Riley Hotel, Cairns, Queensland © Tourism Australia
Where to stay in Cairns
As a major gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a vibrant hub with plenty of choice when it comes to hotels.
By Katrina Lobley
Want to stay near tropical wildlife, relax around a stunning pool or feast on freshly-caught seafood? Cairns has a wide range of accommodation clustered around its picturesque waterfront offering all this and more.
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Where: 122 Lake Street, Cairns
The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is located in the heart of the city, just a block from the waterfront, but it channels a laid-back resort vibe thanks to its stunning scenery. This includes a lagoon-style pool, tropical gardens and rooms that are bright and airy, in keeping with a coastal-themed palette. The in-house Moku Bar & Grill features dishes perfect for a lunch under the sun. There's even a swim-up bar stocked with expertly crafted cocktails.
Flynn, a Crystalbrook Collection hotel
Where: 85 Esplanade, Cairns
Just steps away from Cairns’ sparkling shores, Flynn is made for those who want to stay in the centre of the action. Take a dip in the glass-sided pool, or retreat to one of 311 vibrant rooms and suites. Three levels of dining will leave you spoilt for choice, and after a day of sun and swimming, you can relax at Eléme Spa. Flynn has also been built with sustainability in mind, using locally-sourced produce, solar power, and environmentally friendly amenities across the property.
Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort
Where: 131-141 Esplanade, Cairns
With views of Cairns’ remarkable coastline, Riley, A Crystalbrook Collection Resort, is the epitome of seaside luxury. This five-star resort has everything you need to have an indulgent holiday, from the Luxury Eléme Day Spa to the expansive swimming lagoon. The resort has 311 rooms and suites, each fit with contemporary design and amenities. Treat your tastebuds at Paper Crane, a modern Asian fusion restaurant, or head up to Rocco, a Mediterranean-inspired rooftop bar set 12 floors above sea level. Guests even have access to a manmade beach and secluded cabanas.
Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel
Where: 163 Abbott St, Cairns
Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel, isn’t just full of character, but also epic flavours, modern furnishings and spacious rooms. The five-star sustainable property is perfect for the artist at heart, with artwork from across Australia displayed in and around the hotel. Feed your soul – and then your stomach – at one of the onsite restaurants. Taste the Latin-fusion flavours at Pachamama, or try CC's Bar and Grill, Bailey's signature restaurant serving beef sourced directly from Crystalbrook Station.
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
Where: 35-41 Wharf St, Cairns
It's easy to spot the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino near the cruise liner terminal facing Trinity Inlet – just look up to see the distinctive 20-metre (66 foot) high glass dome that houses both a 'wildlife dome' (where visitors can experience a rainforest style environment complete with wildlife) and a ropes course up among the free-flying birdlife. Base yourself at the 128-room Pullman Reef Hotel, where you'll find signature restaurant Tamarind. Splash out on the Pullman Suite to soak in a freestanding tub.
Where: Pierpoint Road, Cairns
Wedged at the southern end of the vibrant Cairns Esplanade is the 255-room, triangular-shaped Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina Cairns. Guests at this luxury hotel – which boasts a massive executive lounge – can enjoy views of the Coral Sea, yachts bobbing in the Marlin Marina, the Cairns low-rise cityscape, lush gardens or the sparkling centrepiece pool. Stroll down the Marina Dining Promenade to choose from a variety of waterfront restaurants.
Pullman Cairns International Hotel
Where: 17 Abbott Street, Cairns
Across the street from the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is another hotel in the Pullman stable. With 321 rooms, the Pullman Cairns International is the city's largest five-star hotel. Coco's Restaurant, near the lobby, is famous for its paddock-to-plate fresh ingredients and seafood towers. High tea is also a drawcard, with add-ons such as a miniature chocolate fondue with strawberries and marshmallows. Enjoy views over the nearby mountains from the pool, which features an island, walkway and jacuzzi.
Mantra Trilogy Cairns
Where: 101-105 Esplanade, Cairns
The 230-room Mantra Trilogy Cairns offers not only traditional hotel rooms but apartments with kitchens, laundries, and up to three bedrooms for that home-away-from-home feel. If you don’t feel like cooking, dine at the Mediterranean-themed Villa Romana, which also offers room service. Swan around the hotel's lagoon pool with its ocean views, or maintain your fitness by hitting the 25-metre (82 foot) lap pool. On a clear day it's possible to see Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Boats depart regularly for the island from the nearby Reef Fleet Terminal.