As a former long-term Port Douglas resident, I know the local hotels fairly well. I know their restaurants extremely well, after all, my husband was head chef at one of them.
Readers often ask me where to stay in Port Douglas, they want recommendations for families, for budget trips, for romantic breaks, the whole cross section of travel styles. I’ve put together a few suggestions at multiple price points to get you started. But first, lets talk up the destination a little.
Why Stay 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.
I’ve written several posts about Port Douglas already, if you’re looking for ideas on what to do in the area, try these:
Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
Seeing Wild Platypus on the Atherton Tablelands
Feeding George the Groper
Crocodile Spotting in Port Douglas
Some Other Things to Do Around Port Douglas.
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 and tour booking services.
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.
We have stayed at Sea Temple, now known as Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa, many many times. It’s very luxurious, the food is great and the centre piece of the resort, this incredible 3,000m sq pool, is absolutely divine. I’ve used the spa here several times, as has my husband, we give it a big thumbs up. We also highly recommend the swim out apartments, the ultimate in luxury.
My husband worked here but we have no current interest in promoting this hotel, my views are entirely personal.
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 car.
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.
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
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.