Take a look at the best beach hotels in Australia.
The 57-room Beach Club is a luxury adult-only property situated on postcard-worthy Catseye Beach, on gorgeous Hamilton Island. Rooms are contemporary-chic and offer amenities like luxe bathrooms, turndown service, and Nespresso machines. They all have balconies or decks facing the sea, and those on the lower level have direct access to the lawn and beach. The infinity pool is stunning, as is the beach, and non-motorized water sports are free. Dining -- including a free a la carte breakfast -- gets good reviews, and the lobby lounge is a lovely space that feels like a well-off friend's beach house. The overall atmosphere is relaxed and romantic. Travelers looking for an even more decadent experience on Hamilton Island could check out the Qualia Resort, but rates there are much higher.
Although the beachside location is the biggest selling point of this compact, upscale hotel, there are plenty of other noteworthy features. The airy, cheerful rooms are all suites with kitchenettes, balconies, living rooms, and two-person tubs in the generous bathrooms; the restaurant serves excellent food at reasonable prices; and the swimming pool is a joy to explore. While those looking for amenities such as room service, a concierge, a fitness center, or spa may be underwhelmed, others will likely appreciate the Peninsula's DIY ethos. Note that the Peninsula Boutique Hotel is for adults only -- it does not allow children.
Perched on a hill overlooking the Coral Sea, the upper-middle-range Bellevue at Trinity Beach is a modern enclave on the beach. It holds 26 self-contained, one-to-three bedroom apartments with contemporary decor, huge layouts, open plan living areas, gourmet kitchens, spacious outdoor terraces, and marvelous beach views. The gorgeous pool and barbecue area is a hit, and though down steep stairs, direct beach access is a plus. Slow internet (normal for this area) and a fee for pool towels do cause annoyance. The area is pretty sleepy which is bliss for some, and dull for others; the Bellevue is great for a low key vacation or wind down, but a car is really required.Those after something with more kid-friendly features should check rates at Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, which has two pools and mini-golf.
Located on stunning, secluded Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, this luxury resort has 60 high-end waterside pavilions. Each room has sleek wooden decor, a private terrace, and a huge luxurious bathroom with freestanding bath. Property highlights include a private beach and two infinity pools with breathtaking views over the Coral Sea's turquoise waters. There are a range of low-key activities on offer too, such as free yoga, and more adventurous excursions to the Great Barrier Reef dive and snorkel sights are available. The two restaurants on-site provide top-notch cuisine, but food and drinks really add up here -- all-inclusive plans aren't an option.
One of Palm Cove’s chicest boutique properties, the upscale Alamanda offers 55 apartment-like suites within a private tropical enclave right on the beachfront. It’s also nestled just below the Esplanade’s strip of bars, restaurants, and cafes. All of the enormous suites feature open plan living and dining areas, furnished balconies, and gourmet Miele kitchens. With three gorgeous pools (one is adult- only), a topnotch spa with private plunge pool pavilions, a picturesque wedding chapel, and legendary beachfront restaurant, Alamanda packs in plenty to do for an otherwise intimate affair. Perks include free welcome drinks, an ever-so-helpful concierge, and a free tour booking service. This is an ideal choice for discerning families and couples seeking an upmarket yet unpretentious timeout. For travelers who prefer a traditional hotel room, try The Reef House Palm Cove.
In a tucked-away spot with direct access to the beach, Mandalay Apartments is a low-key (but upmarket) self-catering option. The quiet, spacious apartments may not be the most fashionable in town, but they're comfortable and come with well-equipped kitchens. There's plenty within walking distance and more active types will enjoy the two swimming pools, the tennis court, and bike rentals. Although the property attracts both vacationers and corporate guests, business travelers may not appreciate the fee for Wi-Fi and the lack of other work facilities.
The four-pearl Palm Bay Resort Whitsundays is a serene, tropical property set on the idyllic Long Island, surrounded by the Coral Sea and reefs, and a jungle full of flora and fauna. The 25 villas range from cozy wooden spaces to big sleek houses, but all of them are private and secluded. Smaller villas don’t have their own kitchens, but rather, guests have the use of a shared outdoor kitchen and big terrace with dining tables. On-site features include a lovely spa, outdoor pool with built-in hot tub, tennis court, and free non-motorized water sports. Those looking to stay somewhere slightly less remote might want to try the Reef View Hotel on Hamilton Island.
The four-pearl Artique Surfers Paradise houses 176 air-conditioned self-catering one- to three-bedroom modern apartments with fully equipped kitchens that include ovens, dishwashers, and plenty of cookware. This giant high-rise is within walking distance of the beach and Surfer’s Paradise shopping center, with its many shops and restaurants, and there's a tram stop nearby. All units have balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, and some have wraparound corner windows and ocean views. Hotel facilities include a heated outdoor pool and barbecue area, a modest fitness center and spa with a sauna and steam room, a theater room for watching movies, and a virtual golf area open to golf club members. Be aware that Wi-Fi comes with a fee, and when we visited, some of the rooms had unpleasant drain odors.
This upper-middle-range, family-friendly property offers 168 apartment-style rooms on tranquil grounds just opposite the gorgeous Catseye Beach, which is a four-minute walk away. Although the surrounding area is quiet, the shops and restaurants of Resort Centre are within walking distance, and several island attractions are also close by. Apartments are plain-looking but spacious, with two TVs, full kitchens, and balconies big enough for outdoor dining. Amenities are on the sparse side; the outdoor pool and whirlpool areas are pleasant, but apartments lack Wi-Fi and there are no dining options apart from a cute coffee cart. The neighboring Reef View Hotel has similar views but more features, including a sauna, restaurant, and arcade.
Set on the oceanfront, just a four-minute walk from the golden sands of Airlie Beach, the three-and-a-half-pearl Coral Sea Resort is a bright and breezy seaside hotel with verdant green gardens and a jetty that thrusts out into Pioneer Bay, allowing guests to lounge surrounded by aquamarine ocean. The 77 rooms are well-sized and contemporary, outfitted with all the necessities and then some, though they're showing a bit of wear. Guests talk highly of the hotel’s free buffet breakfast, and restaurants include on one of the jetty and a fine-dining affair. Other features include an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a gym, massage rooms, and sauna, as well as a mini-golf course. Travelers wanting a comparable hotel with a full spa might want to try the nearby Pinnacles Resort.
The stylish Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa outshines other luxury hotels with direct access to an exclusive beach, a skybridge to Marina Mirage, and tropical grounds with 6,727 square feet (625 square meters) of lagoon pools, and a swim-up bar. Elegant rooms have minibars, and some have ocean views or poolside terraces. Suites and two-bedroom villas come with kitchens. The privately run spa has an outdoor pool, tennis, and a modern gym. Two restaurants offer seafood, a bar serves high tea, and catering is available in 11 meeting rooms. But in-room Wi-Fi is free only to Starwood Preferred Guest members (the brand's free program).
Kewarra Beach Resort & Spa is a popular beachfront property that is a competitively priced alternative to the luxury retreats of Cairns and Port Douglas. The resort is located on a gorgeous private beach and bungalows are integrated into the lush rainforest at the shoreline. It offers a back-to-nature experience with all the basic comforts that guests would expect, plus good dining and two inviting pools. However, this is not the place for urban luxury seekers; in some cases the rooms and bathrooms are looking tired and Wi-Fi can be unreliable.
The upper-middle-range Stamford Grand Adelaide is a lovely property directly on the white-sand Glenelg Beach, though it falls below its advertised five-pearl status. It's surrounded by vibrant beach life and a tram outside runs to downtown Adelaide. Common spaces are traditional, while the 220 rooms are outfitted in serene, contemporary decor. They're well-equipped with ergonomic work spaces, kettles, flat-screen TVs, and irons, plus upgraded ocean-facing rooms have sensational views. Restaurant popularity dwindles at breakfast, but sunset cocktails at the bars are a favorite -- although weekend noise from them reaches rooms. A swish pool, hot tub, and gym complete the leisure facilities, and function spaces make the hotel a popular wedding destination. With an outdoor pool, the downtown Adelaide Rockford is a good city alternative.
Right across from the southern part of Manly Beach, The Sebel is an upscale, family-friendly boutique hotel. Guests can choose from spacious, modern rooms with minibars and balconies, and self-contained apartments with kitchenettes and laundry rooms. This 83-room, two-tower property offers two outdoor pools and a whirlpool, and there's a privately owned restaurant on-site offering beachside dining. Parking and Wi-Fi cost extra, and there's no gym, though guests can use facilities at the sister hotel, Novotel, a few minutes' walk up the road; daily exercisers may prefer to stay at Novotel, which has its own restaurant and lobby bar, in addition to an enormous fitness center.
The Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific is an upscale, 213-room chain hotel with plenty of meeting space for business travelers, and a beachside location and family-friendly atmosphere that appeal to tourists. It's right across from Northern Sydney's Manly Beach, making it a good spot for beach vacationers, but a bit far from Sydney's major attractions. Rooms have generic, but not unpleasant, modern decor, though some guests have complained of worn furnishings. Features include a fantastic gym and yoga studio, and a small rooftop pool and whirlpool looking out over the ocean. There's also a restaurant serving daily buffet breakfast (for a fee), and the building has a Japanese street-food restaurant. Fees for Wi-Fi and parking apply. The similarly priced Sebel Manly is smaller, though offers a spa, wine-focused restaurant, and two pools.