The Best Luxury Hotels in Cairns, Australia

Cairns Esplanade | © Ian Cochrane / Flickr
Cairns Esplanade | © Ian Cochrane / Flickr
Photo of Siobhan Grogan
27 April 2021

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.

Reef Casino Hotel

Casino Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Reef Casino Hotel_c2882c8e
Courtesy of Reef Casino Hotel / Expedia
There’s no chance you’ll be bored at this five-star resort alongside Trinity Inlet. As well as a rooftop pool, sauna and gym, this complex has an array of restaurants and bars, a sports arena, live music and its own casino. As if that’s not enough, every room has a spa bath and a private garden balcony overlooking Cairns city or the beautiful Trinity Inlet.

Shangri-La Hotel

Suite Hotel, Business Hotel, Chain Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel / Expedia

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.


Vision Cairns

Resort, Apartment
Map View
Vision Cairns_77294a52
Courtesy of Vision Cairns / Expedia
If you’re visiting Cairns with family or a gang of friends, these two- and three-bedroom apartments on the Esplanade are ideal to spread out in and feel at home. All have glass balconies, large freestanding bathtubs and separate showers, daily housekeeping and fully-equipped kitchens, including dishwashers. You won’t need to miss out on hotel pampering either as the complex offers two swimming pools, a barbeque area, sauna, fitness centre and a tour desk to help you explore Queensland.

Water’s Edge

Resort, Hotel, Apartment
Map View
Water’s Edge Resort
Courtesy of Water’s Edge Resort / Expedia

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.

The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery

Boutique Hotel
Map View
The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery_4447b894
Courtesy of The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery / Expedia

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.


Lizard Island Resort

Map View
Lizard Island Resort_9675ff3c
Courtesy of Lizard Island Resort / Expedia

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.


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  • Bailey a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel

    Map View
    Bailey a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel_e3b4d76a
    Courtesy of Bailey a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel / Expedia

    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.


    Cairns Private Apartments

    Luxury, Apartment
    Map View
    Cairns Private Apartments_b8418f8b
    Courtesy of Cairns Private Apartments / Expedia

    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.


    Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort

    Map View
    Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort_28e96a27
    Courtesy of Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort / Expedia

    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.


    Crystalbrook Flynn

    Chain Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
    Crystalbrook Flynn_0ab82676
    Courtesy of Crystalbrook Flynn / Expedia

    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.

    These recommendations were updated on April 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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