Darwin: Hotel reviews

Darwin Insider
Typical Darwin house (AAP Image/Richard Durham)
Typical Darwin house (AAP Image/Richard Durham)
Whether you're looking to splash out or keep to a budget, our Insider has the best Darwin info out there.

Best place to stay

It's tough choice between Moonshadow Villas just near the city, or the Mandalay on the city's Esplanade when calling the best place to stay in Darwin. Set in lush rainforest, Moonshadow is a Balinese-style idyll that you won't want to leave, while the Mandalay is a three-bedroom house built by the visionary Lord McAlpine (who built Broome's Cable Beach Club) in the style of an early Darwin stone house. With beautiful interiors, fine art on the walls, Internet access, cable TV, and fridges stocked with fresh fruit and champagne, both these places are world-class. Neither is cheap ($350-$695 a night, with one-night stays a rarity), but run as they are with such imagination and attention to detail they are excellent value.

Short-stay houses and apartments

Both Moya, who runs Moonshadow, and Phil, whose family owns the Mandalay, have other short-stay houses and apartments dotted around the city. Moya has a self-catering apartment called Envy on Gardiner Street, with a funky yellow-and-black modern-masculine interior and state-of-the-art everything that can sleep up to six, while Phil has Coast, an old Darwin elevated house on Larrakeyah Terrace with a beach-house feel and views over the harbour. Again, as both these are run to impeccable standards and charged out at rates comparable to a four- or five-star hotel ($350-$480 a night) they represent excellent value, especially for families or small groups.

The Vibe Medina hotel in the heart of Darwin's Wharf Precinct is a fresh and fashionable hotel with a sunny alfresco restaurant and poolside bar. Rooms start at $150 and range up to $280/night for a Medina one-bedroom apartment.

The Esplanade

Of the stretch of chain-hotels on Darwin's Esplanade, I prefer the recently renovated Mantra with its one-, two- or three-bedroom short-stay apartments. Rooms are fully equipped and stylish and with great views to the Arafura Sea, prices range from $150 to $530 a night.

Mitchell Street

Along Mitchell Street — the rambunctious centre of Darwin's nightlife — you'll find budget and backpacker accommodation. At Melaleuca on Mitchell Street (MOM) there are two- and four-bed rooms as well as bunk-bed dorm accommodation for the young and young at heart ($30-$150 per night). MOM has a wide terrace overlooking Mitchell Street, and is just the spot for those who enjoy socialising either (1) by the pool, with a mango daiquiri in hand or (2) in the pool during a water-volleyball game.

Other options

Steeles on Zealandia Terrace, Larrakeyah, is a long-established B&B which is family run, unpretentious and within easy strolling distance of the city ($150-$250 a night). Sky City Casino has adequate if somewhat dated rooms ($340-$500) that open onto the casino's wide green lawns and the sands of Mindil Beach; while the Darwin Airport Resort offers "Territory modern" bungalow-style accommodation with a nice central pool area ($150-$400) just 350m from the airport. Finally, out at Jingili in Darwin's Northern Suburbs, is Feathers, a birdlife sanctuary where magpie geese, black swans and giant brolgas as tall as a man wander freely in the grounds. There are four very private rooms with room for a maximum of eight guests at any one time on this child-free property. From $350 per night.

Do you know other hotels or resorts that should also be mentioned in regards to Darwin stays? Tell us about them below.

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