A landmark well known to Noosa aficionados in its former salmon-pink incarnation, the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort has been updated with a cool white exterior, smart foyer and Mediterranean-inspired striped umbrellas by the pool. The brand's French origins are emphasised throughout, with a focus on wellness, food and wine; some very chic uniforms reminiscent of an Air France flight attendant and an (occasionally incongruous) greeting of "Bonjour" from all staff.
At the risk of sounding like a real-estate agent, it's all about the location. Smack bang on Hastings Street, just across from the main beach and a short walk to the national park, the Sofitel is mere steps to shopping, eating out, surfing or bush-walking. The ferry along the river to Noosa Sound and Noosaville stops at the back of the hotel while Sunshine Beach, Noosa Junction and the farmers' market are a short taxi ride away.
This is not a state-of-the-art design hotel but it's comfortable and spacious. For many, including this sand-phobic, the main attraction is its large swimming pool with swim-up bar and pool service. There are also many inhouse facilities including the Aqua day spa, a wine shop, the popular Beach House restaurant and bar, which opens on to Hastings Street, and the quieter and (IMHO) more appealing Riviera Bar overlooking the Noosa River.
Our top-floor, two-bedroom suite has a lounge area; kitchenette with espresso machine, fridge and microwave, and balcony overlooking the pool and ocean beyond. The generous bathroom includes a spa bath with river views, while the beds are supremely siesta-inducing. Best of all, there is a sixth sense among the super-friendly staff as to when we go out for breakfast or brunch and without fail during a week-long stay we return to a freshly serviced room.
Peter Kuruvita is the flagship chef here, not only in charge of the menu at the Beach House restaurant but eminently watchable on the in-room videos. Breakfast and lunch are both served but dinner is the highlight – don't miss the Noosa spanner crab entree and Peter's signature Sri Lankan snapper curry for main. Meanwhile, the pool bar food is definitely a step up from the average; try an Aperol spritz followed by a Nicoise salad made with local yellowfin tuna.
Everything is on your doorstep. While beautiful Noosa beach is a given, don't miss the spectacular national park (look out for koalas and kookaburras) with its myriad coves and swimming spots. There's good shopping including Bow & Arrow, Alterior Motif, Orlebar Brown and a brand new boutique from local brand wYse; plus the plethora of restaurants for which Noosa is renowned. Try stalwart Aromas for brunch, Locale for buzzy Italian and current hotspot Sum Yung Guys at Sunshine Beach for flavour-packed mod-Asian.
As a base for families or groups, the Sofitel is hard to beat. We lounge by the pool with a book while our teenagers meet friends at the beach and walk to Betty's for burgers or Massimo's for ice-cream.
The room rates are not cheap, but being perfectly positioned in the heart of the action means you don't need to hire a car and everyone can come and go as they please, making it the easiest and most relaxing of holidays.
Rooms start from $349 a night. 14-16 Hastings St, Noosa Heads. Phone (07) 5449 4888. See sofitelnoosapacificresort.com.au
Trudi Jenkins was a guest of Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort.
The hotel staff are some of the cheeriest we've encountered
Slightly dated rooms and a lack of storage space in the second bedroom