138284 Orpheus Island

The best luxury resorts and hotels in Queensland

When you stay in luxury hotels in Queensland, the accommodation is more than a bed to rest your head. It’s a place to experience the best of where you’re visiting with an extra dose of comfort and class.

Whether you want to hike through a 100-million-year-old rainforest, snorkel the world’s largest coral reef or go off the grid, we’ve uncovered the best luxury hotels you probably didn’t know about.

BRISBANE

THE CALILE HOTEL

The best places to visit in Queensland in 2019

The moment you step inside this urban resort, you’ll have to pinch yourself as a reminder that you’re in Brisbane.

The newest kid on the (James) street, The Calile Hotel has quickly become one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city with the likes of Zoe Foster Blake choosing to vacay here.

But this place is more than an uber-cool resort. It’s a destination that’s home to famed Greek restaurant Hellenika, which overlooks the pool terrace and 175 rooms of goodness. Micro-precinct Ada Lane also brings a mix of restaurants and boutiques on the ground floor.

Must-do moment: Rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul at KAILO Wellness Medispace and feel a sense of relaxation wash right over you.

W BRISBANE

There are many things that bring the wow factor to the W Brisbane.

For one, it was the first five-star hotel to open in the city in 20 years. It’s also designed to model the Brisbane River and pay homage to the local Indigenous culture. Oh, and dogs are allowed too. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.

With panoramic views from South Bank to Mount Coot-tha, the W is home to bars, restaurants (like Three Blue Ducks) and over 300 rooms, all with a guaranteed view.

Must-do moment: The W is famous for its “Whenever, Whatever” policy which allows guests to simply make a call during their stay and ask for anything (that’s legal).

SPICERS PEAK LODGE

With the title of Australia’s highest non-alpine lodge, Spicers Peak Lodge is figuratively and literally the height of luxury.

Although you’re only 90 minutes from Brisbane, get ready to feel delightedly isolated from the hustle of city life thanks to 10,000 acres of wilderness. We’re talking untouched rainforest and a Heritage-listed national park kind of wilderness.

Here, you can spend your days indulging in a massage at Spa Anise or dining at the two Chef Hats-awarded Peak restaurant.

Must-do moment: Take advantage of the walking trails, mountain bike adventures, and discovery tours at your fingertips.

NEAR CAIRNS

RILEY

Tower | It's time you met Riley Cairns

If you’re staying at a luxury hotel in Queensland’s Tropical North that doesn’t revolve around water, you need to find somewhere else to stay.

That somewhere is Riley; a five-hour hotel perched pretty on the Cairns Esplanade waterfront with a massive lagoon-style pool at its heart.

Minimising its footprint is a core focus for Riley, with room keys made from recycled wood, cardboard water cartons over plastic bottles, and refillable bathroom amenities.

Must-do moment: Catch the sunset and drink in sweeping views of the esplanade at Rocco atop of the tower building, which is also Cairns’ only rooftop bar.

DAINTREE ECOLODGE AND SPA

When real life has you itching to run away into the rainforest, point your GPS towards Daintree EcoLodge and Spa.

Tucked within a 100-million-year-old rainforest, this luxury hotel combines nature and culture in the most blissful of settings. With 15 deluxe bayans (AKA private treehouses) and a wellness spa that uses Aboriginal healing methods, this place is unique in its own right.

Must-do moment: Is there a better way to reconnect with nature than from the comfort of your private bath? Opt for the Rainforest Banyan, designed with minimalist luxury in mind.

LIZARD ISLAND

If you looked up “luxury island” in the dictionary, you would likely find Lizard Island (aka one of National Geographic‘s Unique Lodges of the World).

As Australia’s northernmost island resort on the Great Barrier Reef – accessed exclusively by private charter from Cairns – you’ve got one of the seven natural wonders of the world right at your doorstep.

Must-do moment: Take your pick from the island’s 24 powdery-white beaches, grab some snorkel gear, and voila.

SILKY OAKS LODGE

You can’t help but feel lustrous after a stay at Silky Oaks Lodge and Healing Waters Spa. From its restful location in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest to the ancient spa techniques used to nurture body and spirit, this is a place where time ticks to nature’s clock.

Slow down and rest easy in your rainforest treehouse, moving only to dine on seasonal local produce over the Mossman River or unwind with a signature spa ritual.

Must-do moment: When you want to up the tempo, complimentary activities like guided walks, river canoes, and yoga give you the opportunity to connect with the lodge’s natural surroundings.

BEDARRA ISLAND

Bedarra is an all-inclusive island resort off the coast of Mission Beach home to only nine luxury villas, hiding among 45 hectares of rainforest.

Famed for its seclusion (with a maximum of 18 guests at any time), it’s a place where you’re more likely to run into a fish instead of another human being as you gallivant around the island.

Must-do moment: Have a private picnic on nearby deserted islands or scuba dive the outer Great Barrier Reef. Heck, even if you stayed put in your villa the whole time the experience would be just as good.

THE GOLD COAST

NIGHTFALL

Nightfall Wilderness Camp 2019 Photo by Lauren Bullen (@gypsea_lust) |luxury hotels in Queensland

Photo by @gypsea_lust

If you think camping and luxury don’t belong in the same boat, then boy, are you in for a treat.

Stone bathtubs, fully-catered organic cuisine, and private rainforest views are just some of the perks you’ll find at nightfall camp. Set in the ancient Gondwana Rainforests in the Gold Coast Hinterland, this intimate glamping experience has completely redefined the term luxury through their hand-built, architect-inspired safari tents.

Limited to only six travellers at any time guarantees intimacy and privacy, but keep in mind you’ll need to book well in advance to secure your spot.

Must-do moment: Take a deep breath and soak in your private bath with uninterrupted views of Lamington National Park.

THE OUTBACK

GILBERTON OUTBACK RETREAT

It’s not often you’d expect to find a five-star luxury hut in the middle of an 88,000-acre working cattle station, but that’s exactly what you’ll stumble upon at Gilberton Outback Retreat (around a 10-hour drive from Townsville or Cairns).

A tin shed on steroids, the exclusive abode is the epitome of rustic-luxe, handmade with local granite and sandstone, with mozzie nets draping a king four-poster bed and a freestanding semi-outdoor bathtub with panoramic views over the Gilbert River.

Must-do moment: During the day, put your adventure boots on. You can explore granite cathedrals and natural springs, or go back in time to the gold rush days panning for nuggets. Before nightfall, get the bathtub prepped for the best sunset of your life.

NEAR TOWNSVILLE

ORPHEUS ISLAND

According to Greek mythology, the name ‘Orpheus’ derives from the ancient musician and poet renowned for his ability to charm all living things from stones to Hades himself. Needless to say, its island namesake bears the same enchanting effect.

Upon heli arrival to Orpheus Island from Townsville or Cairns, you’ll be met with 11km of turquoise coastline dotted with 14 luxury rooms fringed by lush national park on one side and coral reefs on the other.

Must-do moment: Everything. For specifics, here are 7 reasons why you need to holiday on Orpheus Island.

THE WHITSUNDAYS

QUALIA

qualia pool view | luxury hotels Queensland

Ahh, qualia… the word itself has become synonymous with Australian luxury, bagging more awards than you can count on both hands and toes.

So why is it that holiday-goers the world over can’t get enough of it? Well, there’s the jaw-dropping Whitsundays location on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, private pavilions with some serious bathtub game, and signature experiences like hot stone massages using 300-million-year-old stones. Add a golf club on its very own island, and you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for luxury.

Must-do moment: Plunge into the climate-controlled infinity pool before choppering over the Great Barrier Reef.

Looking for more luxury resorts and hotels in Queensland? Find out more about the best luxury islands in Queensland.

This post was originally published in April 2017 and updated in November 2019.