The Best Hotels to Book in Cowes, Phillip Island

The Kaloha Holiday Resort feels like a retreat to the tropics, with views of palm trees from your balcony
The Kaloha Holiday Resort feels like a retreat to the tropics, with views of palm trees from your balcony | Courtesy of Kaloha Holiday Resort Phillip Island / Expedia
Photo of Cassie Wilkins
24 November 2021

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Phillip Island is a magical island enclave where famous little penguins and seals outnumber tourists most of the year. While you might come for the wildlife, there are so many other things to do and see – from racing to surfing and wining and dining – you’ll soon find yourself dreaming of staying on these idyllic shores for a little longer. The buzzing beachside haven of Cowes, with its cute cafes and beachfront boutiques, is home to the best accommodation on Phillip Island – with choices ranging from historic homes draped in flowers to luxury cabins in the bush, bright and cheerful ocean-view apartments and tropical-inspired resorts – bookable on Culture Trip.

Arthur Phillip Motor Inn, for a relaxed vibe with your loved ones

A comfy room with a large bed, couch and small dining table at Arthur Phillip Motor Inn in Cowes
Courtesy of Arthur Phillip Motor Inn / Expedia

A laid-back, family-owned motel, Arthur Phillip Motor Inn offers affordable accommodation in a chilled-out spot halfway between the beach and Phillip Island Wildlife Park. Sleeping up to five, all 12 studio-style rooms have kitchenettes, dining spaces and couches – as well as outdoor parking and al fresco seating overlooking the little terrace garden. The family rooms also include a separate triple bedroom, while the queens have a spa bath for ultimate relaxation.

The Waves Apartments, for beachfront access

Upscale guest room with large sliding doors to balcony with ocean views at the Waves Apartments in Cowes
Courtesy of the Waves Apartments / Expedia

Steps from the beach – and, of course, the waves – the Waves Apartments offers bright and modern rooms and suites that toe that all-important line between stylish and practical, with little extras such as two-person spas in every bathroom and stove-tops in the kitchenettes to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Opt for a beachfront family suite or double panorama room for ocean views and an instantly activated holiday mode.

Hilltop Apartments Phillip Island, for an adults-only weekend getaway

A stylish luxury living room with leather couches and artwork at the Hilltop Apartments Phillip Island
Courtesy of Hilltop Apartments Phillip Island / Expedia

A gloriously luxurious adults-only retreat set in lush native bushland and beautiful board-walked gardens on the edge of town, Hilltop Apartments Phillip Island has the glamour of a fancy hotel with the convenience and privacy of a fully appointed apartment. While all six apartments come with kitchens, comfy lounge/dining spaces, en-suite bathrooms and outdoor spaces, that’s where the similarities end. The individual character of all the rooms is what makes these apartments even more special – many with spa baths, some with star-gazing telescopes on balconies and others with private gardens.

Kaloha Holiday Resort Phillip Island, for a tropical family-friendly stay

The lagoon-style pool with loungers surrounded by lush palm trees at Kaloha Holiday Resort Phillip Island
Courtesy of Kaloha Holiday Resort Phillip Island / Expedia

Walking into Kaloha Holiday Resort feels like a portal to the tropics – think palm trees rising above a saltwater lagoon pool and glimpses of green trees, golden sands and azure waters. Whatever the weather, this just-back-from-the-beach resort and restaurant sits in one of the best locales in Phillip Island – just a five-minute walk to town – with rooms and camping sites to suit every budget, from motel-style family and spa rooms to beachside cabins and four-bedroom townhouses.

Genesta House Bed and Breakfast, for a truly idyllic setting

A spacious guest room with beautiful period features at Genesta House Bed and Breakfast in Cowes
Courtesy of Genesta House Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

This heritage B&B is not only utterly picturesque – with a white picket fence and wisteria climbing over the verandah and a fairytale garden strung with lights – it’s also steeped in over a century of Phillip Island history. Just 150m (500ft) from the beach and an easy stroll to town, Geneva House retains both its beautiful period features and historically friendly hospitality – with a modern twist, of course. Accessed via a private entrance on the verandah – where you have your own outdoor spaces to lounge and soak up the views – the adults-only suites include tiny kitchenettes stocked with continental breakfast provisions, as well as on-street parking.

Island Cove Villas, for morning coffee among the trees

The large lagoon-style pool and surrounding tropical landscaping at Island Cove Villas in Cowes
Courtesy of Island Cove Villas / Expedia

Embracing the island vibes with a tropical twist, Island Cove Villas’ leafy gardens and fringed palms hide a seasonally heated outdoor pool and sunbathing cabanas, tennis courts, BBQ pavilions and a kids playground – along with eight exclusive villas. The one-, two- and three-bedroom stand-alone villas offer open-plan spaces that are great for relaxing, cooking and entertaining – plus outdoor areas where you can enjoy your morning coffee with a birdsong serenade. Some villas include covered carports and spa baths, too. For a hassle-free solo or couples retreat, there’s also a one-bed apartment with a kitchenette for a little extra privacy.

Seahorse Motel, for a great location

Cosy queen room with en-suite bathroom at Seahorse Motel in Cowes
Courtesy of Seahorse Motel / Expedia

So much more than just motel-style accommodation – although it has this, too – Seahorse Motel offers an array of delights to all its guests. From the solar heated pool to the sundeck, from the al fresco BBQ area to the location, this motel is just 150m (500ft) from the beach and close to the shops, cafes and eateries of Cowes’ main strip. Splurge on a king suite for a spacious upgrade, or treat yourself to a studio or two-bedroom apartment – complete with a lounge and dining area and a kitchenette with a stovetop, in case you feel like cooking up a mini feast.

Coachman Motel & Holiday Units, for central convenience

Modern guest room with attractive bedding and original artwork at Coachman Motel and Holiday Units in Cowes
Courtesy of Coachman Motel and Holiday Units / Expedia

A few minutes from both the centre of town and the beach, Coachman Motel & Holiday Units is a welcoming retreat with friendly staff and comfy beds in the heart of Cowes. Offering an array of accommodation from classic doubles to family apartments with kitchens and luxurious spa rooms – some of which also have pool-view balconies – Coachman Motel also has an in-ground pool with a BBQ gazebo for happy summer hangouts.

Woodbyne Resort, for a rural retreat

Outdoor pool with small waterslide at Woodbyne Resort in Cowes
Courtesy of Woodbyne Resort / Expedia

Perched on the edge of town and surrounded by rolling fields and studded with trees, Woodbyne Resort is a family-friendly rural getaway with an outdoor pool and waterslide – along with oversized lawn games like Jenga, chess and Connect Four. Accommodation options here are in two- and three-bed relaxed and spacious cottages with kitchens, laundry and outdoor decks.

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