Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay, Tasmania © Saffire
The best luxury hotels and resorts in Australia
There are many incredible places to stay all across Australia, from opulent city hotels to welcoming wilderness lodges and island idylls.
Wake up to unforgettable views of Sydney Harbour and the dazzling ‘sails’ of the Sydney Opera House at Park Hyatt Sydney, a residential-style hotel with the ideal location on the waterfront in Sydney’s historic The Rocks precinct. The Park Hyatt offers the largest guest suite in the city, as well as a rooftop swimming pool. Plus, you can step out of the lobby and onto a water taxi at Park Hyatt’s private wharf for a rockstar trip to a harbourside fine-dining restaurant.
Tucked away on the secluded southern end of the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, Capella Lodge is the most exclusive resort in a destination only a lucky few get to visit – just 400 tourists are allowed on Lord Howe at any one time. Gaze out at quiet lagoons and forest-draped mountains from your room, from the lodge’s infinity pool or while dining on expertly prepared seasonal produce at Capella Restaurant.
Step back in time at Hyatt Hotel Canberra, a grand hotel of Art Deco and Australian Colonial architecture surrounded by manicured gardens in the heart of the nation’s capital. Built in the 1920s as a home away from home for politicians, the Hyatt Hotel Canberra is a three-minute drive from the seat of the federal government at Australian Parliament House. Indulge in a decadent high tea in The Tea Lounge, cosy up to the open fire and enjoy drinks on a warm summer night in The Garden outdoor bar.
Soaring above the surrounding towers of Melbourne, The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne occupies the upper floors of a skyscraper, making it Australia’s tallest hotel. Take an express elevator to the 80th-floor Sky Lobby to take in panoramic views of the city as you check in. You can stay in one of the generously sized standard rooms or splash out on a penthouse-style suite, which features a luxe bathroom with an oversized soaking tub and expansive dining and living areas.
One of Australia’s most iconic luxury lodges, Saffire Freycinet sits outside of spectacular Freycinet National Park, northeast of Hobart. The lodge itself is stunning, with its organic design and floor-to-ceiling windows at Palate restaurant. What takes a stay here to the next level are the experiences on offer, such as relishing oysters fresh from the bay at Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm, meeting Tasmanian devils and forging a connection to Country with an Aboriginal guide.
You’ll enjoy a sense of relaxed luxury as well as unparalleled access to one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious wine regions when you stay at The Louise. This boutique lodge sits among vineyards in the heart of Barossa Valley wine country, a one-hour drive or a short flight by helicopter from Adelaide. Each of The Louise’s roomy Mediterranean villa-style suites features an open fireplace and outdoor rain shower, and looks out over rows of vines planted with shiraz grapes from a private courtyard.
Southern Ocean Lodge, on the wildlife wonderland of Kangaroo Island, is set to re-open its doors in late 2023. Rebuilt and reimagined by its owners and original architect, the new-look Southern Ocean Lodge has been designed with environmental sustainability at its core. The 25 guest suites spreading out from the main lodge have been reoriented to take in even more of the sweeping ocean views and coastal scrub, while a new four-bedroom owner’s residence-style Ocean Pavilion sits away from the other buildings.
Occupying three grand 19th-century former government buildings, Como The Treasury is a character-filled retreat in the very centre of Perth. The hotel’s understated, ultra-luxe interior design is the work of the late Perth-born Kerry Hill, the architect of numerous Aman Resorts. Whichever room you book, you’ll want to indulge in a signature massage at the hotel’s Como Shambhala Urban Escape and secure a table at the rooftop fine-dining restaurant Wildflower, which creates its menus around the six seasons of the local Noongar Aboriginal calendar.
Bush luxury doesn’t get much better than El Questro Homestead, a 10-suite clifftop lodge within the vast Kimberley region. An oasis of opulence in one of the wildest of wilderness regions, the homestead looks over the placid Chamberlain River from the top of a dramatic burnt-orange cliff. Once you’ve soaked up the views, join bird-watching and cultural tours, cruise the Chamberlain River and enjoy exclusive use of the magical Zebedee Thermal Springs – all of these experiences, and more, are included in your stay.
Seeing the iconic monolith Uluru and the giant domes of Kata Tjuta, in the Red Centre of Australia, is on many travellers’ bucket lists. At Longitude 131°, you can watch Uluru famously change colours as the sun sets from the outdoor lounge of your pavilion – or from the comfort of your bed. The lodge offers the perfect base for immersion into this ancient place, as well as expeditions to the Ernabella Arts Centre in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, whose artists’ work is displayed throughout the lodge.
With direct flights from some of Australia’s capital cities to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, it’s easy to get to the ultra-luxury resort qualia. Convincing yourself to leave this idyllic resort may prove to be more difficult. Expect breezy pavilions, sweeping views of the Coral Sea and private plunge pools. From qualia it’s a short scenic flight or a leisurely boat ride to some of the Great Barrier Reef’s prettiest spots, including nearby Whitehaven Beach, famous for its powdery white sand, and Heart Reef.
An hour-long charter flight from Cairns, Lizard Island sits at the far-northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Take an airy beachfront suite at this sublime island resort and gaze out to sea from your balcony daybed, retreat to the cliff-top Villa or the super-private Pavilion, or take over the three-bedroom House at Lizard. From here, you have easy access to private picnics, snorkelling from your choice of beaches and scuba diving at the world-famous Cod Hole.
Reset and refresh at the stylish Silky Oaks Lodge, nestled in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest just north of Cairns. Choose a spacious Billabong Suite, which looks out over Mossman River high among the trees, ease into the hammock on the outdoor deck and lose track of time listening to the soundtrack of birdcalls and the burbling waterway. While away blissful days being pampered at the Healing Waters Spa and dining on fresh tropical ingredients straight from the lodge’s kitchen garden.