Lizard Island is arguably Australia's best-positioned island resort, ringed by the reef and fringed by 24 sandy beaches. Guests snorkel among reef fish and over a giant-clam garden within wading distance of 40 white weatherboard rooms and suites, rebuilt twice after cyclones ripped through a few years ago.
1800 837 204, lizardisland.com.au
On Hamilton Island, Qualia's 60 pavilions are teamed with fine dining, five-star service and the World Heritage wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Some pavilions have pools; all have sundecks and are positioned in bushland to capture incredible views of the Whitsundays.
20 Whitsundy Blvd, Hamilton Island, Qld,1300 780 959, qualia.com.au
QT Gold Coast
It's part boutique hotel, part Gidget movie. QT Gold Coast has it all going on: calypso-style pool with fake lawn; lobby bar Fixx laying on high tea with Champagne; and Stingray Lounge pouring 50 shades of tequila. Expect edgy art (Jennifer Steinkamp's soaring digital artwork in the lobby is a standout), curated minibars and a serious spa.
7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise, (07) 5584 1200, qtgoldcoast.com.au
The scent of change is in the air at this Noosa stalwart. That's Sofitel's house fragrance wafting through the lobby, imparting notes of rose and bergamot, just one of many Gallic touches introduced since Sofitel took over from Sheraton two years ago. There are pre-dinner "apero chic" soirées in Noosa Beach House and five new cabanas with butler service bordering the lagoon and its retro swim-up bar. On the doorstep are Hastings Street's boutiques, Main Beach and Noosa National Park.
14-16 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, (07) 5449 4888, sofitelnoosapacificresort.com.au
Spicers Clovelly Estate
Winner - Best Service 2018
The check-in routine at Clovelly Estate sets the bar high. First, a personal welcome from the manager. Then a flute of prosecco – on the lawn, in the shade of the jacaranda – while staff explain the many ways you could spend your time here: boules or a bike ride, morning yoga or afternoon spa session, and apéritifs beside the fire pit. Later, head over to The Long Apron where smart food and wine are the order of the day.
38-68 Balmoral Rd, Montville, 1300 252 380, spicersretreats.com