Finally, some high-end accommodation at Kirra.
It's apartment living, so no daily service.
Nirvana by the Sea, Kirra Beach, Coolangatta.
Coolangatta occasionally gets an unfair rap, but its nightlife seems to have settled down of late, and the shopping strip is a lovely walk during the day. It's difficult not to stop for at least an ice-cream. Kirra Beach has been home to the Australian Surf Life Saving championships and is one of the widest stretches of sand on the Gold Coast. Its waves are popular among surfers who make use of the north-facing break which has returned to its most challenging best thanks to a Gold Coast City project to move hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand. For those handy on the board, this is where world champions Mick Fanning, and before him Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, cut their teeth.
Nirvana by the Sea has two pools and one of the best common areas around. It's called the executive lounge and has comfortable seating, a couple of televisions, an adequate library and a pool table. There are two pools, including a 25-metre lap pool which overlooks Coolangatta. A spa, small gym and barbecue facilities round out the regular options, but there's also a "gold star" theatre room that needs to be booked in advance. The design has been thought through here, but importantly it's being immaculately maintained.
There's a four-bedroom penthouse at about $1200 a night which is quite special with ceiling-to-floor glass posing some spectacular views. But the two-bedroom option is more realistic for most. It's got all the mod-cons, fully equipped kitchen, balcony, Foxtel, washing machine and dryer, ducted airconditioning and internet. The difference is in the class of furniture and appliances (Miele) and, of course, the view onto one of the world's most well-known stretches of beach, albeit from the south rather than the more-photographed northern aspect. The bath has a glass wall separating it from the bedroom. It's a relaxing treat.
On the ground level, there are a couple of apartments with their own private pool, but it's worth noting that people in the higher units can all look down on the "private" dip. The bigger, heated community pool is probably a better option.
There are plenty of food options. And while it's probably still possible to find a corner store which wraps its fish 'n' chips in butchers' paper, there are also some finer dining establishments. Bellakai and Cafe Dbar are two which have gained reasonable reputations. Kirra Surf Club still does a fair meal, and there are some food chains along the strip at Coolangatta. Word has it Twin Towns still offers a bargain, subsidised by the mountain of pokies.
Locals have loved visiting Kirra for years. They argue it's a little quieter than the northern end of the Gold Coast where Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach have a stranglehold on the bulk of the tourism market. That, of course, is changing. And while a stay at Kirra is mostly about the beach, there are some shops, including the arcade at Coolangatta which has undergone a recent revamp. Be sure to take a stroll along the boardwalk from the hotel to the main strip. The drive is OK, but the walk is better.
Kirra was once known to locals as the older end of the coast, full of surfers and the unemployed – not necessarily the same people, of course. The surfers are still there, and if you're going to be unemployed, it's probably a pretty good option. But there comes a time when the developers realise they're onto a good thing, and as a result the area is undergoing a fancy facelift. Nirvana by the Sea is a significant part of that, as are the surrounding shopping and dining options.
Nirvana by the Sea, 1 Douglas Street, Kirra Beach, Coolangatta. High-end family-sized apartments are from $475 a night on the property's own site, but via deal sites the price is almost half that for off-peak dates. Phone (07) 5506 5555, see nirvanabythesea.com.au.
Simon Holt was a guest of Nirvana by the Sea.