The Best Hotels and Vacation Rentals to Book in Airlie Beach, Queensland

Spend a little time enjoying the brilliantly blue ocean of Airlie Beach
Spend a little time enjoying the brilliantly blue ocean of Airlie Beach | © Anniko Kevin / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Richard Bradbury
24 November 2021

Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. But, before you rush off, take time to enjoy the resorts and apartments sprinkled among the trees or next to the perfectly blue ocean. Charter a boat from the local marina to explore the nearby islands – or simply lie back and play a game of “How much do you reckon that boat’s worth?!” You might hire a jet ski for a guided adventure tour, take a BYO sunset cruise with your mates, or walk the hinterland trails. It’s all here, and you can book the perfect place to stay from the list below with Culture Trip.

Club Wyndham, where it’s all delivered

The condo-style modern apartments of Club Wyndham set on a green hillside
Courtesy of Club Wyndham / Expedia

You’ll feel on top of the world as you catch the breeze on your balcony while overlooking the ocean. These one-, two- and three-bedroom condo-style modern apartments have spacious living rooms and full kitchens. Dine al fresco on your balcony or, if you want someone else to cook, head downstairs to Tides restaurant and indulge in the local crab, bugs and scallops. If the lure of the view upstairs proves irresistible (and before too long it will), have your dinner delivered to your room. Later, take a dip in the resort pool and idle awhile in the spa with generous loungers lining the timber deck.

Cumberland House, for a family-sized getaway

A huge balcony with dining table for eight, set high on a lushly forested ridge at Cumberland House
Courtesy of Cumberland House / Expedia

High on a lushly forested ridge, this huge holiday house in Airlie Beach will suit large groups or a family wanting a roomy getaway. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms are set over two levels, with two huge balconies and fine ocean views over the treetops. You’ll love the look of this property: stylish exposed timber flooring and ceilings, ornate pendant lighting and stone kitchen tops. It’s a short walk down to Airlie Beach Lagoon, where you can swim at the beach and relax on the loungers in the tropical sun.

Pinnacles Resort, for rooftop spa luxury

Striking multi-unit building with a deep-blue infinity pool at Pinnacles Resort
Courtesy of Pinnacles Resort / Expedia

We know the priority here – you’ll want to jump straight into the impressive rooftop horizon pool, with its timber-lined hot-tub hut. But allow plenty of wallow time, too, for your in-room spa bath. Whichever you choose, these one- to three-bedroom, fully self-contained luxury apartments are some of the best in Airlie Beach. Don’t just look longingly from your balcony over towards the islands dotted on the horizon – grab a hop-on-and-off daily ferry pass and explore nearby Daydream Island and Hamilton Island resorts. They’re great for a day trip or two – snorkelling, swimming and exploring the local reefs.

Sea Star Apartments, for a lift to penthouse views

The large infinity pool set on a hillside overlooking the ocean at Sea Star Apartments
Courtesy of Sea Star Apartments / Expedia

It’ll be all too easy to drift away, island-gazing – after all, Hayman and Hook Islands are seemingly within arm’s reach from these beautiful one- to three-bedroom apartments. Just above Airlie Beach and its bustling esplanade, the units have beautiful curving balconies that are open to the cool tiled living room, decked with comfy sea-blue-coloured couches. Next stop: the resort’s horizon pool and circular spa, for a leisurely splash. Top tip: upgrade to a penthouse apartment, and your home will be accessible by private lift. Take plenty of time to absorb the magnificent 180-degree views, getting super-comfy on the day bed while you recline and relax.

Magnums Airlie Beach, for affordable cabins in the heart of town

Cosy cottages set among the foliage at Magnums Airlie Beach
Courtesy of Magnums Airlie Beach / Expedia

Staying here is so convenient – you’re just a short walk from the cafes and bars of Airlie Beach as well as the foreshore swimming lagoon. Budget-priced double cabins are dotted around the grounds – or you might prefer one of the double or twin rooms with shared bathrooms. How to spend the days? Hang out with other travellers in the large, shared kitchen and nearby BBQ area, or get active on the volleyball court. There’s an extensive tour desk for booking cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, flights over the islands or snorkelling and dive adventures. You won’t be bored for a moment.

Colonial Palms Motor Inn, for lagoon swimming and period elegance

The slate-lined swimming lagoon at Colonial Palms Motor Inn
Courtesy of Colonial Palms Motor Inn / Expedia

This colonial-style building brings the past firmly into the present with a huge welcoming deck, large shade-throwing umbrellas and a fantastic in-house restaurant, the Palms. All rooms are air conditioned, and one-bedroom apartments have a small kitchenette – great if you’re on a budget. The slate-lined swimming lagoon at the centre of it all is the must-visit-spot for cooling off. Then you’ll be refreshed and ready to jump on a private sunset charter, where you might see dolphins or even a dugong (Google them – they’re cute). Or hire a jet ski and take a 90-minute adrenaline-pumping tour of the local islands.

Azure Sea Airlie Beach Resort, for falling in love

Aerial view of the modern buildings of Azure Sea Airlie Beach Resort set among tropical gardens above Airlie Beach
Courtesy of Azure Sea Airlie Beach Resort / Expedia

At this attractive retreat, you’ll fall in love with the stunning 180-degree views of the Coral Sea and islands. And then you’ll fall for the spectacular infinity-edge waterfall swimming pools, where one cascades into another below. There’s plenty to like about these 30 luxury apartments – not least the setting, among tropical gardens above Airlie Beach, just a stroll from great cafes and bars. Another big tick goes to the huge individual balconies included with all properties, furnished with comfy loungers and serene sea-themed artworks.

Airlie Beach Hotel, for pub-going pleasures

The large pool and orange loungers of Airlie Beach Hotel
Courtesy of Airlie Beach Hotel / Expedia

Is it a hotel or a pub? The great news is that it’s both, so you can have your beer and drink it. At the Airlie Beach Hotel, it’s the done thing to grab an icy drink and party with the band at the Pub, which is open to the esplanade while overlooking parkland and the stunning beach. When you’re done, retreat to one of the 60 rooms and suites. Take your pick between a modern-designed motel-style room, or an ocean-view suite with lounge and self-contained kitchen. Either way, you’ll have full use of the resort pool – your cue to make a splash.

For more amazing places to stay in Australia, check out our pick of the best hotels to book in the Whitsunday Islands, bookable on Culture Trip.

These recommendations were updated on November 24, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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