| BNE September/October 2016
the GPT Group, developers
who own much of the city
centre, Bliss Cavanagh’s
Studio Bliss sells a variety of
calming objects such as furry
delights, weighted blankets
and cushions that help with
sleep problems. Cavanagh has
used her art-making to come
to terms with her own Tourette Syndrome and
has created an Elysium Sensory Art Room for
anybody who feels like a break from the outside
world. Commissions for art installations with
therapeutic benefits have followed.
Opposite, The Art Project is run by Andrew
Davies, who started with Renew in 2014 with a
gallery of his paintings and a studio. He runs art
classes for kids from infant and primary school
age and has just started to tutor high school
students. “It’s like an art club,” he says.
Later as I walk past the former Star Hotel near
the Art Gallery, I remember the words of the
Cold Chisel song about the riot that broke out
during the pub’s last night in 1979 just as local
band The Heroes were finishing their set. It was
a wild town in those days, according to artist
John Morris, who, as an art student, was there
that night. Drag queens, gays and transsexuals
mixed easily with students, surfies and merchant
seamen, he tells me, explaining surf culture has
always been big here.
I’m staying at the once notorious hotel where
Morris and other artists had upstairs studios in
the 1980s when it was known as The Lucky
Country. It re-opened in 2014 as The Lucky
Hotel after a major refurbishment by well-known
hospitality family, the McCloys.
Starting life as the Bank Hotel in 1861, it
now features old black and white photos lining
the corridors, a drum-kit chandelier and quotes
about luck on the walls of each guest room. A
free monthly courtyard cinema is popular with
locals, held in the restaurant.
“We wanted to create a different feel, mix the
old and new and pay tribute to its rich history,”
Blake McCloy, co-director with her sister, Hayley,
The new mood extends to the night-life scene.
Craft beer is big but classic whiskeys and spirits
The Lucky Hotel
“We wanted to mix the
old and the new and pay
tribute to its rich history”
Surfers Paradise’s newest attraction!