It's always summer at Loea, the made-over Maroochydore motel that has been finding its way onto hundreds of Instagram feeds. Laid-back to the hilt, here is a place where guests check in at a vintage milk van lovingly reimagined as a reception-come-food truck. Sun-bleached decking, white-washed walls and understated rattan furniture further make the Loea experience a masterclass in coastal cool. Directly across from the glistening Maroochy river, glide around town on an old school cruiser bike, take a dip in the magnesium pool, or settle in for a nightcap under the courtyard’s twinkling fairy lights where lush Queensland palms sway to a soundtrack of Balearic beats.
10am, but flexible, subject to availability and a $40 charge. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £106.22 (AU$203), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rate’s don’t include breakfast, but guests can fill up on photo-worthy brunch boxes made to order from the equally photo-worthy food truck.
Australia has its fair share of supermodels, from Elle Macpherson to Miranda Kerr; join their ranks and book out the grounds for your own private photoshoot.
At the hotel
Free bike hire, Wifi throughout, magnesium pool, landscaped courtyard and vintage food truck. In rooms: Smart TV with Netflix, Saya bath products, tea- and coffee-making facilities with Moccona coffee and Twinings tea, ceiling fans and minibar.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms are alike, with whitewashed walls, locally produced rattan furniture, brushed brass tapware and gorgeous earthy linens. But for a little extra space, opt for the Deluxe King Room with Private Courtyard Garden, the largest on site.
Out on the palm-flanked deck, the teardrop pool is surrounded by white loungers and fringed parasols. It’s magnesium, too, so you can ease those weary muscles, cocktail in hand.
Loea partners with nearby Tank Bathhouse. Choose from deep tissue massages and botanical facials or spend a detoxifying afternoon hopping between the steam room, sauna and three tank baths of varying, restorative ingredients. What’s more, Smith members will receive $40 to spend on a treatment of their choice.
Why suncream of course – they don’t call it the Sunshine Coast for nothing.
Loea is fairly accessible, with all its rooms on the ground-floor.
Welcome, though not particularly catered for. There’s no capacity for extra beds, so if you’re travelling with little ones, opt for the Standard Twin Room or Family Room for a more spacious stay.
You won’t find any single use plastics at Loea, with a strictly paper approach to slurping up iced coffees and guzzling fruit smoothies. The hotel encourages sustainable living through small but noble gestures like these, with organic bath and cleaning products as well as fabrics.
Take a pew on Loea’s lovely lawn, with wide, woven chairs for a tipple or two under light-strung palms.
Opt for easy-breezy riverside rig-outs; airy cover-ups, straw hats and a trusty pair of Havaianas.
While there isn’t a restaurant as such, the vintage food truck offers a range of made-to-order grazing boxes that are almost too pretty to eat. These edible artworks made by local caterers Gather by Bonnie are carefully curated using the best sustainably sourced ingredients on the Sunshine Coast. Go gourmet with artisan biscuits, local cheeses, herbed feta balls, olives, mild and hot Sopressa, nuts and quince paste or fully indulge your sweet tooth with the dessert box of tarts and cakes, Maleny melting moments, chocolate bark, donuts and seasonal fruit. And like any hipster hotspot worth its stripes, vegans and veggies are well looked after.
Truly a one-stop shop, the food truck offers a selection of wines, beers and spirits, as well as a list of classic and not-so-classic cocktails, including the sumptuous, signature Loea Sunset.
Loea’s signature food truck serves hungry patrons weekdays from 7am to 8pm (with a siesta between 10am and 2pm) and from 7am to 8pm weekends, subject to demand.
Sandwiched between the Maroochy River and a string of golden beaches, this boutique escape lies just off the Sunshine Motorway between the town of Noosa to the north and bustling Brisbane to the south.
If you’re already down under, hop on a domestic flight straight to Maroochydore’s Sunshine Coast Airport, just a seven minute drive from the hotel. International travellers are better served by Brisbane Airport, one-hour-twenty south of Loea. Flights here arrive from Asia, the Middle East, South Pacific and New Zealand.
Nambour station is a 15-minute drive from the hotel, where Queensland Rail operates regular services throughout the region.
Cars come in handy for impromptu excursions; hiking and biking the parks of Noosa, say, or catching a break on Maroochydore beach. Best of all, parking is directly in front of your room – how about that for convenience?
Arriving by Yacht? Anchor up at Mooloolaba Marina with 265 wet berths, round-the-clock access to onshore amenities and, best of all, just 100m from the beach.
Worth getting out of bed for
While Maroochydore may be a suburb, its offerings are far from suburban, especially when it comes to provisions. A saunter down Ocean Street will reveal that this is one place whose sun-kissed fingers lie firmly on the gastronomic pulse. Though, with more bars and restaurants than it’s advisable to try – at least not in one go – you’ll be glad to learn that there are plenty of outdoor pursuits to balance it all out. The Maroochy River is home to a number of activities both in and out of the water; try your hand at kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and riverside Pilates at Plaza Pontoon, or catch-and-release fishing over at Barra Fishing Park. Little Smith’s will enjoy what can only be described as a complex of floating bouncy castles over at Bli Bli AquaPark, while adults can turn some laps on Maroochy River Jetski Hire’s freestyle circuit. Scale Mount Coolum at sunrise for some coastal vistas, or take up swinging (no, not that kind) at the Maroochy River Golf Club. But if peeling yourself away from your poolside perch seems a tad too ambitious, we totally understand.
Sophistication comes naturally to Pier 33, a must for seafood lovers perched at the edge of Mooloolaba Marina, with moored fishing trawlers visible from its whitewashed dining terrace. Start with Tasmanian oysters in a shallot vinaigrette, before tucking into a Mooloolaba swordfish steak with panzanella salad, pistachio and Persian feta. For elevated European fare, the loved-by-locals Market Place Bistro runs a menu of finely tuned classics; choose from scallop crudo risotto cooked in preserved lemon, baked snapper with burnt butter, capers and flaked almonds, or a helping of good, old-fashioned tiramisu.
The interiors of Criminal Coffee Co. are almost as smooth as its roasts with a dusty pink espresso bar, olive subway tiles, polished concrete and exposed brick. Serving eco-conscious caffeine hits, they’re Australia's first zero waste coffee company. They do a mean toastie, too. A stroll further inland will bring you to Little Sisters Coffee Co. which allows for a spot of vintage shopping alongside speciality brews.
Good vibes abound along Maroochydore’s Ocean Street, where bar-hopping is a prized pastime. Among the most notable establishments there’s Elixiba, a Gaudi-esque joint where self-proclaimed herbal alchemists concoct a number of boozy plant-based potions tailored to your mood. For something a little more cosmopolitan, the Rooftop Bar and Garden is a seven-storey sun trap with a retractable roof, sleek design and an even sleeker wine list.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this insta-famous boutique hotel in the Sunshine Coast and unpacked their flip-flops and dog-eared holiday reads, a full account of their palm-flanked break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Loea in Maroochydore…
In 2019, Brit developer couple Andrew and Lucy Pink decided to throw all their earthly possessions into a suitcase and hop onto a plane Down Under. Fast forward twelve months and they’d transformed a down-and-out 37 year old motel into a contemporary hipster hangout: Loea. All white everything, the ten rooms of this nonchalant newcomer are elegantly appointed and refreshingly minimal, peppered with gorgeous linen, rattan furniture and plants. Outside, a vintage milk van has been reappointed as a food-truck-come-bar-come-reception. Collect your keys and a cocktail? Yes please. Understandably, the picturesque grounds have earned themselves quite a reputation, with influencers flocking from far and wide to pose, poolside, under the fringed parasols or mid-dip in the magnesium pool. True to style, the hotel has old-school cruiser bikes to borrow, and there’s plenty to explore from the neighbouring Maroochy River and the region’s famed golden beaches. We don’t know about you, but while the northern hemisphere freezes over, we know where we’d rather be.