Fit for a king - The Sunday Mail, February 17, 2007

IF YOU'VE ever dreamed of dwelling in marble halls, the Angkasa at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast is the place for you, for there's enough travertine marble on the walls and floors to provide ballast for the entire First Fleet.
And that's just the beginning. The luxury holiday property has bathrooms fit for Cleopatra, beds and bedding that would be good enough for Paris Hilton, and unlimited broadband access, if you must bring your laptop.

I took mine but, in spite of the best intentions to catch up on work, I didn't even unzip the carry case because the sheer luxury of this place sank deep into my soul. For the first 24 hours, we didn't move outside the front door.

Mind you, some of that time was spent working out the intricate electronic light switches and the little icons to turn on the water for the water-wall front door.
And we had to work out how to get Spicks and Specks on the flash satellite television in the Ocean View Suite, which ended up with three of us, including a seven-months-pregnant woman, on our knees praying in front of it – which eventually had an effect. Later I made a comment about this to the owner, and he promised to supply a more detailed sheet for the technologically challenged.

During our stay, TV viewing had to be a solitary or dual event because each suite had its own set but there were none in any of the vast communal areas. How many people can squeeze into a king-sized bed, especially if one is heavily pregnant?
Management is looking at these teething problems. I couldn't work out how to work the flash espresso machine either, but let's just put it down to laziness.

After the first day we tended to skip breakfast and whip down to Coolum for a leisurely brunch at the surf club, which has the best views of the famous beach, serves excellent coffee and also has a decent menu.
Some desultory shopping, a failed attempt to revive our body-surfing skills, and a quiet walk along the beach and a paddle in the rock pools were quite enough for a morning and we were always ready to go back to our paradise on Earth.
My admittedly limited research revealed that Angkasa is a planetary term used by the National Space Agency of Malaysia, and the other thing the Angkasa has going for it is the view of the sky.

On the second level, home to most of the communal living spaces, there's an outdoor balcony bigger than three large rooms.
The area is perfect for parties and, if there are only two of you, for luxury star-gazing from the day beds in one corner.
The first night we took our after-dinner bottle of wine out there and wished we knew something about the Aboriginal names for the constellations.
We refused to feed the greedy kookaburras that congregated on the wall until they sulked off to bed, and fell asleep in the warm night until we were woken by the morning light. It was a lovely way to spend the night but for once only. The king-sized bed with its pure Egyptian cotton sheets and eight pillows was too tempting. But then so is the whole of Angkasa.
One temptation was to keep the water-wall running all day and take photographs of ourselves against it, but we thought of the drought and switched it on only for 10 minutes at a time. Another was to see if we could catch any of the goldfish in our bare hands, but it was much better fun to feed them with titbits and see them scurry under the various walkways across their extensive water gallery.
But there was no hesitation about using the heated, infinity-edge plunge pool and waterfall (said to fit eight in its triangular shape).
The rest of the time we lazed around, read a lot (there's a pretty good library hidden away in one of the Balinese cabinets), played with the appliances, watched respectable videos on the plasma screen, admired the impressive array of cutlery and crockery, and probably drank far more than was good for us.
On the other hand, we weren't doing any driving, so what did it matter? And there were always the soothing hands of Sara the masseur, who is available not quite on demand, but can be booked, to get rid of most of the toxins.

If you are particularly rich and particularly lazy, you don't even have to take your own supplies, for they will, again by prior arrangement, stock up the refrigerator and pantry with anything you want, and even arrange a chef to come in and cook your meals.

The Angkasa is, as it claims, pure understated luxury, and I can't think of a more wonderful place for a group of friends to go for a holiday.
Prices (from $3000 to $3800 for three nights or $6000 to $8500 for seven nights, depending on season) make you gulp, but if there are eight of you and you stay a week, it can work out at $107 a head each night.
It's too low to have ocean views from every window and balcony, but there are some, and it's set in lush rainforest, which should keep most people happy.
And for really stunning views of the beach, just walk across the road and settle down on the benches overlooking the Point Arkwright bays.


Getaway Feature Short video presentation

The Sydney Magazine " Coolum Luxe. "

Vogue " The Serene aesthetic of South east Asia....."

Queensland Home Magazine " Coolum Cool "

Qantas " A New Sunshine Coast retreat in an Asian-Inspired Mansion....."

The Australian

The Sunday Mail " Lap up Star Treatment at resort fit for a King "

Sunday Telegraph " The big chill-out "

Sunday Mail, escape " ...ever dreamed of dwelling in marble halls..."