Australia / New South Wales / Stylish Stays

Review of spaQ at QT Sydney

With its apothecary-style installation in the window, spaQ doesn’t look like your typical spa. But then the QT Sydney is not your typical hotel.

Tucked away on the mezzanine of the old Gowings department store, spaQ has the look of a 1920s shop but the feel of a high-end spa.

Review of spaQ at QT Sydney

Entrance to spaQ Sydney (image thanks to spaQ Sydney)

The treatments at spaQ are as unique as the decor and I was particularly interested to try out the ‘freshly picked’ experience – the treatment is decided on the day depending on your needs. During the time allocated before each treatment the therapist will sit down with you to work out what treatment suits you best. Having spent the morning hunched over my desk and then lugging a large handbag around the city I confessed to the pain in my neck and shoulders. The therapist recommended a thermal massage and invited me into the treatment area so she could get to work.

Before the treatment room is a darkened relaxation area where you can get into the right mind-set for your treatment. Seats covered in fluffy, black throws are provided next to reading material (hello, Collective Hub) and herbal tea. I took a few moments to relax before being invited to start my treatment.

The treatment rooms are a little unusual. With tiled walls and cracked mirrors they resemble an old barber shop (like the actual  Barber Shop which is found next door). But the décor is of no concern as the treatment has begun.

Review of spaQ at QT Sydney

spaQ reception area where treatments are freshly picked (image by spaQ Sydney)

Once I was comfy under the thick blankets the therapist returned to begin her magic. She sprayed the room with a fragrant mist, instructing me to inhale deeply and relax as she dimmed the lights for the treatment to begin.

Using a lightly scented oil by Kerstian Florian she worked her way from my feet up to the knots in my back, then worked into them using a thermal oil that tingled gently. Legs, arms, neck and (my favourite) head – all were worked into a tension-free putty.

At the end of my treatment the therapist made some recommendations for future care. She had noticed the tension in my shoulders and gave me a list of oils she said would help soothe them. She also advised I make time to use their in-house hammam, but I sadly had to get back to my desk.

(spaQ treatments include complimentary use of the Hammam-inspired steam and ice room. They suggest you factor in an additional 45 minutes to your treatment time. Used by both sexes, swimwear is a must!)

Theatrical and retro lobby at QT Sydney

Theatrical and retro lobby at QT Sydney

I did take a snoop around the hotel lobby before leaving though. I’d loved the mix of art and humour when I stayed at the QT Gold Coast but I think I like the QT Sydney even better. With installations reflecting the building’s retail and theatrical roots (the building straddles the old Gowings department store and art deco State Theatre next door), I ended up literally drooling over the vintage luggage, mannequins and old movie posters.

It’s not all retro though – the lift features the LED artwork of Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd and even tailors the music it plays according to the number of people inside. (“Just the two of us” for couples, for example.)

Vintage furniture & luggage installation at QT Sydney

Where I can get a wall like this? Vintage furniture & luggage installation at QT Sydney

spaQ is situated on the mezzanine floor at QT Sydney, the courteous and immaculately groomed staff (they have their make up done in the spa) will be able to show you the way.

Massage therapy starts from $150 for a 60 minute treatment. For more information visit the spaQ website.

Read next: 6 best boutique hotels in Sydney

About Author

I'm a full time blogger with a passion for travel and interiors. A travel blogger for 12+ years, I took a course on interior styling during the pandemic when travel was not an option. I now run 2 Instagram accounts - @jayneytravels, which covers authentic, affordable luxury escapes and @ourtravelhome which is all about decorating our new build home with a modern rustic style.


  • Lizzy
    November 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Ah this sounds amazing!

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

    • Jayne Gorman
      November 18, 2014 at 1:29 am

      It was so relaxing and unique!

  • Jackie Jones
    November 25, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Wow.. This looks really good. It’s surely very different from others. Very impressive.

  • Lucy @ The Wanderlust Scout
    November 28, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Oh me, oh my – I need to test this out! As a beauty blogger I have experienced some awesome experiences – but never ones that were as fancy as this ha! I live in Sydney so I really should head down one day… I am sold!

    Lucy x ||

    • Jayne Gorman
      November 28, 2014 at 10:04 am

      It was definitely one of the most unique spa experiences I’ve ever had – as well as being very fancy!

  • Laura
    December 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

    This looks awesome. I love it when therapists are skilled, not just at the pummelling you until you feel relaxed, but at getting the atmosphere just right. Is there anywhere like it in London you could recommend?

    • Jayne Gorman
      December 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Yes! I recently tried the spa at the Corinthia Hotel London at it was pure bliss. It’s an ESPA flagship and looks and feels like a thermal wonderland. The therapists are incredibly skilled and ask you how you are feeling in your body to work out the best treatment for you. Treat yourself to one 🙂


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