For a quick holiday in Cairns, I looked for a hotel/apartment with specific requirements: it had to be close to the esplanade yet away from the crowds; it should have harbour views, it should be peaceful and quiet and it should be quality accommodation at reasonable rates. Judging by previous reviews and self research, Cairns Harbour Lights seemed to fit the bill. That said, only personal experience would tell; so I booked a three night stay in a one bedroom apartment.
This mixed residential/holiday apartment building is located at the end of The Esplanade, between the Shangri-La and Hilton. Like these two fine hotels, it is an absolute waterfront property, unlike other 'waterfront' establishments which are in fact separated by the esplanade, sometimes at quite a distance! From the exterior, its obvious that Harbour Lights is the newest development around, about five years old. Check in was quick - I prepaid - and handled professionally by a trainee receptionist who was already quite adept at her job. A $100 credit card authorization was given and I was handed my access card for the lifts and room along with a welcome letter from the manager.
My apartment was on the fourth floor - the same level as the swimming pool and sauna - both of which I unfortunately never used. As is to be expected, the apartment, like the lobby was decorated in a smart contemporary international style, without any reference to the tropical theme which is often overdone. The apartment itself was very fresh and clean - I would even say immaculate! Its also quite spacious with a kitchenette, cupboard laundry, dining table and lounge/TV area. The bedroom is separated by a frosted glass wall and sliding door - very chic! The only minor downside was the smallish bathroom, with double access from the hall (for guests) and the bedroom (for you). Still, it was well supplied with an abundance of linen - more than I could actually use, and good quality soap and toiletries.
I usually prefer a firm bed, but even though this one tended be on the softer end of the scale I still found it extremely comfortable - so much so that I slept in far longer than expected every day. I did not check what the threadcount was for the bed linen, but judging by the feel it must have been a high count and quality. Extra pillows and blankets are in the large wardrobe, as is a small safe. There is a tiny flat screen TV in the bedroom, but given the annoying high pitch whine it emitted, I didn't bother using it.
In the main living/lounge area, there is large LCD tv with cable, free to air and on-demand movies available. Internet access can be a bit tricky, so take note: there is apparently free Wi-Fi, but only in the lobby area. In the apartments, internet is accessed via cable - located next to the TV - but note that its an ethernet connection. If you're a Mac user like me, you'll need a USB adaptor. Luckily I had my own mobile Wi-Fi, so I wasn't completely stuck. But holidays are meant for things other than web-surfing! Just to emphasize this, the view from my apartment balcony was low level (fourth floor), but still afforded a great vista of the harbour and downtown Cairns.
Overall, I was more than pleased by the high standards of this apartment on several levels such as quality, price and cleanliness. Readers will note from my previous reviews that I take especial note of an establishment's level of hygiene and cleanliness. Harbour Lights has maintained that 'just newly opened' look and feel and has the added bonus of being very close to the esplanade without the noise. I recommend this hotel to those looking for quiet, easily accessible, high quality accommodation.
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- Also Known As:
- Cairns Harbour Lights Hotel Cairns
- Harbour Lights Apartments Cairns