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With a tropical climate, a chic marina and the extraordinary Great Barrier Reef right on the doorstep, Cairns is a magnet for luxury lovers. There are plenty of top hotels – bookable with Culture Trip – to make your stay even more special, too, whether you’re visiting with family or looking for a romantic getaway. Think rooftop restaurants, cocktail-making classes and generous all-inclusive packages where you’ll want for nothing.
It’s hard to believe you’re in the city centre at this glamorous hotel right on the marina in Cairns. Guests can watch boats bobbing on the water, opt for drinks by the pool, dine in a waterfront restaurant or stroll around the immaculate tropical gardens. Shangri-La’s 255 spacious rooms have eye-popping views over the marina, city or Trinity Bay, private balconies and local artwork, while lucky Club-room guests can enjoy afternoon drinks with canapes on the waterside deck, private breakfast and a daily refreshed mini bar.
With its waterfront location, five-star facilities and bags of space, the Water’s Edge apartments are a fantastic alternative to a hotel. Right on the Cairns Esplanade, and opposite parkland, the property is within walking distance of restaurants, markets, nightlife and the aquarium, making this a great choice for those with children. They’ll have plenty of room, too, as the huge apartments have between one and three bedrooms, though everyone will be desperate to bag the chic, swim-out apartments.
Craving lazy days on the beach? This elegant boutique hotel, which opened in 1958, is right next to the sand, with vintage cruiser bikes, fishing rods and even sketch kits available to make the most of the stunning setting. The extras keep on coming too with yoga lessons, mixology classes, poolside sorbet, a book and DVD library and even twilight punch and canapes each evening. From the honesty bar to the chic candlelit restaurant, it’s a no-brainer for a grown-up stay.
Escape it all at this astonishing resort right on the Great Barrier Reef, an hour’s flight from Cairns. Even the generous all-inclusive package is designed to make the most of the breathtaking surroundings, with use of stand-up paddleboards, snorkelling gear and clearview sea kayaks all included. The hotel will even prepare a deluxe picnic hamper for a feast on a private beach you’ll have all to yourself, or you can stay in the hotel and soak up the brilliant blue views over the included gourmet meals and fine wines.
Art lovers will be wowed by this plush hotel and residences in the heart of the Cairns CBD (central business district). The hotel hosts regular art events including live graffiti sessions, has separate art spaces around the hotel and dedicates each of the 12 guest floors to a different artist. Rooms have a sleek, urban feel with a Nespresso machine, Apple iPad control centre, complimentary movies and rainforest shower, while those looking for more space can choose a residence with one, two or three bedrooms.
Fancy a little seclusion? This upmarket collection of apartments at various locations, including the centre of Cairns and the tropical Northern Beaches, guarantees peace and quiet on your terms. All are fully self-catered so you can dine out or whip up your own favourite dishes, and have between one and three bedrooms. The concierge team are also happy to help arrange car hire, rainforest safaris, helicopter flights and even bungee jumping.
Live the high life in Cairns at the Riley, with luxe touches at every turn. All 311 rooms come with extras including free movies and a Nespresso machine, while guests wanting a VIP experience will love the glamorous pool deck, raw food Greenfields restaurant and tranquil Eléme day spa. Be sure to book a table at Rocco too, the city’s highest rooftop bar and restaurant with a moreish Mediterranean menu and a vast champagne selection.
One of Crystalbrook’s game-changing trio of cool Cairns’ hotels, Flynn is best suited to anyone who wants to be near the city’s best shopping and nightlife. This hotel, steps from the Esplanade, has 311 modern rooms with views over the skyline or ocean, while families can plump for two interconnecting rooms both with balconies and bathrooms. When hunger strikes, head for pasta at Flynn’s Italian or try Boardwalk Social, where gastropub classics are served with live music, sports screenings, DJ sets and a drinks menu featuring 36 beers on tap and 40 gins.