Vibe Hotel, Darwin, Northern Territory
Here are a few of our favourite places to bed down in the Northern Territory capital.
By Jennifer Pinkerton
Darwin accommodation tend to fall into three categories: breezy, self-contained spaces with access to swimming pools; historic homes; and brand name hotels with water views. Most of these options are clustered around the city centre, though the suburb of Parap – five minutes drive north – boasts a handful of retro hotels and apartments, and Mindil Beach (also five minutes from the city centre) provides resort-style accommodation at the the huge SKYCITY Casino. If you're getting around on foot, book a city stay. If you're driving, consider basing yourself a little further out to access the excellent food and crafts markets in various suburbs.
Note that the prices below reflect those charged for a double or standard room in the dry season, which is Darwin's high season, in the cooler months of May to September. During shoulder months, from October to April, these prices can drop significantly.
Vibe Hotel, Darwin Waterfront
A V-shaped swathe of restaurants, cafés and bars occupies Darwin's Waterfront Precinct, a 10 minute walk from Smith Street Mall in the city centre. Here you'll find grassy park space, a natural lagoon, a simulated wave pool and the Vibe Hotel (AUD$250 a night). The hotel offers great value and clean and compact rooms that are youthfully decorated in shades of white and teale. On the waterfront side, these provide views over Stokes Hill Wharf, where you can peer into the waters below to see tropical marine life such as angel fish. The Vibe has a shaded hotel pool and an upbeat downstairs eatery, Curve Café and Bar, which looks out onto lawns and serves up an inviting breakfast buffet (AUD$29).
7 Kitchener Drive, Darwin
Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites
New to the accommodation scene in Darwin, these luxury apartments (AUD$299) – also in the Waterfront Precinct – provide a stay that's hard to fault. They're decorated with white furniture and contemporary art. Choose from a one or two-bedroom unit with views of ships trailing the harbour, balconies to catch the saltwater breeze, modern and stylish living rooms and fully equipped kitchens. Fifteen of the 17 apartments available sit above Wharf One, which hosts modern Australian, Greek and Mexican restaurants.
19 Kitchener Drive, Darwin
Arguably the ritziest stay in town, with a prime position next to Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, SKYCITY Resort (AUD$479) lets you swim out from the deck of a superior suite to a man-made lagoon. The casino complex has a choice of five restaurants, including the fine dining affair EVOO, and rooms featuring indulgent stone-clad bathrooms with twin showers and egg-shaped baths. The lagoon has a swim-up bar and is fringed by a sandy cove, lined with deckchairs.
Parap Village Apartments
Set amid lush tropical gardens, this homely, older-style apartment complex is peaceful, clean and well managed. The two and three- bedroom flats (AUD$305-$405) at Parap Village Apartments feel like typical Darwin residential units: floors are tiled, fans spin from ceilings, and triangular balconies look out over shaded pools. Request a newly renovated apartment, and time your stay to coincide with a Saturday so you can visit the ever-popular Parap Markets across the road.
39-45 Parap Road, Parap
Standing grandly on the city’s eastern side, the Hilton (AUD$179) recalls 1960s architecture from the outside and a more recent brand of luxury on the inside. Its upper floor rooms overlook parklands lining the water's edge, as well as the harbour. At the hotel's ground level you'll discover Mitchell’s Bar and Grill, which specialises in local seafood dishes such as barramundi. The Hilton is an especially good option for business travellers due to its top location close to some of Darwin's best city eateries and its comfortable executive lounge that provides computers, a printer, refreshments and newspapers.
32 Mitchell Street, Darwin
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