Take a look at the best luxury hotels in Australia.
Jamala Wildlife Lodge offers the unique experience of sleeping just a (thick) glass wall away from lions, hyenas, bears, giraffes, and lemurs. This luxurious all-inclusive property is located inside Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium, and all but three of its 18 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking animal enclosures. There is a lovely infinity pool exclusively for Ushaka Lodge guests, but it is barely used, as days are packed with activities, including exclusive zoo tours, afternoon tea, and one-on-one time with animals. Rooms are elegant and luxurious, with beautiful African-themed decor, four-poster beds, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. It is a fun educational experience for couples and families, but note that no kids under six are allowed on-site, and there are age restrictions in Cheetah, Lion, and Tiger Bungalows.
The Ovolo Woolloomooloo is a stylish luxury property set on a historic wharf over Woolloomooloo Bay, about a 10-minute drive from the center of Sydney. This is an exclusive area with fine-dining restaurants, yet the hotel's colorful decor has a fresh, youthful vibe. Breakfast, in-room minibar items, and evening happy hour are included with rates. The 100 guest rooms are bright with industrial-meets-artsy decor and feature Apple TVs, iPads, and electric blinds. The 24-hour Lo Lounge serves drinks and light snacks, and the indoor pool and gym were upgraded in 2015. Guests wanting to be closer to the Central Business District could also consider the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, a larger property in The Rocks with moderately higher rates.
The impressive Mai Tai Resort combines the personalized service of a boutique B&B with the comfort and atmosphere of an upscale resort, and is priced accordingly. The property's stunning views over the Port Douglas hinterlands are a major draw, but the four immaculate rooms are also enticing, with luxurious furnishings and plenty of modern amenities. There's also a two-bedroom self-catering villa that provides a private and luxurious alternative to the serviced rooms. Well-behaved pets are welcome, but children are not, so plan accordingly.
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.
The 90-room Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour is a trendy boutique property in the heart of Sydney's Darling Harbour area. Rooms have a rustic-meets-industrial-chic vibe, with vibrant Pop Art murals on the walls in most (part of a 2015 renovation). All rooms come with iPads, big flat-screen TVs, and free phone calls throughout the country. Although there's no pool or gym, guests of the Ovolo 1888 get free access to the nearby Ian Thorpe Aquatic and Fitness Centre. On-site amenities include a restaurant and bar that serves breakfast and dinner (but no lunch), free Wi-Fi, a small business center, and a tiny meeting room suitable for small groups. Those in search of conference facilities may want to check out the nearby Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour, which lacks the funky charm of the Ovolo 1888 but has a lot more space for meeting and events.
The Henry Jones Art Hotel is a 56-room upscale property housed in a renovated jam factory dating back to 1804. Modern features blend with the building's historic stone walls and rough-hewn timber, though its the 500 pieces of original local art throughout that add the most personality. The hotel sits right on Hobart's beautiful waterfront, close to restaurants, shops, and attractions. All rooms combine historic character with modern conveniences and design. Some have special stainless steel and glass spa bathrooms, and some look directly out on the harbor. The signature restaurant serves fresh local fare, and the cafe and bar also focus on local products. Travelers looking for apartment-style accommodations in the area could check out the Salamanca Wharf Hotel, a sharp alternative with slightly lower rates.
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.
With 25 floors, Xanadu Holiday Resort is a reasonably priced upper-middle-range property that towers over Main Beach, offering stunning Pacific Ocean views in most of its one- and two-bedroom apartments. Units have fully equipped kitchens, laundry rooms, living rooms, and balconies. The central location provides an easy walk to the beach and restaurants on Tedder Avenue. Communal areas -- a game room, barbecue areas, a library lounge, gym, tennis courts, hot tubs, and indoor/outdoor pools -- are clean and unfussy. The free in-room Wi-Fi is slow, so many pay for faster Internet service.
There are 98 rooms at this luxurious five-pearl hotel set in Sydney's trendy The Rocks neighborhood. It’s a great base for visitors to the city as there’s plenty to see and do all around, and the hotel has fabulous harbor views. Guest rooms are elegant and opulent, with free mineral water, Kuerig coffee makers, and iPod docks. They also feature large and lavish marble bathrooms. There are two excellent restaurants, a spa, pool, tennis court, and fitness center on site, plus free Wi-Fi. For a slightly different take on luxury, it's worth comparing with the nearby Shangri-La Hotel, which has stylish Asian-inspired interiors.
Near Canberra's Parliamentary Triangle, the four-pearl East Hotel is a hip boutique property with a buzz. Upscale interiors include a cute bookstore cafe and an Italian eatery honoring the owners' heritage. A super-sleek design extends to the 140 large rooms, which have excellent kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and PlayStations. Leisure and family travelers join a corporate crowd here, for whom glass-bubble meeting rooms are useful. A modern gym is 24-hour, and while there's no pool on-site, guests can use Manuka Pool a seven-minute walk away for free. Set within zoo grounds, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge Hotel offers a similarly priced nature alternative, but it's less central.
Those looking for sophisticated self-catering lodging in Port Douglas may want to consider the Coconut Grove Apartments, a luxurious 33-room apartment hotel in a quiet complex close to the beach. The apartments feature generously sized outdoor areas (most with pools) and indoor comforts such as flat-screen TVs and high-end L'Occitane toiletries. The lack of resort-style features and the fees for housekeeping and Wi-Fi may be a turn-off for some, but independent travelers who like to cook for themselves will feel right at home.
This four-and-a-half pearl property is located on Flinders Lane, in the heart of Melbourne's CBD, making it popular with weekend and business travelers. Set apart by its contemporary design, it features candy-inspired decor throughout. All 34 modern rooms feature flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and iPod docks, along with Lavazza coffeemakers, free candy, and free refreshments in the mini-fridges. There are two restaurants -- Ezard for fine dining, and Om Nom Dessert Kitchen and Bar for savory plates and sweet treats. There is also a glass-bottom rooftop pool with a summer lounge bar plus Mon Bijou cocktail bar. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, but breakfast comes at an additional fee. Travelers planning a longer trip should consider Citadines on Bourke, offering apartment-style rooms that are ideal for large groups or families.
Dedicated to Australian contemporary artist David Larwill, this four-pearl hotel feels like modern art gallery. His original work adorns the walls and halls of this 96-room boutique hotel. Located in North Melbourne, it's not within easy walking distance to the CBD, though it's commutable by tram in 20 minutes. There's an attached Smith and Singleton restaurant serving international dishes, though breakfast comes at an additional fee. The hotel also has a spacious gym, conference venue, Smart Car and Lekker bicycle rental services, and free Wi-Fi. The rooms are bright and trendy, with flat-screen TVs, high-end coffeemakers, and air-conditioning. Travelers preferring to be more central should consider the Adelphi Hotel instead. It's boutique property with a similarly artsy vibe, but is located in the heart of Melbourne's CBD.
The 103-room Larmont Sydney by Lancemore is a stylish four-pearl hotel located near nightlife and dining in both Potts Point and Kings Cross. Rooms are chic and plush, with excellent bedding, open bathrooms with walk-in rainfall showers, and upscale amenities, including Apple TVs, Nespresso machines, and Bose SoundTouch speakers. Free Wi-Fi and two free minibar items per day are great perks, as is on-site parking (for a fee). The movement studio offers free yoga and Pilates classes, and guests get free access to the adjacent 24-hour fitness center. The Hyde is a cute, casual spot serving up tasty local cuisine all day, and room service is provided by a number of handpicked local eateries. On the downside, there are no bar, pool, or spa here. Travelers wanting to be closer to major sights in the CBD should consider .