Imperial Hotel Gold Coast review

The Imperial Hotel Gold Coast is the ultimate stay for stylish families, couples and group travellers visiting Queensland’s tourism mecca. You might know this hotel by its former name, Palazzo Versace, but after 23 years, the property is having a refresh. The hotel offers a range of accommodation styles from hotel rooms to sumptuous three-bedroom condos with private pools. We love the property’s quieter location overlooking the marina and oversized lagoon swimming pool with a sand beach – perfect for young families.

Traveller: Cara Wagstaff
Room: Three-bedroom condominium with a private plunge pool
Address: 94 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217
Date: October 2023
Price range: From $350 per night
Best for: Families, groups, couples, and longer stays

imperial hotel gold coast review
The swimming pool is great for families. © Cara Wagstaff

Imperial Hotel Gold Coast background info

You probably know the Imperial Hotel by its former name, Palazzo Versace. But after 23 glam years, the fashion-branded luxury property is no more, with Versace deciding not to renew its licence to manage the sprawling five-star Gold Coast resort.

While the estate has a new name, it still pays homage to its Versace legacy, retaining iconic pieces including a 750-kilogram antique crystal chandelier in the lobby that once hung in the State Library of Milan, gifted to the resort by none other than Gianni Versace himself.

imperial hotel gold coast rolls royce
 Rolls Royce Phantoms are available for guest transfers

The first thing I notice when we arrive is two Rolls-Royce Phantoms parked at the hotel’s entrance, available for guest transfers. We sheepishly drive our rental sedan into the complimentary car park. As we walk into the lobby, I’m lost for words as I take it all in. Vaulted ceilings, white and gold columns, bespoke Italian furnishings and fresh flowers are illuminated by the sun streaming in through floor-to- ceiling windows. Outside, a sparkling blue lagoon-style pool is beckoning.

imperial hotel gold coast swimming pool
Imperial Hotel Gold Coast’s lagoon-style swimming pool © Cara Wagstaff

Gold Coast accommodation with a private pool

We check in to a three-bedroom condominium with a private plunge pool and find Versace lounges, cushions and bedheads. Dark timbers are complemented by ornate cornices, the Versace Greek key pattern, marble-textured pillars and Roman-inspired artworks.

The biggest appeal, however, is the view of the dappled marina and its luxury yachts. It gives the space a luxe feeling you won’t find at many other Australian resorts, and guests staying in condos also receive access to this private oasis. As I enter our master suite, I find more good news; our ensuite has a walk-in wardrobe, oversized spa bath, twin vanities and, in a nod to its European heritage, a bidet. The condo also comes with a kitchen, including a Miele coffee machine and laundry. Perfect for families.

lounge area imperial hotel coldo
The spacious three-bedroom condo has room for everyone

Dishes to dine for

If you’re a foodie and staying at Imperial Hotel Gold Coast on a Friday or Saturday night, you’re in luck. The hotel’s lavish Il Barocco Restaurant puts on an epic seafood buffet spread on these nights, serving up ocean-fresh Moreton Bay bugs, plump scallops, creamy oysters and all manner of succulent roast meats. As a vegetarian, I’m also pleased with the spread, which has the widest variety of salads I’ve ever seen. For lighter snacks and drinks, try the lobby bar Le Jardin. This is where guests can also indulge in a Couture High Tea featuring champagne, cocktails, barista coffee, sweet treats and tapas.

The showstopper

For an extra special treat, we book the ‘Scarlett Seduction’ bath bliss through our concierge. In essence, this entails a bath butler coming to our room while we are out and transforming the tub into a romantic haven. We pass our 16-month-old over to my mum to look after while we squeeze in a quick hour of ‘us time’, enjoying the Ruinart champagne, strawberries, marshmallow and chocolate fondue. We put on an ambient music playlist and bliss out in the steaming water for as long as we can.

V&T expert rating

8.5/10. If you’re looking for an alternative to the high-rises and busy streets of Surfers Paradise, this marina location makes for a nice change; you could spend days at the gorgeous 65-metre pool. While Versace may have officially left the building, its trademark glamour remains.

How can I book?

You can book directly on The Imperial Gold Coast website here or through booking.com, where we may earn a small commission.

Where to find Imperial Hotel Gold Coast

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This article originally appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue here.
Images supplied by Imperial Hotel Gold Coast unless specified otherwise.

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