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“Clean & close to harbour”

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Cairns Harbour Lights
Ranked #16 of 82 Specialty Lodging in Cairns
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed October 12, 2008

We booked into the studio harbour view for one night. It is perfect for a quick stay; everything was clean, the King bed was comfortable and the bathroom is reasonably sized. The balcony overlooking the harbour is lovely. When they say "harbour view" they really mean it as the hotel is placed directly in front of the harbour, and you can see everything from the bedroom window. We were not woken by the sounds of boats (as other comments have suggested), but we did find that the flatscreen television was possibly the smallest flatscreen television in existence. If you plan on watching TV it would be advisable to stay in a one bedroom rather than a studio, but for a quick stay the studio was great. The location is ideal as well, with the city and the harbour in walking distance. Would stay here again.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Tartikular
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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723 - 729 of 784 reviews

Reviewed October 11, 2008

We booked a 2 bedroom harbour view apartment to bookend our trip to Lizard Island. After regularly checking the rate on wotif I was secure that our rate was the best on offer but wotif did allert me to a possible problem...Harbour Rooms are king bed only. A week before we arrivedI rang the hotel and was assured that beds split into twins so no problem.

Until we arrived and our room was indeed 2 kings and no way of splitting. I spoke to the receptionist who was able to offer 10th floor hinterland and Hilton view but it was not what we had booked the location for. I could have had a much cheaper stay elsewhere if I wanted to look at other buildings or the hinterland.

Full credit to the reception staff who relocated the kids into the twin room on level 10 and left us in our now 1 bedroom harbour view 206. No extra charge. Well done. (kids don't care about location too far from us as further is sometimes better).

The room was well equipped with a full kitchen, lounge area, large screen TV and big balcony. TV's in the hotel room are tiny so if TV size is important...not a good choice. The kid's did suffer noise issues from Cafe Mondo during the evening. The bathroom had a shower and the hallway cupboard hid a laundry..nopt essential but used on both visits.

The pool area had a few lounges and a nice view over the Marina but the strong sea breeze made sitting up there wet unpleasant...not the hotel's fault..they don't control the weather.

Our second room 209 was much larger...the kids were up in 902 this time again no charge extra and sorted before we arrived...full marks! A small welcome gift was left in our room as a retruning guest. The kitchen however was a kitchenette and I was unable to locate a toaster. This time we had a bar fridge and small dishwasher, not an issue as I was not planning to cook but on alonger stay this may have been frustrating. In both rooms the appliances were smeg.

209 had a bath and a shower with a view over the marina. What we lost in the kitchen we gained in the bathroom. The shower fitting would not remain in place much to our frustration, apparently kids had the same issue and noise again.

Neither 206 or 209 experienced any noise from the restaurants directly below. I think being in the heart of Cairns noise is inevitable.

In all Harbour Lights is a great overnight option but I think for longer stays head out of Cairns and into the Northern beaches, palm Cove etc

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank GurusW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

We stayed at the Sebel Harbour Lights hotel in a studio room for 3 nights in September. We arrived early in the morning and although our room would not be ready until the early afternoon, the receptionist was helpful in storing our bags and discussing activities with us that we could do that day.

When we got to our room we were delighted with the view over the harbour (we could even see the boat that would be taking us to the Great Barrier Reef the next day). The hotel does have a "clinical" feel as others have said and the rooms are minimal and a little basic but very clean and we didn't really spent much time in the room anyway so it was perfect for our needs.There is a pool at the top of the hotel which we didn't use but it looked nice when we went to see it. We did get locked out on the pool deck as our key card failed to work, but a quick call down to reception and we were "rescued" in just a couple of minutes!

The hotel is really well located. There are a good choice of restaurants within a short distance. There is a travel centre located in the same buidling and the ferry terminal for some of the reef tours is just next door (which was ideal as we had an early start for our trip).

On the whole we would recommend this hotel to people who are going to Cairns to see and do all the various activities on offer, rather than people looking to have a relaxing hotel to sit around in. We felt it was good value for money.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank C&D-London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2008

We booked a 1 bedroom apartment for 5 nights whilst on a recent visit to Cairns after reading the reviews on TripAdvisor.

Check-in was straightforward although it would have been a nice touch if the girl in reception had smiled at least once during the process. Perhaps she was having a bad day ?

I can understand now why a previous review called the hotel 'clinical'. As a general comment, the property could accurately be called windy, cold & sterile, but certainly not warm & inviting.

I've been told the term used to describe the room furnishings is 'minimalist', still the apartment was spacious and functional and the hotel is in a convenient location.

We had an issue with parking availability for our rental car as the number of carparks that the hotel makes available to patrons is inadequate. It required a telephone call to the hotel manager at 11.00pm in order to obtain a carpark in the spacious staff parking area when I refused to leave my vehicle parked in the street.

The explanation was that the guest carpark overflow didn't occur frequently, hence the limited number of parking spaces for guests. I would suggest that it demonstrates poor management.

This was an known problem that would have been easily solved with a standardised contingency plan, allowing the night manager to allocate temporary carparking in the staff carpark without needing to seek the permission of the hotel manager.

Whilst this situation only occurred on the 1st night of our stay, I found myself wondering if it would be necessary to contact the hotel manager upon each return to the hotel carpark.

All in all, we found the hotel to be 'satisfactory' but we won't be returning to the Harbour Lights as the 'Sebel feel' was lacking compared to other Sebel hotels.

  • Stayed: September 2008
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2  Thank 2TravellersAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2008

We stayed a this hotel for two nights after having spent some time in Cape Tribulation.

We were happy to spend a little more for a treat and so we opted for a harbour view. (It was a studio room because we didn't see the point in spending money on a kitchen etc, when we knew we were going to eat out.) It was great! We loved the small balcony where we ate breakfast on both mornings (even though it was expensive).

The location was good, right on the harbour front and only about a 5-minute walk to the centre of Cairns.

The room was comfortable, plush and clean. We didn't use any of the other services of the hotel so can't comment on them. We did though pay $10/hour for a late check-out so we could go on a day trip and get showered afterwards.

We would stay here again.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank iasonas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2008

New building apparantly hated by locals as being too big and too close to water. Is directly on Marina Frontage. Great views on water side. New apartments, bedroom TV was dead, cupboards actually falling apart, tap fell off. Appliances look good but are CHEAP. Worst asect is NOISE. Apartments have large terraces which are treated as outdoor rooms day and night. TVs could be heard and conversations went on all night. Woken 4.30am by loud duff duff music downstairs, he did turn it off when I asked but loud, unsavoury conversation went on. Next door apartment had 4 extremely LOUD women who also had to be asked one morning to shut door and quieten down. Building houses hotel, rental apartments and private apartments. No building management and no responsibility for control by anyone. Building is much like a penitentary outside your room, masses of steel grates and heavy steel security gates everywhere. The top floors (up to 12) may be quieter away from the 4th floor terrace.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank cyclewal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2008

This hotel is located right by the water and we got a studio that had a harbour view. Everything is very upscale and modern. I felt very pampered especially after my stay on the liveaboard the night before. The only downside was the tiny tv. I couldn't believe the tv was so small even after reading other reviews about it. We didn't spend too much time in the hotel but it was so convenient to the downtown area. The staff was a bit cold but efficient. I geuss that's the way they are at an upscale hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2008
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Thank ohwang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cairns Harbour Lights

Address: 1 Marlin Parade | CityPort Harbourfront Complex, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Cairns
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 82 Specialty Lodging in Cairns
Price Range: $112 - $257 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Cairns Harbour Lights 4*
Number of rooms: 94
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Also Known As:
Cairns Harbour Lights Hotel Cairns
Harbour Lights Apartments Cairns

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