the Pool Bar and while away the afternoon in a lazy reverie. 

For dinner we are booked into Citrique, where, despite being tempted by an impressive buffet, we opt for the a la carte menu, drawn to some very tasty seafood options. The kids are worn out from the pool and surprisingly well behaved at dinner, allowing us time to marvel at our Bug Dumplings and Pork Belly with Truffle Salad. Then it’s back to the rooms for movies in our respective beds, carrying our dessert from the restaurant back to the rooms to enjoy. 

The next day we trundle down to Surfer’s and hire Lime Bikes to explore the beaches and Cavill Avenue shops. Not that we’re lacking in entertainment options. The hotel has a range of Family by JW programs such as sushi making, cupcake decorating, poolside yoga or if you venture the theme parks a short drive away. It’s hard to stray far from that pool, though, and that’s where we find ourselves for the rest of the afternoon, the kids doing endless laps of the waterslide and cave spa. 

For dinner we have our friends come to meet us at the hotels famous Teppanyaki restaurant Misono, where we’re all entertained by our all-singing, all-dancing Teppanyaki chef who does some impressive pyrotechnics, throws food at us and has us in stitches. Between courses the kids play with balls at the tennis court next door allowing the adults can have semi-civilised conversation. 

Buffet breakfasts are one of my son Max’s favourite things, even though he mainly just has multiple bowls of cereal. Maybe a pancake if you’re lucky. We spend a good hour at breakfast, overlooking the tropical gardens as Max works his way through Kellogg’s repertoire and I indulge in made-to-order omelette with a croissant and coffee chaser. 

We’re all devastated when our two-day stay is suddenly over and make all sorts of promises to return again when the weather is warmer. Lingering in our rooms until the very last minute, enjoying the enormous bath, cups of tea and views over the coast, it feels like just enough: a holiday that ticks everyone’s boxes without the need for passports and long plane rides. A precious pause in our hectic lives that brings us together, creating memories that will last forever. 

Sigourney and family stayed as guests of JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort and Spa to write this review.

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