The Best Beach Hotels to Book near Brisbane

Tangalooma Island Resort is set on an island a 75-minute boat ride from Brisbane and offers a unique nature-based experience
Tangalooma Island Resort is set on an island a 75-minute boat ride from Brisbane and offers a unique nature-based experience | © Tangalooma Island Resort / Expedia
Photo of Jennifer Johnston
2 November 2021

When summer arrives in the southeast of Queensland, the months of December, January and February are notoriously hot. As the temperature rises and the humidity kicks in, everyone heads to the sea. With long stretches of golden beaches to the north and south of Brisbane, and many islands to the east, Brisbane is the centre point for leaping into all things sandy. We know the best Brisbane beach hotels to choose – and they’re bookable on Culture Trip.

The Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach, for its beachfront setting

Swimming pool at the Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach hotel
© The Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach / Expedia

How handy is this place, just a 40-minute drive from the CBD and not even half an hour from Brisbane Airport? The Sebel has a superb beachfront setting overlooking Moreton Bay, and staying here means quiet seclusion in a popular seaside community. Sandy beaches, boardwalks and cute cafes enhance the leisurely, laid-back feel of the place, hence its appeal for families. The hotel has much to recommend it, not least a rooftop bar and pool. Top tip: ask for an oceanfront room for unforgettable views over Moreton Bay.

The Manly Hotel, for views on a budget

Room at the Manly Hotel
© The Manly Hotel / Expedia

Right in the thick of Manly Harbour Village, the family-owned Manly Hotel, near Brisbane, has occupied its harbourside location for decades, and has a solid fan base. With two bars, a bistro, a chattery beer garden and a sporting lounge popular with locals, this beach hotel is a no-brainer for holidaymakers on a budget. There are 18 rooms – ask for one with a balcony for views over beautiful Moreton Bay – and when you’re relaxed and refreshed, aim to walk to Manly Yacht Club, where boat lovers gaze longingly at the glinting vessels moored in the marina.

On the Beach Resort Bribie Island, for island luxury

Room at On the Beach Resort Bribie Island
© On the Beach Resort Bribie Island /

Peaceful Bribie Island is 70km (43mi) north of the CBD. In just over 60 minutes’ drive from the heart of the city you’ll be walking the white sands of Woorim Beach on the eastern side of Bribie. Calling all 4WD lovers: Bribie has access to over 30km (19mi) of open beaches where 4WDs are permitted. Take in the open ocean views all day long in one of the luxury two-bedroom beachfront suites – these are filled with light that pours through the full-length windows, and as pale and coastal-cool as the sands themselves. We’d opt for the three-bedroom beachfront accommodation every time.

Ocean Views Resort Caloundra, for car-free breaks

Terrace at Ocean Views Resort Caloundra
© Ocean Views Resort Caloundra / Expedia

Caloundra is a 90-minute drive from Brisbane, and Ocean Views Resort is a good-looking affair, with standard and superior rooms upholstered in jaunty white and kingfisher-blue or coral-pink. The podium-level pool is a winner, and steaks at the Three Bar and Grill never disappoint. You won’t need a car here, as everything is within walking distance. At nearby Bulcock Beach – 400m (a quarter of a mile) from the resort – are walking paths linking to other popular Caloundra beaches, notably Kings Beach and Moffat Beach. Bulcock is a waveless beach with a strong current, but lifeguards patrol daily.

Anchorage on Straddie, for a tropical island paradise

Swimming pool at the Anchorage on Straddie hotel
© Anchorage on Straddie / Expedia

North Stradbroke Island is a tropical island paradise blessed with wide-open beaches to explore. It’s accessible only by boat, and ferries depart from Cleveland on the bayside. The journey takes about 45 minutes if you’re taking your car on the car ferry, or 20 minutes by water taxi. The Anchorage beachfront resort is the only resort on the island with direct beach access, via Home Beach. With headlands at both ends, this is the most protected beach on Straddie.

Tangalooma Island Resort, for a unique stay within landscaped gardens

Swimming pool at the Tangalooma Island Resort
Tangalooma Island Resort is set on an island a 75-minute boat ride from Brisbane and offers a unique nature-based experience | © Tangalooma Island Resort / Expedia

Perfect for couples and families seeking a unique nature-based experience, Moreton Island is the third-largest sand island in the world, and a national park. Catch the ferry departing from Pinkenba Wharf, and arrive 90 minutes later in luscious landscaped gardens at the Tangalooma Island Resort jetty. There’s a spread of uncluttered beachfront accommodation, including hotel rooms, units, villas and apartments. Don’t miss the sunset wild dolphin feeding run by the Marine Education centre.

Manly Marina Cove Motel, for snazzy interiors

Room at Manly Marina Cove Motel
© Manly Marina Cove Motel / Expedia

Escape to Manly, a seaside community around 40 minutes from the CBD. Here you’ll find Manly Marina Cove Motel, a four-star motel in the grounds of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, next to Moreton Bay. We can’t fault the snazzy, bright interiors in the rooms and suites, splashed with sunshine colours and jaunty marine art. Ocean lovers should head out to drool over the vessels in the marina. Otherwise, take a short stroll to the local precinct, Manly Harbour Village and Wynnum Esplanade.

QT Hotel Gold Coast, for white sand and private cabanas

Lounge area at the QT Hotel Gold Coast
© QT Hotel Gold Coast / Expedia

Swap big-city rattle and thrum for the whispering of waves on the beach at the QT Hotel Gold Coast. An hour’s drive south of Brisbane down the Pacific Highway, it’s a right rollicking retreat where you can book your own private cabana near the pool and while away the hours. Friendly hotel staff will bring drinks, snacks and even sunscreen if you need it. Rooms and suites are bright, striped and nautically nice, with custard-yellow injections from lamps and stools. Wander across the road to the Surfers Paradise Beach for an ocean swim, or stroll along the long stretch of white sand. Hungry? Back at the ranch, order delicious Japanese cuisine at the hotel restaurant, Yamagen.

Looking for Brisbane boltholes in the city? Our guides to the city’s top hotels, romantic stays and best hostels has your vacation needs covered – all bookable on Culture Trip.

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