Port Douglas upscale accomdations

Jun 12th, 2005, 09:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 86
Port Douglas upscale accomdations

We are an American family with an 11 year old, planning our first trip to Australia in August, including 4 nights in Port Douglas. I have read various posts here but am having trouble figuring out the best place to stay. The travel agent has recommended Radisson Treetops but apparently it is a little far from town. We generally like to stay in quite upscale resorts(like Westin, Hyatt Regency)but would not mind saving some money on a nice apartment/hotel with kitchenette (like an Embassy Suites or Marriott Residence Inn) that has helpful staff to book tours, etc. and a pool. Sheraton Mirage seems like it may be the most upscale but I have read mixed reviews here and on tripadvisor. I am afraid that others like Thala Lodge cater more to couples. Would truly appreciate hearing from those of you who have stayed in Port Douglas. Thanks.
socalfam is offline  
Jun 13th, 2005, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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We stayed at the Hibiscus Gardens Spa Resort. We stayed in a two bedroom with a kitchen 2 baths very nice and so close to town. We walked everywhere. It has a pool and grills that everyone is able to use. They do a small breakfast for a price.
There web site is: www.hibiscusportdouglas.com.au/
Hope that helps.
obrien641 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2005, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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we will be staying at the Beaches partments 6/30/07-04. I will report back after trip. It is 100meters from 4mile beach.
amrdia is offline  
Jun 13th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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socalfan; in Port Douglas RACQ ( the official Australian tourism rating body in Queensland)5 star rating applies to Sheraton Mirage (currently undergoing major updates) - for apartments RACQ awards 5 stars to Cayman Village, Mandalay Shalimar and Peppers Links Resort. All accommodation houses in PD will have helpful staff to book tours and advise which ones will suit you.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 13th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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Had the same questions as you two years ago and decided on Silky Oaks Lodge in Mossman which is about 15 minutes from Port Douglas. Very, very nice. On that trip we had already done the GBR at Orpheus Island and found Silky Oaks wonderful. Good food, nice ambiance--your kids would like it too. Daintree tours from there are quite nice.
PinotNoir is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 08:54 AM
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Thank you all for the tips! Will certainly check out all the recommendations.
Pat -
I have read many of your very helpful posts and understand you are the owner of the highly rated Lilybank B&B. It's so nice that you help people with lodging and other choices without plugging your place! Frommers says you don't take take children, which is often the case I know with B&B but too bad for us. Also nice to learn Sheraton is being renovated as I would have hated to pay big $$$ and hear/see construction all around! As for the apts., do you know which one is closest to town? I would prefer not having to take cabs, shuttles, etc. to go to the beach or go shopping. Also, do you happen to know the websites for these properties?

Did the apt. complex have staff that helped with booking day tours, etc.? Is there a grocery store nearby? How is the pool?

Pinot Noir-
Silky Oaks sounds nice but the description on my Qantas brochure makes it look more couple-oriented. Did you see kids there? Also, are there stores/restaurants you can walk to? Does it have a nice pool?

It's a little overwhelming planning a big trip like this, so I truly appreciate all your help.
socalfam is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 11:29 AM
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yes, I just remembered that they had two pools. Forgot all about the second pool. Yes they had someone on staff to help with bookings. We did not need them because we had prebooked before we left. The grocery store is about two blocks from the hotel. Also fish market, many fine resturants. We had a great dinner at La Marina 4 Wharf Road Marina Mirage, Port Douglas. Walking distance. Great shopping and some of the snorkel boats go out from there.
obrien641 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Silky Oaks does not have anything close by that you can walk to. It's very nature oriented. A car is essential except they do have Daintree tours that leave from there and you can have tour operators pick you up from there. It's in the rainforest along the swimmable Mossman River. There is a pool. Not resort-type huge. Although I do recall seeing kids, it appears at their website that they don't allow kids <10yrs old. Perhaps an apartment will do but you may want to check Voyages/SilkyOaks multi-resort packages.
PinotNoir is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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We stayed at the Radisson last year and booked two adjacent rooms for our family and it was just fine and we usually stay in Four Seasons, Shangri-la etc type of hotels. While the Radisson is nothing special I think you may need to consider renting one of the houses I found for rent in Port Douglas for something really upscale. The location of the Radisson is ok if you have a car which I would recommend.
mjs is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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socalfam - Cayman Villas are pretty centrally located with short walk to beach in one direction and restaurants/shops in other. www.caymanvillas.com.au Mandalay/Shalimar are beachfront with walkway to 4 mile Beach, still quite an easy walk into village - www.mandalay.com.au Peppers has its own golf course so probably isn't of much interest to you.

Whilst its true that not many B&B's take children I do know of a fantastic one that does. Not in Port Douglas, its on the road to Crystal Cascades in Freshwater Valley, about 25 mins from Cairns City. Crystal Cascades is similar to Mossman Gorge, except no tourist bus, or indeed public bus goes there. The B&B is a beautifully restored huge old Queenslander home on 14 acres of tropical gardens, fruit trees and not another house in sight. Swimming pool and rainforest fringed swimmable creek runs through property (creek is really more a river). Owners have young children and live on property in separate cottage - car is a necessity. There are 6 bedrooms, the upstairs 3 have en-suite bathrooms, the 3 downstairs have shared, but as there's plenty of them you never have to wait. www.zanzoo.com
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Can recommend Shalimar and Mandalay as top quality accommodation with helpful staff, Shalimar is the quieter of the two but still walking distance to everything in Port. If you prefer a hotel then I would recommend The Peninsula, but only the ocean view, the pool and spa are not large but neither is the hotel so it is not crowded. The rooms are well appointed and have what we would call a kitchenette, microwave/sink fridge ect. It's in a great location at the beach end on the corner of Macrossen Street the views are great. Hibiscus Gardens is also great but no views, the compensation is large pools and stunning gardens surrounds. Likewise with Cayman Villas, very nice indeed. One of our favorites for extended stays is Mowbray by the Sea, charming and helpful managers, very quiet spot close to the beach and a very short walk to the shops/restaurants. Large and very spacious well furnished apartments, nice pool and spa.
We have a house at Oak Beach which has been occupied by our daughter thus we have stayed in all of these places over the past five years, at last she has commenced building in Mossman so we can reclaim the house. The option of renting somthing is a good suggestion Oak and Newell Beach are both great and have some real luxury houses available but generally a week is the minimum.
Its about time they tried to do somthing to the Sheraton, I think it's one of the worst hotels in one of the best locations in Oz. I agree Treetops is nothing special and a bit of a distance from the main activity area.
ionaoz is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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I suggest you look at the website for Sunlover Holidays. They have their travel brochures online (click on the one for Tropical North Queensland) and you can check out the various accomodations in Port Douglas. You can find out what their amenities are, how far from town they are, how far from the beach they are, etc. This will give you a more informed choice for your family. We have stayed at 3 different properties in PD (Rydges, Quest and At the Mango Tree) and they have all been good. I do know where the Treetops is and I would have to agree that it's too far from town.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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You might consider staying at Palm Cove which is around 45 minutes from Port Douglas(but much closer to the Cairns airport)Palm Cove is smaller and quieter than Port Douglas but is also right on the beach and is also a good spot from which to access the Great Barrier Reef and The daintrees.
All tours will be able to pick you up from Palm Cove.The advantage of Palm Cove to me are the two magnificent resorts there-The Outrigger and the Sea Temple resort.Both have comprehensive websites.Both resorts offer stunning apartment style accomodations around very large resort style pools.The Sea Temple is absolute beachfront,whilst The Outrigger is better located to restaurants and shops.Palm Cove has a small but varied selection of very nice restaurants.We will be taking our 3 children there in a couple of weeks and whilst we enjoyed a lovely holiday in Port Douglas 2 years ago staying at Mandalay we prefer the accomodation choices at Palm cove.Mandalay was pleasant but like most port Douglas apartments had a very small pool with lots of competition for sun loungers.From all reports The Mirage is very dated.Some people feel that Palm Cove is too quiet with kids but we feel that for what we want which is chill-out time it will be fine and that we can always rent a car and take them into Cairns or Port douglas if need be.
shooshy is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Everyone, thank you for all this advice. It truly is helpful to hear from people who have actually been to these places! At this point I am leaning to one of the recommended apartments in Port Douglas that is within walking distance to the restaurants and stores. After all the driving I do daily on the LA freeways, I prefer to just be able to walk to places.

O'Brien -
I sent 2 emails to Hibiscus in Port Douglas to check availability but haven't heard back. How did you book with them? Directly or through some agency?
I will also check out Mandalay and Shalimar and Mowbray.

Thanks for the tip on the Sunlover site. Am still going through all the property descriptions. Very helpful to have so many properties in one place.
Shoooshy -
Your post is making me think I should consider Palm Cove again! AAAGH! On one hand, my 11 year old loves the super fancy pools at resorts (like in Hawaii) and would probably like the Outrigger/Sea Temple but I figure that we are not going all the way to Australia for her to just hang aroung the hotel pool. Maybe we will stay in both PD and PC....

I'm spending so much time on this that I have been neglecting work (besides
this is more fun!)

Again, thanks to all of you!
socalfam is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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While I agree with the reccomendation by ionaoz of the excellent ocean view rooms at The Peninsula, they do not cater to children under 15. Good thing from my point of view, but not for the OP who has an 11 year old.
wallaby is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Hi, Wallaby thats a bit of a surprise as we had a night there at the end of January on the way to Cooktown and there were a couple of kids in the pool, perhaps the policy is flexible depending on the number of kids and season.
Socalfam I have never had much luck getting a response to email in FNQ would suggest it's worth investing in a telephone call as it's peak season up there at the moment. It's also worth it to discuss your actual room allocation as Hibiscus has a range of options including 'swim out' directly into the pool from your apartment terrace or balcony with a hot tub.
ionaoz is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 05:17 AM
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We did our reservations thru our travel agent. But we did make our spa treatment reservations thru e-mails. We all got a spa treatment when we got there what a help that was. We started from Vermont so we had a trip to unwind from.
obrien641 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 426
hi, can i add another place for you? we stayed at a full serviced apartment on macrossan (the main street in pt. douglas). it was very nice, the people at the front desk were very helpful. there is a small pool as well. it was very close to the grocery store and there is also a nice day spa on that block.


wherever you stay, i am sure you will have a great time!
quimbymoy is offline  

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