My companion and I stayed at the Pullman Reef Hotel and Casino at the beginning of September, mid-week, as part of a much longer trip around Australia and New Zealand. We found the hotel to be very good overall, but it had a few surprising quirks that kept it from being a top hotel in its category (luxury hotels). These would not keep us from staying again.
First the good: the hotel has a very good location, just a 5 minute walk to either the Esplanade (the main street facing the water where all the shops are), the Pier Complex (which has probably the best restaurants in Cairns), and the actual terminal where most of the boats to the Great Barrier Reef depart from. Only the Shangri-La and Hilton are closer (and not by all that much). The service was excellent: all our interactions with the front desk, concierge and hotel operator were professional, friendly and very helpful. The concierge helped us book our excursion to the Reef (Cairns' raison d'être) and had everything billed through our room. There's a casino attached --modest by the Vegas standards I'm used to, but a nice looking place for those inclined for taking a break at the tables.
The room was spacious, clean, and well appointed. The bathroom was also large and had both a shower and spa-tub. The toilet had a separate room (with separate entrance from the rest of the bathroom) and had a separate sink. There were sliding doors that opened up the main bathroom to the rest of the room --allowing someone in the tub to watch TV if the wished.
Now for the quirks: The in-room safe was not free. In all my travels, all around the world (click my profile), I have never, ever seen any hotel (let alone a high-end luxury hotel) have the audacity to charge a per-night fee to use the safe. Especially one with a casino attached. If this hotel were not good in every other category, I would've considered this a deal killer --especially when you're a traveler with passports. I will not stay at any other Pullman Resort outside of Cairns because of this issue. Also, even more costly, there was a fee charge for using my credit card. I made the reservation using my credit card's website, and this still cost me an additional 2%.
These two quirks result in one verdict: if you can get a better or close-enough price for the Shangri-La or Hilton, go for either of those properties. If there's a good deal here, then its worth it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of Cairns city, Pullman Reef Casino overlooks Trinity Bay and the departure point for the Great Barrier Reef. The hotel features 128 rooms and suites, all with spa baths and private garden balconies. Enjoy innovative and award-winning Thai fusion cuisine in the exquisite setting of Tamarind, or any of our eight other restaurants and bars. Other facilities include a well-equipped gymnasium, spa and rooftop swimming pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pullman Reef Hotel Cairns
- Accor Reef Hotel
- Sofitel Cairns
- Cairns Sofitel