QT Newcastle Review: A Breath Of Fresh Air For The Hunter Region
— 15 November 2022

QT Newcastle Review: A Breath Of Fresh Air For The Hunter Region

— 15 November 2022
Chris Singh
WORDS BY
Chris Singh

It’s now been a few months since QT Hotels & Resorts officially entered the regional NSW market with the long-planned QT Newcastle. Off the back of renewed interest in Newcastle, most known as the entry point to the wider Hunter region, the luxury hotel arrives with a considerable degree of flair, injecting some much-needed personality into a city that’s only now starting to really pop. Read on for our full QT Newcastle review if you want our verdict on Newcastle’s second-ever five-star hotel.


QT Newcastle Review – Table Of Contents

  1. Location
  2. Design & Features
  3. Rooms
  4. Food & Drink
  5. Service
  6. Verdict & Value

Location

QT Newcastle Review: Location is perfect

QT Newcastle reforms a heritage-listed David Jones building that’s been standing stately on Hunter Street in East Newcastle for 113 years. Staying here means you’re mere minutes from just about everything worth seeing and doing in Newcastle. The breezy Queen’s Wharf and buzzy Hunter Mall are a stone’s throw and it won’t take you long to walk to some of the city’s most popular restaurants and nightclubs stipped along Darby Street. The Newcastle Museum, Hunter Street Mall and Art Gallery are also quite close, as is the spacious Foreshore Park.

Most importantly, you’re about a 15-minute walk from Nobbys Beach. Shorter if you want to settle for Newcastle Beach.

It’s a rather agnostic location, not favouring any one part of Newcastle but sticking closely to the city’s best scenes. Although Newcastle is also not a very big city anyway. So while you’re in the most ideal location, it doesn’t matter as much as it would in say Sydney or Melbourne.

The central location also means there are a number of views to choose from. Some rooms look out to Newcastle harbour while others offer different angles of the charming Gothic-revival splendour of Christ Church Cathedral perched on top of a hill. The latter is what you want if you’re after a bit of character but the harbourfront rooms easily get the lion’s share of natural light. The Clock Suite, QT Newcastle’s pinnacle offering, is the best example as by day the spacious interior is swimming in Newcastle’s best side.

That Clock Suite is also the most interesting space that QT Newcastle offers. Not just because it’s the most luxurious offering here but guests are spoiled with the circular oversized bathtub sitting right inside the building’s emblematic clock tower. Look out the window and you’re looking out of the clock face.


Design & Features

QT Newcastle Review: A lunar entrance

QT’s go-to designer, Nic Graham, has clearly learned quite a lot from working on the exceptional QT Perth, which opened a few years ago and is widely (and correctly) considered the hotel group’s best expression.

The way Graham plays around with sly and imaginative references to Newcastle’s history is inspired, bringing across a lot of colourful, muted tones that lean towards the earthy elements and work up a theatrical angle. It aligns perfectly with what Australians in search of a more flavourful staycation have come to expect from QT – eccentric, playful and loud but not obnoxious, overstated or jarring.

Graham has used the elements of earth, water and light to piece together a design language that helps distinguish QT Newcastle from the group’s other properties. Where QT Perth gets much of its character from references to Australiana, QT Newcastle tightens the brief and favours something a bit more sophisticated. In doing so, the hotel strips away some of the personality so integral to the likes of QT Sydney and QT Melbourne but makes up for it on a few occasions.

One such occasion is the entrance. While QT clearly had a lack of space to play around with, only managing to pull out a relatively cramped reception area, the pivotal moment is the ceiling as soon you’re ushered through the street-level entrance.

Look up and you’ll see an oversized 3D-printed moon peeking from a half-covered gold cylinder. It’s the kind of bread-and-butter pop of eclecticism QT has established over the years and adds a lot of visual punch to an otherwise standard entry, elevated even further by works from Sydney artist Ryan Hoffman.

Contactless check-in kiosks lead up guest elevators, but the lobby is more than just its reception area. This is where Scott’s, the hotel’s cafe and bar, stretches around with plenty of seating for casual coffee sessions and quick cafe-style meals or nightcaps. Keep walking and you’d end up in the signature Jana where Italian chef Massimo Speroni is staging a revelatory showcase of the region’s best produce.

There’s a rooftop bar as well. The Japanese-leaning open-air stunner takes the lunar theme a bit further with no less than 170 moons suspended from the ceiling. Here lies Newcastle’s largest collection of Japanese whisky, best taken outside where that 180-degree vista over the harbour comes into play.


Rooms

You don’t really get a sense of how effective QT Newcastle’s colour palette is until you get to the rooms. My QT Deluxe King was a show-stopper as far as aesthetic goes – not garishly overdone and theatrical but tasteful with its charcoal floorboards and brushed copper side tables.

The emerald green tiles and bright throws add a lot of punch when taken with the features – an elevated mini bar under the flat screen TV with local drops and Hunter Valley wine, an inviting freestanding tub and – thanks to a recent hotel-wide partnership with Dyson – high-end Dyson hairdryers in every room including air purifiers on request.

Owing to the design of the building, no two rooms are the same across the hotel’s nine floors. There are eight different room configurations, maxing out with the 35-square-metre Clock Suite.

The designers have done a respectable job here, curating QT Newcastle’s rooms in a way that doesn’t stray from the flavour of modern designer hotels like W Brisbane and QT Melbourne but still has enough of its own identity. It’s not a completely unique approach in 2022, but a perfectly comfortable one.

I didn’t order room service but that’s handled by Jana, so I’d imagine it’s hard to be disappointed with what’s on offer.


Food & Drink

Newcastle’s spread of restaurants, while improved over the past few years, is still lacking considerably when it comes to modern dining. QT Newcastle’s signature restaurant Jana looks to add something a bit more refined for guests and locals and from the produce Speroni is using, there’s little doubt of the kitchen’s success.

Speroni has, after all, cut his teeth in some Michelin-starred kitchens before so it’s a great choice to put place him in the centre of some of the state’s best produce and watch him whip up dishes like raw coral prawn tagliolini and Puraka Estate lamb backstrap with black garlic jus, potato and wattleseed.

His dining room, especially the spacious private one, is beautifully designed and, even though it’s essentially part of the lobby, has its own clear identity. It doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant, which should be an easy win amongst locals as QT Newcastle vaults over its first few months of operation.

The Rooftop is where the hotel is at its most charming, particularly when those aforementioned ceiling moons come alive after sunset. The bar menu here is short, sweet and distinctly Japanese while the whisky selection is on par with some of the better cocktail bars I’ve been to in Sydney and Melbourne. For Newcastle, it’s an important validation of the city’s changes although runs the risk of alienating some of the more late-night dwellers given it closes at 10 PM most nights.


Service

All those QT touchpoints are here. The aptly named Directors of Chaos run around in sightly Romance Was Born frocks and help keep the brand’s unique identity alive while the rest of the team are all polite, incredibly efficient and, most importantly, unobtrusive. There’s a real sense that you’re a guest and not a number here, which is the benchmark I use when judging hospitality.


Verdict & Value

You’re looking at rates starting from $319 a night at QT Newcastle. That’s well above what you’d be paying in Newcastle usually and slightly more expensive than the city’s other five-star hotel, Crystalbrook Kingsley. And yet it’s a good starting rate for what’s on offer here, presenting a luxury hotel with a heavy dose of personality and two excellent dining options.

Property amenities may be lacking. There’s no pool to speak of as well as, surprisingly, no gym and the spa so central to the offering at QT Sydney is sadly not a thing here. However, what you get in terms of comfort, service and convenience is worth the investment if you’re in the market for a bit of a luxury stay on the doorstep of the Hunter Valley.


QT Newcastle

Address: 185 Hunter Street, Newcastle NSW 2300
Contact: +61 2 6396 4000

Rates start from $319 per night.

QT Newcastle Review – Frequently Asked Questions

Is QT Newcastle open?

QT Newcastle is now open, with the five-star hotel launching in June 2022.

How much is a night at QT Newcastle?

Rates at QT Newcastle start at around $319 per night.

Is QT Newcastle a good hotel?

QT Newcastle is an excellent luxury hotel and a breath of fresh air for Newcastle.

Chris Singh
WORDS by
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.

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