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White Shells Marcoola Beach: Weekend away

TIME : 2-26 17:44:29

HIGHLIGHT

Rooms with a private rooftop spa overlooking the ocean. 

LOWLIGHT

It's still a fair hike to find shopping beyond the basic.

THE PLACE 

White Shells Apartments, Marcoola Beach.

THE LOCATION 

Marcoola Beach used to be a bit of a dead zone between Maroochydore and Coolum, just north of the airport. The beaches were nice, but nobody really knew about them. Twin Waters came along about 20 years ago, then Mudjimba and Marcoola started to flourish. It's still a quieter part of the Sunshine Coast, but that's why people visit. Those who want the bright lights and nightclub scene tend to make tracks south to the Gold Coast. The beauty of somewhere like Marcoola is that most things are relatively new. The walking paths and bike tracks, the streets and the accommodation are all some of the schmickest on the coast.

THE SPACE  

White Shells Apartments is a mix of holiday-goers and tenants which means the pool space on the roof is under-utilised. Also, 23 of the luxury units have either their own plunge pool or rooftop spa which negates the need to look for communal facilities. That's great news for visitors. The main pool and two spas are on the rooftop and overlook clear views to Mount Coolum one way and the Pacific Ocean the other. Pack up the sunscreen and throw a sandwich into the cooler. It's a stunning way to spend an afternoon in peace, quiet and mass tranquillity.

THE ROOM 

Most apartment rooms start to look the same after a while. Walk in the front door, and there's a kitchen to the right, dining table in front, and a lounge chair facing a television. Luxury units are competing heavily for loyal traffic, so a place like White Shells is spotless, kitchen utensils clean, and a bath overlooking the bedroom makes the amenities all that much more inviting. That in itself is a point of difference, but White Shells has a few things extra, including a barbecue on the balcony, and a spa upstairs which is accessible via a private winding staircase. From there, it's possible to while away hours overlooking the ocean. If there's one slight drawback it's that the spas are not entirely private. Fences are made with slats, so be prepared to wave to the neighbours if and when they arrive.

THE FOOD 

While the area might be quiet, that doesn't mean it's without options. Nearby the resort, Cucina Al Mare offers an Italian a la carte menu with some hearty nightly specials which depend on available fresh produce. Marcoola Surf Club is also within walking distance and has daily lunch and dinner, with breakfast on Sundays. They do steaks and other bistro-style meals, including a variety of fresh seafood. Be careful though, there's only a two-hour window for the kitchen at night, open 6pm-8pm.

STEPPING OUT

The tranquillity of Marcoola is all about taking things easy. The beachfront walk is as good as any and is the most impressive local attraction. If your stay is extended beyond the weekend, it's worth a trip into Maroochydore for some shopping, or further afield to either Noosa in the north or Mooloolaba in the south. There will be a few more people around, but also a few more options for a nice lunch.

THE VERDICT

White Shells Apartments are top shelf modern design and luxury is the key consideration. From the bath overlooking the bedroom to the rooftop spa or private pool, it's a great place to do not very much at all. The walking tracks are well worth the time, and the surf beach is equal to any throughout Australia. The area isn't traditionally well known, but it is certainly growing in popularity among people from Brisbane who are trying to escape the city hustle. A weekend is nice, but it's really the sort of place which is worth spending an extended break.

ESSENTIALS

White Shells Apartments, 2 Seaward Lane, Marcoola Beach. Two-bedroom apartments with private spa start at around $300, but average $375. There are deals for three- and five-night stays. Phone 5458 8400, see www.whiteshellsluxuryapartments.com.au.

  • The writer was a guest of White Shells Apartments.