Palazzo Versace is a resort located in the Gold Coast, Australia. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to stay at the Palazzo Versace and immerse myself in what it had to offer, from its opulent ambiance and lavish rooms to its delectable food all savoured with the most exquisite Versace designed tableware. This review captures my impressions of the Palazzo Versace, including my thoughts on its accommodation, bars, dining, facilities, service and value.
Accommodation & Ambiance – 10/10
On first entering the Palazzo Versace, it is clear that it has been painstakingly designed to create a luxurious Italianesque feel. The lobby is made of marble and features complex mosaics that include the Versace pattern and famous Medusa. The décor of the lobby is also carefully selected and everything works very well together, such that it feels like an experience just sitting in the lobby! Often I would just sit and admire the attention to detail in the marble floor, ceiling, chandelier and furniture.
Our room was the Deluxe Suite which is a large 60m2 suite with two rooms, a bedroom with bathroom and shower and a lounge room with mini bar, a desk, dining table, lounge, mini-bar and another toilet. The room was immaculate and always extremely clean.
The Palazzo Versace had pools and access to an indoor spa area with heated pool, sauna, steam room and tea – perfect for the colder months.
Drinking – 8.5/10
Palazzo Versace has two bars, but I found myself mostly at the Le Jardin bar in the lobby. The opulent marble lobby came to life in the evenings with the rhythmic sound of a live jazz band, and as soon as the sun went down suddenly the Palazzo Versace transformed into something out of Casablanca. The whiff of whisky and the unlit Cuban cigar sitting in my front pocket was accompanied by a beautifully played double bass guitar as Greta’s smile beamed at me in the dimmed light – a magical moment in a Versace designed heaven.
Le Jardin Bar offers a wide variety of drinks and cocktails, but it proudly puts gin at the centre of its drinks menu. Palazzo Versace welcomes its guests to try its “Gin Palace”, which provides a variety of gin and gin based cocktails. Malt Mileage was lucky enough to be taken through the menu by Mixologist Tim Glasson, an extremely knowledgeable bar manager whose passion for gin is reflected in the quality and creativity of his cocktails. The first cocktail tasted was the 1798 Gin Cocktail which is a mix of Gordon’s gin, ginger syrup and orange bitters which are aged for two weeks in a five litre American oak uncharred barrel. The second cocktail tasted was the 1877 U.G.L.Y.G.F (“gin fizz”) which was made up of Beefeater 24 gin, fresh mandarin, lemonade and thyme and created for the Leukemia Foundation’s bartender of the year competition in August 2013. The third cocktail tasted was the Dunna-tell-her which was made up of Sipsmith gin, citrus, rose water, crème de violette, lavender bitters, cream and egg white.
The 1798 Gin Cocktail was an elegant cocktail with a simple but beautifully balanced entry of citrus and heavy orange with developing complex flavours on the finish. The 1877 U.G.L.Y.G.F (“gin fizz”) was light and fresh with an initial citrus burst that made it a tart temptress, ingeniously balanced by sugar on the rim of the glass. The Dunna-tell-her was our least favourite of the evening, a very sweet entry fuses with a drying nip of alcohol that leads into a floral and distinctly herbaceous finish that left me wondering whether there was simply too much going on in this confusing cocktail. Two out of three ain’t bad.
Also at Le Jardin bar I had the opportunity to indulge in whisky, cognac, rum and tequila to celebrate my birthday (and all served in the most stylish Versace glassware!). This included the Hennessy Paradis a brandy from Cognac in France ($45 per glass), Chivas Regal 25 year old a blended whisky from Scotland ($40 per glass), Olmeco Reposado a tequila from the Highlands region($11 per glass), and St James Ambre Rhum Agricole from Martinique ($12 per glass). Palazzo Versace also very kindly dug up a rum out of its reserves which was not on the menu and let me try it, the Les Heritiers Crassous de Medeuil Rhum J.M from Martinique (price unknown, compliments of Palazzo Versace). To top it all off, I enjoyed a Romeo y Julieta No 1 with a Hennessy Paradis and called it a night.
Dining – 9/10
Palazzo Versace offers a la carte dining, buffer dining and a degustation. We had the opportunity to try the degustation at Vanitas restaurant (a lovely birthday gift from Greta) and the buffet breakfast and seafood buffet at Il Barocco restaurant.
The degustation at Vanitas restaurant was so enjoyable and the evening with Greta flowed with so much laughter that I got caught in the moment. The pre-dinner cocktails from Le Jardin bar and champagne during dinner made for a boozy fun filled degustation, the intricate details of which allude me now apart from the fact that the food was superb and enjoyed with stunning Versace tableware, the conversation and laughter flowed along with the food and we left with big smiles on our faces. Luckily, I did remember to take pictures of some courses.
Il Barocco Restaurant
Much more sober than on my birthday dinner, we also tried the seafood buffet and Il Barocco Restaurant. It was delightful – fresh oysters, oysters Kilpatrick, bugs, crab, the best pork belly I have had in a long time and delicious mini desserts were the most popular items of the evening for us, and all washed down by sparkling wine.
The breakfast buffet was also very good with everything you would expect of a five star hotel’s breakfast.
Service – 9/10
The service was excellent during out stay, very attentive and polite. There were some minor issues in terms of staff not listening properly to orders (for instance I received drinks on ice when I asked for them to be “neat”) but all mistakes were quickly rectified.
Value – 6/10
Palazzo Versace is an expensive place to stay, and eat. The drinks at Le Jardin were reasonably priced in my opinion, but the cost of the food was high (particularly the pool menu).
Overall – 8.5/10
Palazzo Versace is a luxurious place to have a getaway filled with opulence and service of the highest order, but be prepared to pay for it. It is a place where the accommodation, food, drinks, service, ambiance and facilities all combine to create a hotel is that fully deserving of a star rating that should exceed five. I suppose that comes with a price, and understandably so. Until we meet again.
Palazzo Versace is now the scene of a beautiful collection of memories.