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LUXURY RESORTS:  Palmer Coolum Resort , QLD, Australia
I'm cycling along a winding path, past manicured lawns and woodland. Birds are singing, butterflies are fluttering, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and every one I pass smiles and says hello. Fade the movie - cut to real world.
Remember that Jim Carey movie, The Truman Show? The character lived in a perfect world where nobody frowned; the houses were beautiful, the gardens neat and nothing bad ever happens? It turned out to be a TV set but I've found somewhereremarkably similar. And unlike Truman, I doubt you'll want to leave.

meeting room

Actually this isn't a new find I've been sneaking off to The Hyatt Regency Coolum - now rebranded Palmer Coolum Resort-  for a few years now and it never disappoints. So what is it that makes this resort a continuing success?
It is partly due to its setting. The resort is hemmed on one side by two kilometres of pristine white Sunshine Coast beach. Woodland tracks lead down to the Pacific Ocean from the resort's own Beach Club bar and pool. On the other side of the resort is the wonder of Mount Coolum, one of those magical mountains (actually a rock - the largest after Uluru) that rise straight out of the surrounding country like the crown of a green Akubra hat.
On an early morning walk up Mount Coolum I can see the whole of the sunshine coast laid out like a green and blue mosaic. From the top Palmer Coolum Resort  is lost in green: Its 324 rooms, suites and villas dotted like white and pink sugar cubes around the championship 72 par golf course and in amongst the gardens and lush woodland.
The golf course is a huge draw and renowned golfers, like Robert Allenby and Greg Chalmers bring their families here to relax after the rigours of the Masters, to play a round in the annual PGA Championship held at Coolum each November and enjoy the serenity. The other big attraction is the spa, one of the largest in the Southern hemisphere with  endless treatment rooms, saunas and Jacuzzis, gym and yoga rooms and a private 25 metre pool. Massaged into submission you can laze around the pool while staff bring you picnic basket lunches of plump pink prawns and  champagn - now that's my kind of spa. TLTB spa aficionados will love the top of the range Diamond facial ($AUD320) or the Diamond Body Treatment ($AUD265) with crushed diamonds and micronized iron.
The party town of Noosa is only half an hour away but really once you check in there is no incentive to leave the confines of the resort .Within its vast acreage is a tennis centre, nine pools, several restaurants and a Village Square. A central hub that re-enforces the idea that you have landed in your own special Pleasantville, - a carefree town called 'holiday'. Shuttle buses like elongated golf carts purr around the resort but most people walk or ride bikes.  On two wheels I explore more possibilities:  archery, tennis, canoeing, beach fishing. In the end I choose to simply meander through the woodlands and gardens,  tinging my bell at slower strollers. Contentment settles like a shawl on my stressed workaday shoulders and in no time I find myself humming as I ride, a tune so cheerful and corny I'm glad there is no one to hear. Because despite the variety of room types  Palmer Coolum Resort never seems crowded, guests are lost in the green spaces only coming together in the square or for  fine dining gourmet moments at Eliza's restaurant.
The woodland Villas and Golf Villas offer plenty of space and cool eucalyptus green and grey woodland colours. However The Luxury Travel Bible readers will love the  privacy of the Ambassadors Club. A gated community within the already private grounds of Coolum with palatial three bedroom residences and its own tennis courts, pool and club house. The Ambassadorsresidences are currently being refurbished (and to be honest the decor is dated compared to elsewhere on the resort - 1980s flashback anyone) but should be ready to be unveiled in all their up-to-the-minute glory in June. So watch this space.
Check in: Palmer Coolum Resort, Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia QLD 4573
Ultimate Luxury:  Staying in the gated community of the Ambassadors villas
Most Indulgent Moment: Spending time in the largest spa in the southern hemisphere -at least it feels that way. Or another round of golf on the championship course, depending on your proclivities.
Insider Secrets: The smaller pools tucked around the resort can be an oasis of privacy.
The Little Things: The fact that the staff (with the exception of one we encountered in the restaurant) are all as happy as if they are on holiday too but efficient too
Junior Luxies: This resort in MADE for children. There is so much to do and an exceptionally good kids club too.
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Resorts Link: www.palmercoolumresort.com.au/
Hilary Doling, 11/5/12, updated 4/6/12
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