The Best Hotels to Book in Nelson Bay, New South Wales

Kick back and relax poolside after exploring Nelson Bay
Kick back and relax poolside after exploring Nelson Bay | Courtesy of Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort /
Anna Dimond

Rocky outcrops, white-sand inlets and little ports comprise Nelson Bay: a paradise in miniature just a few hours’ drive from Sydney. Adventures abound in this nature-lover’s enclave, from whale-watching to swims with dolphins and snorkelling in coves teeming with beautifully coloured fish. Along with the town’s watersports, Tomaree National Park stretches out to the southeast for hiking, sunbathing and surfing. You can try it all when you visit – here are the best hotels in Nelson Bay.

1. Amarna Resort

Resort, Hotel

Thin outdoor pool by the bay at Amarna Resort, with four cushioned loungers on the cream stone walkway beside it
Courtesy of Amarna Resort /

This is a super-sensuous place to stay: feel the heated bathroom floor warm your feet as you rise to start the day. Inhale cool scents as you wash up with aromatic Appelles Apothecary & Lab bath products. Step out on your terrace to survey the glittering bay, then amble to Dutchmans Beach for a swim. Back in your apartment, call a masseuse to knead you into tranquility. Toss in complimentary use of kayaks and newspapers at your door, and you can see why the Amarna is synonymous with complete, luxurious contentment.

2. Nelson Bay Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast

Double bed on tiled floor in room with air conditioning and overhead fan at Nelson Bay Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of Nelson Bay Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

With just three guest rooms, hotels in Nelson Bay don’t get much cosier than this sweet bed and breakfast, a matter of minutes from town. Communal areas around the property invite guests to mingle – you might curl up by the fire, read on a sun-splashed couch or prepare snacks in the surgically clean kitchenette. Each room also has a private balcony for morning coffee or evening cocktails under the trees. After the sun sets, stroll over to Buoys on the Bay for fresh yellowfin ceviche, lamb sous-vide or marinated burrata with sliced fennel.

3. The Landmark Nelson Bay

Resort, Hotel

Four chairs by a table on a balcony terrace at the Landmark Nelson Bay, with direct views towards the bay
Courtesy of The Landmark Nelson Bay /

With a location in the centre of Post Stephens, the Landmark is ideal for holidaymakers who want more autonomy and can live with fewer frills. The hotel’s self-contained apartments are function-forward – read: kitchenettes, private balconies and bath spas – and in configurations that fit everyone from the solo travelers to groups of friends or families. You’ll find all the requisite weekender perks, such as a swimming pool, game room and a sun deck to perfect your tan – but it’s the 27-hole golf course that draws the future Adam Scotts in their droves.

4. Hotel Nelson

Hotel, Apartment

Shaded, cushioned bench seating next to artificial grass and an outdoor pool with steps and handrail at Hotel Nelson
Courtesy of Hotel Nelson /

Heated swimming pool? Check. Chaise longues? Check. Bocce court, steam room, bike hire and a cafe with global gastronomic fare? Check, check, check and check. If the hotel’s understated boutique style and proximity to local dining spots – how about family-made Thai food? – isn’t enough, details like crisp linens, views of the dazzling water and room service from Little Nel perfect a stay at this casual spot in the center of Nelson Bay. Top tip: channel your inner Ahab with the hotel’s whale-watching package.

5. Bali at the Bay


Double bed on wooden frame in room with wooden desk and two bedside lamps at Bali at the Bay
Courtesy of Bali at the Bay /

This intimate hotel may be just two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the city, but with the smell of sandalwood in the air, glimpses of stone carvings dotted throughout the property and furniture made of sturdy, Balinese teak, a stay here is a sensory experience that feels like an island escape. Additions including deep-soaking tubs for two and outdoor showers adorned with mini-palms are invitations to seriously unwind. When relaxation has run its course, everything from surf lessons to the Tomaree bush await.

6. Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort


Large outdoor pool, plus a hot tub with steps and handrail, by a two-storey building at Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort
Courtesy of Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort /

Swimming pool enthusiasts will find a water-bound nirvana with enough real estate for both children and adults to enjoy. In addition to a gym, steam room and tennis courts, this Salamander Bay mainstay is home to one of the longest pools in the country and its accommodations are built for maximum ease of access. We love the guest rooms with swim-out access, the multi-bedroom units with patios and splash pools, plus balconies with pool views. If you fancy making a bigger splash, there are beaches close by.

7. The Anchorage Hotel and Spa


Simple room in white with knitted blanket on a double bed and three large windows overlooking a harbour at the Anchorage
Courtesy of The Anchorage /

Hotels in Nelson Bay are rarely so indulgent. Picture slipping into a heated pool with a view of moored boats beyond the shore, as the sun dazzles overhead; heading over to the spa for a full-body salt scrub and deep-tissue massage before tucking into mayonnaise-drizzled sashimi and soba-noodle salad with charred beans; and finally sinking into a plush bed with a fine-cotton duvet and drifting off to aromas of sea air from the veranda. That’s just one day at the Anchorage Hotel, a portside Shangri-La that you won’t ever want to leave.

8. Anne’s Waterfront Haven B&B

Bed and Breakfast

Double bed and ottoman in room with overhead fan and small balcony providing waterside views at Anne’s Waterfront Haven B&B
Courtesy of Anne’s Waterfront Haven B and B /

Tucked snugly by the beach between Nelson and Salamander Bays, this cheerful bed and breakfast is, indeed, a seaside haven. Sunlight and the chorus line of chirping birds greet you as you wake in your waterfront room, along with daily gourmet breakfast – make ours eggs on toast with avocado – prepared by the proprietor herself. Anne is a key feature of the B&B. She’s been known to pack hats and sunscreen for beachgoers, give guests rides to dinner spots and even deliver bubbly on Christmas Day. That’s what you call Anne-do attitude.

9. Dutchies Motel and Lodge


Greenery-clad exterior of two-storey Dutchies Motel and Lodge, with a gravel courtyard at the front
Courtesy of Dutchies Motel and Lodge /

Dutchies Motel and Lodge is a beachfront guesthouse that’s perfect for families or groups of friends who roll deep. A comfortable, low-key affair, the motel focuses on functionality – kitchenettes and lounge areas – over luxury, such as grey futons and low-slung white chairs. Yet despite its minimalist ethos, Dutchies is designed for maximum fun. Motel rooms feature balconies with watery views or private patios made for relaxation, sipping wine at sunset. The lodge, meanwhile, accommodates groups for a comfortable and unfussy beach stay – you can’t lose either way.

10. The Retreat Port Stephens


Two adjacent single beds in a white-painted room at the Retreat Port Stephens; a third single bed is in the next room
Courtesy of The Retreat Port Stephens /

Hunkered down beside a run of sand dunes, the Retreat is a fantasy summer camp for every age – it’s got everything from a foosball table to an outdoor pool. This is primarily a family-run resort but it also accommodates couples and groups – there are bungalows and cabins as well as the 15-person lodge. With leafy, private patios and a public game room outfitted to the hilt, this is a place to retreat and recuperate in; to get away from it all, while rediscovering the innocent art of play.

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