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Published September 14th 2018
Your chance to sleep in class without the teacher waking you
School's out for summer. School's out forever', sang Alice Cooper. But wow, this place is school, but not as you remember it.
I decided to stay at a converted school building in Rockhampton, not only because it sounded a little different but because the Quality Hotel Regent had rave reviews.
Walking into my room, I let out a long, slow whistle. Imagine a room so palatial that one has to crane one's neck to look up at the soaring 16' ceilings, a king-size bed dwarfed by the sheer size of the room's dimensions, and of vast multi-paned windows (of the type you might remember from your own schooling) filling the regal room with streams of sunlight.
A room that perhaps once held 30 students was holding just little old me.
And there is something decidedly wicked about falling asleep in what was once a classroom, of standing outside the principal's office (now a boardroom) and knowing that you couldn't possibly be in trouble, or of walking past the office (now reception) and not feeling you have to sign the late book.
Source Facebook Quality Hotel Regent Rockhampton
This 49-room hotel complex includes the heritage-listed Block A of the Rockhampton Technical College that was designed by Thomas Pye and built in 1914. Pye also worked on Brisbane's Treasury Building and the Rockhampton Customs House, a building that today takes pride of place on the revitalised riverfront area which has become such an important tourist attraction for the town.
Like the Quay Street development, the fine sandstone of the Quality Hotel Regent is illuminated at night in different colours showcasing the imposing pillars.
It is a building not only at the forefront of Rockhampton's educational history but central to education and training in central Queensland. It was the home to Rockhampton Technical College, the Rockhampton High School (or I guess Rockie High to locals) and recently hosted a 60th-anniversary school reunion. It was also the birthplace of CQ University and later Central Queensland Institute of TAFE. The main building was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.
But after standing unused for a number of years, this heritage listed building now has a new lease on life having been elegantly transformed into a 4.5-star boutique hotel, with a conference centre, cafe and restaurant.
The hotel is a stunning place to stay. Looking along spacious corridors and down at the impressive staircase, I had a vision of all the boisterous young people who once thronged, jostled, and chatted with the sound of their heavy school shoes and voices echoing like claps of thunder in the vast chambers.
But these days, there is only silence as you walk along the rich, thick carpeting that muffles all sound. With the new lift, there is no need to even take the stairs. A bonus when you arrive with luggage.
The thud of school shoes has been replaced with luxurious thick carpeting. @nadinecresswellmyatt
This hotel offers a full bar and three meals a day. There is a coffee shop during the day (serving great coffee), a cocktail lounge and the restaurant is open for dinner and serves excellent steak. There is also an alfresco eating area for Rockhampton's balmy evenings.
My dinner at the Quality Hotel Regent Rockhampton and this was entree size! Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt
Perhaps because I am an ex-teacher, I was continually flabbergasted how the owners had kept the basic structure of the building, possibly for heritage reasons but thoughtfully turned it into a classy refurbishment putting a new spin on the term 'class.'
As an example, the old school toilets came up a treat. The girls' toilets certainly never looked like the photo below when I was a student or a teacher.
There are both heritage and contemporary rooms at the Quality Hotel Regent Rockhampton including the heritage 16' ceilings rooms like the one I stayed in, a heritage spa suite, a queen bed wheelchair accessible room, heritage king-size bed suites, and self-contained queen rooms with 2 singles that would be perfect for families. Some rooms even have cooking facilities.
While I only saw the heritage area, apparently If you opt to stay in a contemporary room, these are bigger than average with a modern fit out and plenty of natural light.
As a complex, the hotel offers old world charm and modern amenities. All rooms feature a minibar, 40-inch flat-screen TV with free cable channels, seating area, work desk and free WIFI.
With prices from $185 to $239, the Quality Hotel Regent offers exceptional value. For rates, click here.
You can walk to the CBD and all the exciting new innovations along the Fitzroy River. It is also close to the Great Western Hotel (est. in 1862), the only hotel in Australia to have a full-sized rodeo ring right in the centre of town. So if you are a city slicker or even a country cocky, you can see rodeos and professional bull riding twice a week. Click here