One of the lucky elements of my job is that I get to travel a lot and sometimes with my family. However, travelling with coeliac disease makes life more difficult. Lots of forward planning, snack preparations, calling ahead and constant (and I mean constant) double checking.

On my recent trip to the Gold Coast for a cookbook photoshoot and The Real Food Revolution, I was lucky enough to discover and experience the incredibly beautiful Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa.

From the moment I arrived I was blown away by the attention to detail from the staff. This instantly created peace of mind. While checking in though, my two girls were not helping my peace-of-mind state! On minimal sleep and out of routine, my girls decided to show everyone just how tired they were. From crash tackling each other in the foyer to screaming for a teddy bear that we left at home, my embarrassment level was growing by the second. But again, the reception staff were so lovely even offering some small chocolates to distract the girls (although I politely declined – trust me, they did not want to see a combination of tiredness and sugar!).

Once finally checked in, I took the girls for a quick walk around the property to see what we could discover – and the property didn’t disappoint. Stunning white sand pool beaches, a waterslide and even an artificial reef with tropical fish. Simply superb. On our way back to our room, we also scored a celebrity sighting. Geoffrey Rush was also staying at the resort and we could only assume he was part of filming on Pirates of the Caribbean.

Returning to our room, we discovered a parcel of gluten-free food (including wine – they must have read my mind!) and two adorable teddy bears for the girls – gifts from management. Again, attention to detail was outstanding. This resort was ticking so many boxes and I hadn’t even eaten yet!

With a crisp, cold glass of white wine in one hand, I made the best call of our stay. I called reception and asked for them to please organise a babysitter for that evening and to make a booking for three guests at their inhouse restaurant, Misono Japanese Steakhouse, as I had invited my parents to join me.

 Hands down, dining at Misono has been one of my most memorable food experiences to date. From a gluten free/coeliac perspective, the staff are well informed and educated on our needs, which was a breath of fresh air. I instantly felt comfortable and able to really enjoy the dining experience that is Misono. The food was fantastic (the scallops are AMAZING), clean, fresh, packed full of flavour and by the end of our meal, they nearly had to roll me out – I was so full! While the food was brilliant, the night’s entertainment was what really took the spotlight. What an incredible experience – you couldn’t wipe away my smile or stop my laughter! The chefs were mind-blowing good.

It has been so long since I have felt comfortable and relaxed eating out, in regards to gluten contamination. We enjoyed a really, really good night of food and entertainment – probably the best since my coeliac disease diagnosis – and to have that experience while away travelling was such a lovely surprise. I would highly recommend this restaurant to people with coeliac disease. The staff’s knowledge and appreciation for Coeliac sufferers was impressive.

To top off our stay, the following morning, the Marriott’s breakfast restaurant Citrique didn’t disappoint either. Once I told the staff member who was looking after our table of my coeliac disease, she personally walked me around the breakfast buffet pointing out my best options and also clarifying questions directly with the chefs so that I was 100 per cent comfortable with my food choices.

Overall, our stay at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa was exceptional. Even the room service menu had ample gluten-free choices. It’s clear they have taken the time to educate themselves on all things gluten free and then made it a priority to share these learnings with grateful GF guests. Thank you Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa. I will be back!

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Categories: TRAVEL.