Despite having the feel of a sleepy fishing village, Port Douglas is anything but. The town, sitting high in the north of Australia’s Queensland, is the gateway to tourist hotspots such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Unesco-listed Daintree Rainforest. Backpackers rub shoulders here with yachty-types, sipping cold Australian wine at the waterfront marina. Flanked by seemingly endless beaches, the town’s weather is perennially warm – be sure to pack your swimmers whatever the season. Here’s our pick of the area’s best hotels.
With rooms centred around the lagoon-style pool, the Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Sap is primed for soaking up as much of the famed Queensland sunshine as possible. Rooms are a heady mix of swim-out apartments (with direct access to the aforementioned pool), spa studios with generous tubs and penthouse apartments with private rooftop terraces, complete with a Jacuzzi and barbecue.
Just steps from Four Mile Beach, Mandalay’s luxury apartments are perfectly placed for exploring Port Douglas’s most beautiful spots. They are expansive, but the beachfront options, flanked by native bush, come highly recommended. If you’re feeling active, there’s a tennis court to showcase your competitive streak before cooling off in one of the two outdoor pools.
With clear Balinese influences, from the plush outdoor day beds to the tranquil rainforest setting, a visit to Niramaya will feel as if you’re in the Indonesian hotspot itself. At this villa-only hotel, the smaller ones all come with plunge pools, while the larger four- and five-bedroom villas feature 12m swimming pools. The day spa, with its nourishing treatments and option for a rainforest yoga class, is worth a visit, too.
On the forested banks of the Mossman River, a stay at Silky Oaks Lodge allows you to immerse yourself completely in the Unesco-listed Daintree Rainforest – part of the oldest rainforest in the world (180 million years old is no short stint). The lodge’s 40 luxury accommodation options are surrounded by 74 species of mammals, 150 species of reptiles and 330 types of birds that call the rainforest home, which are best seen from the private outdoor tubs.
Sitting between Macrossan Street’s bars and eateries, Coconut Grove has an impressive vista that extends from the crystalline waters of Four Mile Beach (an easy 140m/459ft away) across to the rainforest-covered mountains. Each of the 33 three-bedroom apartments features a pale marine palette – but it’s what’s outside that counts. Opt for one of the penthouse apartments to make the most of the stunning views and to luxuriate in your private plunge pool.
While it has a swim-up bar, there’s a lot more to Oaks Resort than cocktails in the pool. Swathed in palm trees, the one- and two-bedroom apartments are minimalist, with beds dressed in white and timber headboards. When you’re not indulging in a deep-tissue massage for two in the spa, make a booking at Oak & Vine for a pared-back Aussie dinner under the stars.
Winding up a palm-fringed driveway, the first thing you’ll notice about the peach-hued Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort is its sheer size. Sitting amid tropical gardens and just back from a white-sand beach, there are 2ha (5 acres) of saltwater lagoon pools to explore and an on-site 18-hole golf course, too. Refurbished to an excellent standard in 2016, rooms are clad in neutral tones, and its marble bathrooms boast glorious deep soak tubs.