After our 2 night stay at the Desert Gardens Hotel, Uluru (please see my review if interested) we land at Cairns early evening and take the one hour transfer to Port Douglas dropping off at Trinity Beach and Palm Cove enroute.
Port Douglas is lovely and our home for the next 8 nights is the Retreat.
Our travel advisor listened to our requirements and budget etc, and recommended Port Douglas as a great location to stay at. Cairns is big and doesn’t have a beach apparently but mudflats. The Northern Beaches, Trinity and Palm Cove are nice but quite small resorts. Port Douglas is in-between and has lots of shops and restaurants but a nice manageable size if you stay in the main area. And it has the gorgeous 4 mile tropical beach. It is also home to the Quicksilver Barrier Reef cruises and tours, and is convenient for the Daintree Rain Forest and Cape Tribulation as they are to the north of here.
Port Douglas itself does extend a few miles to the south so you do need to check on Google where your accommodation is situated, otherwise you might need a car to get to the main area.
There is some sort of local shuttle bus but public transport is fairly limited around these parts.
The Retreat, though, on Mowbray Street is situated in a perfect location, very quiet but very convenient. Walk around 5 minutes to your left and you come to the Marina, 5 minutes to your right and you come to 4 mile beach and the main swimming net. Walk straight ahead for around 5 minutes and you come to Macrossan Street, the main street with shops, pubs, restaurants, and takeaways. There is a big Coles supermarket here and several bottle shops.
Unlike our serviced accommodation in Sydney the Retreat is self catering and this is reflected in the price. You get a few supplies to start you off but these won’t be replaced.
We stayed for 8 nights so got fresh sheets and towels mid-stay, if you stay for any less nights then they are not changed. But you can request fresh linen for a fee of around A$27- This is quite reasonable and I think we would pay this if we were staying for say one week.
We had a pool view studio apartment and very nice it was indeed. Perhaps a little more rustic than the professional website photos portray, but it was perfect for our requirements.
The air-con was very noisy, but we found that in Australia generally. There was a ceiling fan which is quite efficient, so we tended just to leave that on during the night.
We particularly enjoyed the balcony with its lovely views over the pool, with the trees and gas flares that surround it. We would often eat out here in the evening and it was just perfect with a cold glass of something in the lovely November warmth.
The only criticism I have is around a possible lack of privacy on our balcony. We had room 8 I think it was and the balcony had a concrete screen to the right but nothing to its left. Because of the building’s design, room 9 to our left was further forward and so its balcony overlooked ours and ours theirs to some extent. Presumably the same situation with room 10 to their left. They were rarely out there so it wasn’t a problem really but it might be for some people.
There is also some petty rule about not smoking on the balconies or patios but people seem to ignore this, the young couple below us had a dish full of butts and no one bothered them, so no worries there.
The pool is open to 10pm and people enjoy swimming in the dark under the light of the flares.
There is a covered BBQ area and fridge for guests use, and some tables and seating if you want to eat down there.
There is a coin operated laundry room, and soap powder is available at reception.
David & Joyce who run the place are very helpful. We had pre-booked some tours and Joyce kindly rang the various places and confirmed our pick-up times etc. They can book trips and tours for you as well, and there is a wide selection of leaflets at reception.
They don’t have computer facilities for guests but there is an internet place up in the main street if you need to do any online check-in or emails etc...
We thought Port Douglas was just lovely, especially the area where the Old Court House is, and the little white church by the beach. They regularly have weddings here on a Saturday and we enjoyed chatting to the lady minister after one.
And of course 4 mile beach, fringed and shaded with coconut palms it was just gorgeous. We swam in the stinger net of course, but the sea was so warm.
We did the Barrier Reef, Daintree, and Kuranda train and Skyrail tours, loved them and I’ll review them separately when I get the time.
But at this price range I would certainly recommend the Retreat, and of course Port Douglas.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- IDEAL ACCOMMODATION IN PORT DOUGLAS. Port Douglas Retreat Holiday Accommodation offers self-contained studio apartments in Port Douglas, Far North Queensland, Australia. Perfect holiday accommodation for couples or single travellers. EXCELLENT LOCATION. Port Douglas Retreat Holiday Accommodation is superbly located just a few minutes' walk to Four Mile Beach or Macrossan Street and Marina Mirage. VISITOR INFORMATION. With an in-house tour desk and local knowledge, your hosts can help create your wonderful Port Douglas experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Port Douglas Retreat Hotel Port Douglas