Australia

12 Of Darwin’s Best Hotels For The Ultimate Vacay

By Isabel Croker
11th Jun 2021

a woman in a pool at one of Darwin's best hotels, fringed with palm trees, at dusk.

It’s no secret that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and while we’re certainly blessed, it makes deciding where to go for your next getaway that much harder. Well, we’ve got you sorted. Darwin may be one of Australia’s less-visited capital cities, but trust us, it absolutely needs to be on your bucket list when you’re planning your upcoming vacay. Think—stunning, azure waters, a thriving cultural scene and award-winning restaurants, all fringed by heritage-listed national parks. Bliss.

Being one of the Northern Territory’s greatest gems, Darwin is home to some pretty standout hotels. So, if you’re visiting the Top End for a holiday or you’re just treating yourself to a relaxing staycay, you’ll need a place to rest your head. From chic city escapes to beachfront apartments, we’ve done the hard work for you and slept around to give you this ultimate list of Darwin’s best hotels.

Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites

We won’t deny we do like to indulge in a bit of luxury service, but we also love the freedom of being able to do everything ourselves, when we want, how we want. After all, isn’t that what holidays are all about? You certainly can do everything you want at Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites, where you’re treated with a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining area, your own balcony and barbeque. These self-contained (yet still indulgently luxurious) apartments are perfectly positioned in the heart of Darwin, just a five-minute walk from the beautiful Wave Lagoon. Lap up the lush waterfront views, while sipping on a coffee, made fresh from your personal in-room Nespresso coffee machine. Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites easily nabs a spot on our list of best hotels in Darwin.

Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

If you’re after waterfront views, nothing touches Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront. It’s literally in the name. The hotel itself is filled with good vibes, friendly staff and funky decor. Once you’ve lusted over the waterfront views—which are literally on your doorstep—relax in the wave pool or work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art fitness centre. You’ll find us kicking back at the downstairs Curve Cafe, which is decorated in bright Aboriginal artwork and traditional fishing nets. The perfect place to kick your feet up, escape the heat and indulge in a glass (or two) of vino. Step out your door, wander along the gorgeous promenade and you’ll see why Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront has earned its spot as one of Darwin’s best hotels.

a room at Vibe Hotel Darwin

Mantra Pandanas

Want to stay at a hotel fit for a king? Well, you’re in luck—Prince Charles stayed at Mantra Pandanas when he visited Darwin, and if that doesn’t give you an idea of how fancy the hotel is, we don’t know what will. The tallest hotel in Darwin’s CBD oozes sleek, minimalist vibes and its 336 rooms are tastefully fitted out with modern decor. If you weren’t already convinced you were in the tropics, the lagoon-style pool and luxury Endota Day Spa will seal the deal with their luxe tropical styling. Table Forty Three is the jewel in Mantra Pandanas’ crown, with this famous restaurant whipping up deliciously refined meals that attract hungry patrons from far and wide.

Hilton Darwin

Bringing a touch of international flair to the Top End, the Hilton Darwin is renowned as one of the best hotels in Darwin for a plethora of good reasons. In classic Hilton style, the monochromatic rooms have stunning views of Darwin Harbour, are each fitted with a private bathtub and display award-winning Indigenous artworks. Hilton Darwin lives up to the international hotel brand’s world-class reputation and situated in the heart of the CBD, it’s an easy 250-metre walk to the bustling Esplanade. Fill your belly at the famous PepperBerry Restaurant, where modern Australian cuisine artfully showcases bush flavours, then wet your whistle at the Palm Court Bar & Lounge, which whips up a mean martini. Shaken, not stirred.

H On Smith Hotel

H on Smith Hotel might not reach the luxurious heights of the Hilton, but you won’t have to reach so far into your wallet when you rest your head here. This excellently priced gem boasts 186 modern rooms, all with views of either Cullen Bay or Darwin cityscape, and a huge outdoor swimming pool, fringed by lush tropical gardens. Built, designed and owned by locals, you bet they know exactly what you need to make the most of your stay up north and they’ve catered to your every need. After a busy day gallivanting around the city, dig into refreshing, seasonal Asian cuisine at the poolside DBar & Restaurant. H on Smith Hotel is ticking all the boxes as one of Darwin’s best hotels.

a pool next to the H on Smith Hotel at dusk

Darwin City Hotel

Behind its frosted glass, geometric facade, Darwin City Hotel is just as slick inside. A commanding presence on Smith Street, in the bustling heart of Darwin’s CBD, Darwin City Hotel is the perfect space for work and rest. The bleisure (business and pleasure, get it?) vibe resonates throughout the hotel—from the business centre to the top-class room service and private balconies, everything is designed to effortlessly shift from work to play. The unrivalled location means it's oh-so-easy for you to pop to Crocosaurus Cove, just a two-minute walk from your door or get groovy at Darwin Entertainment Centre, which is an easy eight-minute walk away. Our top pick for one of Darwin’s best hotels for business travellers (with a sprinkle of fun).

Mindil Beach Casino Resort

If your idea of luxury is more tropical paradise than city chic, prepare to fall in love with Mindil Beach Casino Resort. Also arguably the ritziest stay in town, this is the ultimate destination for guests who like the finer things in life and want to experience the Top End in style. Set on 30 acres of lush tropical gardens, perched on the Arafura Sea, this five-star gem boasts 154 elegant rooms with luxe AF fit outs including stone-clad bathrooms and egg-shaped spa baths. Despite the natural beauty just out your front door, Mindil Beach Casino Resort is one of those places you barely need to leave: indulge in authentic Italian flavours at il Piatto, relax at your private white-sand beach and slurp up cocktails at Darwin’s only swim-up bar. And the name? Yep, it’s even got its own private casino.

two women eat breakfast at the edge of a pool

Oaks Darwin Elan Hotel

If there was a competition for the best views of Darwin, Oaks Darwin Elan Hotel has got this one in the bag. Stretching 27 floors into the city’s skyline, this much-loved Darwin fave boasts views over the city, Darwin Harbour or Frances Bay. Either way, you're winning. The onsite leisure facilities are not to be scoffed at, with a rooftop outdoor pool, top-notch fitness centre and the iconic Original Australian kitchen. Take your stay to the next level and expand your culinary horizons at this modern Australian joint or take advantage of the five-star service and order directly to your room. Tucking into some of the Northern Territory’s best steak while soaking up the stunning cityscape views doesn’t sound half bad.

Elsey On Parap

We’re a sucker for a city escape right in the beating heart of the CBD, but there’s nothing quite like finding a sweet spot just off the beaten track. Say hello to Elsey on Parap, located in the sweet town of Parap, just outside of Darwin’s CBD while still retaining its laid back charm. The spacious serviced apartments spoil you with trendy features, oh-so-modern appliances and your own private balcony. Try and sneak in a weekend stay so you can time your visit in with the famous Saturday morning Parap Markets, which sling up some of the best Asian street food around. Our top pick for one of the best off-the-beaten-track places to stay in Darwin.

Palms City Resort

Picture this: you dip your feet into the cooling, azure waters of your private pool, surrounded by lush greenery, while you sip on a personally delivered cocktail. No, you’re not in the Bahamas, you’ve just escaped to a tropical getaway at the gorgeous Palms City Resort. This calm oasis is nestled in the heart of Darwin’s CBD, but you’re whisked away to paradise as soon as you enter the resort. The simplistically styled rooms are decked out with luxe amenities, your own balcony and modern decor. Palms City Resort defs deserves a spot as one of Darwin’s best hotels.

Argus Hotel Darwin

Setting a new standard for ‘prime location’, Argus Hotel Darwin is literally in the middle of the city. And no, this doesn’t mean loud cars and music at night. We’re talking a 600-metre walk to the Darwin Entertainment Centre; just a hop, skip and a jump to Darwins’ best attractions which are all so temptingly close. The contemporary style rooms pay homage to the land and are adorned with Aboriginal artwork from the nearby Merrepen Art Centre in Nauiyu Nambiyu. We recommend soaking up the postcard-perfect views of the city while relaxing on your sweet Juliet balcony, vino in hand. Argus is Darwin at its very best.

Ramada Suites by Wyndham Zen Quarter Darwin

Ramada Suites by Wyndham Zen Quarter Darwin quickly made a name for itself as one of Darwin’s best hotels. There’s a few things going for it—spacious, modern rooms, deluxe amenities and your own personal balcony are some of the perks that first come to mind. Situated just an easy 10-minute walk from the nightlife of Mitchell Street, the best of Darwin is just out your front door. Our favourite part? You can escape the Top End heat by diving into the 28-metre saltwater infinity pool. Trust us, you might never want to leave.

If the stunning waters and tropical palms of the Top End have got you wanderlusting hard, we’ve got you covered with more vacay inspo. Check out our ultimate guide to Darwin and start planning your next getaway, stat.

Image Credit: Tourism NT/Cait Miers, H on Smith Hotel

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchases.

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