As a former long-term Port Douglas resident turned professional traveller, I know the local hotels and restaurants very well indeed. Readers often ask me where to stay, which is the best hotel in Port Douglas, what hostel is most affordable and what accommodation is best for families. They need recommendations for backpackers, family holidays, for budget trips, and for luxury romantic breaks, the complete cross-section of travel styles. I’ve put together a few suggestions at multiple price points to get you started. But first, lets talk about Port Douglas as a destination.
- Where to Stay in Port Douglas. Hotel and Hostel Recommendations.
- Best Hostels and Campsites in Port Douglas
- Mid Range Accommodation in Port Douglas
- Staying Near Port Douglas
- Airbnb in Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a small, beautifully located, resort town around 1 hour north of Cairns by car. People visit Port Douglas for our tropical climate, unspoilt, natural beach and to take trips to the Great Barrier Reef and into the Daintree Rainforest. Those are the big draws but there are loads of other attractions in the area, paid and natural.
There is a lot of Port Douglas content on this travel blog already and we also cover the surrounding area. If you’re looking for ideas on what to do in the area, try these:
- Great Barrier Reef Tours From Port Douglas
- Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
- Seeing Wild Platypus on the Atherton Tablelands
- Feeding George the Groper
- Crocodile Spotting in Port Douglas
- Things to Do in and Around Port Douglas.
- Visiting Daintree and Cape Tribulation
Port Douglas also offers visitors some great dining opportunities, plenty of places for children to play and a changing scene of local festivals and events. I should particularly mention Port Douglas Carnivale which is held in May every year. Our family is very fond of Carnivale’s Seafood Festival and the retro family street parade.
Where to Stay in Port Douglas. Hotel and Hostel Recommendations.
We have some deliciously luxurious top-end hotels and resorts in Port, a fair cover of mid-range places and a few budget options for young backpackers or families.
Golf courses and spas are thick on the ground and many hotels offer gyms.
I’d like to share some of our favourite places with you. Forgive me, I’m not in Port at the moment, so I have few hotel and hostel photos of my own to share, but I’ll be back in Port next year to review more Port Douglas hotels and share images here.
Best Area to Stay in Port Douglas
The heart of Port Douglas, the town, shops, restaurants and market, are at the tip of a long narrow peninsula. Macrossan Street is the main road from 4 Mile Beach and it passes directly through town to Dickinson’s Inlet ( Where the Sunday Market is held and where you’ll find the Marina and Sugar Wharf). Not many hotels are in this area. Most of the larger hotels are spread along the peninsula and some are quite a long way out of town. From Sea Temple, for instance, expect a walk of around 45 minutes to Macrossan Street.
Some hotels are on the beach side ( Sea Temple included) but few are truly beach front. Because Four Mile Beach is a protected area a strip of trees and, in places, jungle, backs the beach and prevents sea views. Sea Temple has boardwalks through to the beach through the natural forest. It’s only a few metres and we think this is rather a nice feature.
The Sheraton is as close as Port Douglas gets to beach side. This gives the beach a natural appearance but unfortunately there is nowhere to get a meal or drink on the beach. For dining with a view try the restaurants on Dickinson’s Inlet instead.
The best area to stay in Port Douglas depends on your needs. Are you willing to walk or take a car into town? Do you want to be footsteps from the beach? Would you prefer to be on Macrossan St. ? Importantly do you have a car? Most of the outer hotels will operate shuttles but Australia is a country built around car ownership. We’ve indicated below where these hotels are located.
The Best Hotels in Port Douglas
Some of the best hotels in Port Douglas, all enjoying excellent ratings are:
- Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa. Our favourite, see below. That incredible pool! It’s at least 45 mins walk from here into town but the beach here at the southern end is very quiet and natural.
- Coconut Grove Another lovely one and right on Macrossan St.
- The Sheraton Mirage The first and original. Close to town and as beach-front as Port gets. Major celebrities stay here. Amazing breakfast buffet.
- QT Port Douglas
- Peppers Beach Club
- Niramaya Villas and Spa
- Mandalay Luxury Beach Front Apartments
- Saltwater Luxury Apartments
- Shantara Apartments Port Douglas – Adults only retreat
Personal Reviews of Some of the Best Hotels in Port Douglas
Sea Temple Resort and Spa
We have stayed at Sea Temple, now known as Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa, many times. It’s very luxurious, the food is great and the centerpiece of the resort, this incredible 3,000m sq pool, is absolutely divine.
We have used the spa here several times for waxing and various massages and found all services to be excellent.
We can also highly recommend the swim out apartments, the ultimate in luxury vacationing. If no swim out rooms are available, the apartments with plunge pools are also very good. All apartments and rooms are spacious, beautiful and luxurious.
Sea Temple is at the south end of Four Mile beach, tucked away behind a natural, untouched strip of tropical growth. There really isn’t such a thing as a beach-front hotel in Port, all that you can see from the shore is a backdrop of trees.
To walk from Sea Temple to the centre of Port takes me 45 minutes along the beach, I’m a brisk walker. There is a shuttle bus that will run you into town if you don’t want to use your own car. Take a look at Pullman Sea Temple Resort and Spa here.
The Sheraton Mirage
The Sheraton Resort was the first big hotel in Port Douglas and is the closest thing to beach front that you will find. In places you will have a view of the beach where palm trees are thin on the ground. The Sheraton has huge lagoon pools, over 2 hectares, some with their own sandy “beach”. It also has its own wedding chapel, should you feel the urge to tie the knot. Vast buffet breakfasts and various evening buffet feasts are a trade mark of the Sheraton’s dining scene.
The Sheraton is much closer to town than Sea Temple, but still not in the centre. Check out The Sheraton Grand here.
QT is the new kid on the block. It’s new, modern and funky. We love the retro design and candy-bright seaside colours that feature throughout.
QT Port Douglas is another place with a stunning pool featuring bridges, islands and spa pools.
My kids’ favourite thing here, after the food, is the huge fish pond, they always squealed with delight as they fed the resident barramundi, turtles and eels.
QT offers interesting evening buffet dining in Bazaar restaurant, it’s popular with locals and residents.
An interesting feature at QT is the Moonlight Cinema, you can watch recent movies under the tropical stars in season. Check out QT ( formerly Rydges Sabaya) here.
Best Hostels and Campsites in Port Douglas
Dougies Backpacker Resort
The first time I came to Port Douglas as a backpacker in 2001, I stayed at Dougies in our little 2 man tent. It’s not just a camp site, Dougies has dorms, private rooms and caravan tents for hire. There is a huge self catering kitchen, bar and TV area along with a nice little pool and plenty of hammocks. Dougies is a short walk from the centre of town and is perfect for backpackers.
It’s still going strong over a decade later, has a good reputation and is a great lower-cost choice. Take a look at Dougies here.
Mid Range Accommodation in Port Douglas
Martinique on Macrossan
If you need to be right in town, maybe you don’t have a car or want to dine and drink in our local establishments, Martinique on Macrossan, as the name suggests, in on Macrossan St, the main road that crosses Port Douglas, from Four Mile Beach to the Inlet. They hold the Trip Advisor certificate of excellence and have a small tropical pool for a stinger season dip ( or any other time!). Rates for a 1 bedroom apartment at around $200 AUD/ night, See Martinique here.
Staying Near Port Douglas
There are a couple of amazing hotels just outside Port Douglas which you really should take a look at. Silky Oaks is set in the rainforest near Mossman Gorge and has a great food reputation, as does Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Thala Beach has it’s own spectacular beach and is a great place to spot local wildlife, including dugongs ( sea cows).
Airbnb in Port Douglas
There certainly are Airbnb properties in Port Douglas, some private homes with rooms to rent, some whole houses or appartments. Airbnb works for Port Douglas. We actually used to rent out our home in Port through Airbnb, something we’re about to start doing again in 2018. So sign up here to get our credit ( as a host or as a customer) and come stay with us in Port!
This is just the start of what I hope will be an extensive look at, and unbiased review of, the accommodation options in Port Douglas. We’re looking forward to being back in Port next year for another slice of tropical life and sampling the best hotels in Port Douglas to share with you here.