8 Darwin hotels for escapes to the tropics of the Northern Territory

Want a taste of the Outback without having to rough it? These Darwin hotels might make you finally book that trip to the enticing NT.

If you’re chasing the sun for your next holiday escape, you’ll find it shining brightly most days in Darwin. Pack your swimmers and your hat because the warm weather will have you wanting to spend all your time outdoors. Embrace Darwin’s laidback vibe by chilling by the pool or on the beach, and when the sun starts to set head out into town to learn about ancient Dreamtime stories and view original indigenous art pieces. Make time to visit local markets or take part in wild fish feeding, outdoor cinemas and crocodile viewings to experience what makes Darwin a memorable holiday destination.

When it comes to spending the night, tastefully designed rooms and friendly service at Darwin hotels and resorts are matched by great food, thrilling casinos and live music. Wiggle your toes in soft white sand at exclusive resort beach clubs, or bask in on-site day spas. Darwin-central accommodation also makes a great jumping off point for visiting the many unique and precious national parks around the Northern Territory. Whether you head out for a hike or just stay in to soak in your spa bath, you’ll find a chilled out Northern retreat in Darwin.

A tropical oasis with an outdoor pool

You’ll feel like you’re being cradled in a tropical paradise at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin, what with its outdoor pool surrounded by majestic palm trees. Immerse yourself in the water or take in the view from the adjacent air-conditioned Poolside Restaurant. For a light lunch, sample the prawn cocktail or refreshing Caesar salad—or you can tuck into a saucy pulled pork burger with apple slaw to boost your energy for an afternoon of sightseeing.

You’ll feel at home in the modern and spacious rooms here. All suites include a separate living area and kitchenette for those evenings when you feel like a self-cooked meal and movie night. For a little extra space, you can choose a king junior suite and watch the sun dance on ocean waves from your crisply made bed.

Directly outside the hotel, you’ll find Bicentennial Park along the waterfront with a pathway leading to the fish-feeding sanctuary, Aquascene. Come at high tide to see hundreds of wild fish frolic in the shallow Doctors Gully to be hand-fed. You’ll also find evening entertainment at Darwin Entertainment Centre, the city’s key venue for concerts and theatre, which is right next door to the hotel.

Hilton Garden Inn Darwin

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (309 reviews)

Modern family spaces in a contemporary Darwin hotel


The Argus Hotel Darwin is a modern retreat with a self-professed dedication to customer service. The shimmering blue pool will invite you to start your day with a few laps, or cool down after a day of sightseeing. You can keep the kids close while enjoying your own space at this Darwin accommodation choice by opting for a two-bedroom suite, where contemporary Juliet balconies let you take in city or leafy views at your leisure.

When hunger strikes, fill up on a continental breakfast in the breezy poolside dining area. Alternatively, you’ll find lots of popular eateries just a short stroll from the hotel. A local crowd pleaser is Saffrron, a 10-minute drive away in nearby Parap, where you’ll find aromatic and authentic Indian food. You can choose from family favourites like butter chicken masala and lamb korma, or try out locally caught barramundi mooli poached in ginger, turmeric and coconut milk infused with spices.

Argus Hotel Darwin

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (1926 reviews)

Central Darwin hotel with access to shopping hotspots


Located on Smith Street and alongside the central hub for shopping in Darwin is the H Hotel Darwin. Locally designed and built, this hotel takes the comforts of home to an extra level with thoughtful pillow-top mattresses and custom furniture. To take a break from the heat, you’ll want to stop into the on-site D Bar & Restaurant for a table overlooking the pool—a great spot for an orange-kissed Aperol spritz while you plan your activities for the next day. If you’re there for lunch, ask for the tapas menu for light bites like tempura barramundi with pickled mayonnaise. If you go for something richer (hello, chorizo pasta!), you can work off the indulgence in the hotel’s gleaming rooftop gym.

The nearby Star Village arcade is a good place to start your shopping if you love vintage or quirky boutiques. Plus it’s just across the road from the Victoria Hotel, one of Darwin’s oldest pubs, when you find yourself fancying a cooling ale. If you’re an art lover keen to buy or browse, the Australian Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery is a few blocks away on the corner of Knuckey and Mitchell Street.

H On Smith Hotel

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (2050 reviews)

Darwin hotel with day-spa dreaming near the aquarium


The stylish Mantra on the Esplanade offers a range of hotel rooms and self-contained apartments. Touches of vibrant colour in the décor reflect the tropical feel and sensational harbour views from this magical waterfront location on the Esplanade.

In the larger suites, embrace indoor-outdoor living by padding barefoot straight from your breezy lounge onto your ample balcony. For entertainment, herd the kids to Crocosaurus Cove (a 1-minute walk) for up-close-and-personal encounters with some of the largest saltwater crocodiles in Australia. If you’re feeling super brave, you can swim with the big crocs or have your photo taken with a baby one in your arms. There’s also a 200,000-litre freshwater aquarium and a turtle billabong, both with informative daily shows to thrill the kiddos.

When you return from the day’s adventuring, you can choose to relax by the pool on a shaded or sunny lounger. If a little pampering is more your style, look into booking a rejuvenating treatment at the on-site beauty salon and day spa. You can dream away the lingering afternoon hours with a full-body massage, followed by a deluxe foot spa, manicure and pedicure, before adjourning to the hotel restaurant for sundowners and dinner. At Telegraph Eating House & Bar, tuck into flavoursome pan-Asian nibbles like satay chicken, crispy confit pork belly and Thai duck red curry.

Mantra on the Esplanade

8.4 Very good (2129 reviews)

Darwin hotel with expansive city and harbour views


Overlooking Frances Bay and Darwin Harbour, the Oaks Elan Darwin offers uninterrupted city and harbour views. Contemporary rooms and apartments will spoil you with soft timber finishes and restful modern spaces—think light-filled lounges and private balconies set up for alfresco dining. When you wake, hop into your luxury rain shower before wandering down to the on-site Original Australian Kitchen (OAK) for a fresh and filling breakfast à la carte. You’ll want to come back for dinner, too, with mouthwatering options like succulent scallops with black pudding or herb-infused fettuccine marinara. If you find you have some lazy hours to spare, head to the tranquil lap pool for a refreshing dip.

If you or the kids love learning about sea life, you might enjoy spending the day at the Indo Pacific Marine exhibition on Darwin Wharf. Uniquely, each exhibit is land-based and contains living, self-sustaining marine ecosystems. Whether you opt for a cool night tour or go in the day, your visit won’t have any impact on the living organisms. You can then top off your evening by taking advantage of your proximity to Darwin Harbour and indulging in a sunset harbour cruise.

Oaks Darwin Elan Hotel

8.6 Excellent (2039 reviews)

Winning streaks and winning steaks at a Darwin hotel with a casino


Entertainment options are found 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Darwin city’s local casino hotel, Skycity Darwin. Set right on the golden sands of Mindil Beach, with seven bars, four restaurants, a beach club and a golf course next door, there’s plenty of buzz both inside and outside this grown-up playground.

You can start your day with an early morning ocean swim and stroll on the beach before heading inside for an interactive breakfast buffet at The Vue. For a little post-brekkie luxury, book a session at the on-site Lagoon Day Spa for an aromatic sea exfoliation, then chill out to beach club beats with a tall, cold drink on shaded loungers overlooking the ocean-view pool.

Alternatively, you can wind down with a few hands of blackjack or take a chance on the roulette wheel. Dinner can be an award-winning affair at Cove, the specialty steakhouse where you’ll feast on prime cuts next to the resort’s lagoon pool. When you finally retire to your generously sized room, your crisp, white bed will be a heavenly crash pad for a well-earned rest. Morning brings glorious sunshine to your private balcony, perfect for that first brew of the day (made in-room for extra sleep-in time).

Mindil Beach Casino Resort

8.4 Very good (2093 reviews)

Natural beauty: a Darwin hotel near a national park


Only a 20-minute drive south of the typical Darwin city hotels is Rydges Palmerston – Darwin. Reserve a self-contained apartment if you’re bringing the family or a group of friends, or just bliss out in your own private room.

After a luxurious soak in your deep, freestanding bath, step into your provided robe and slippers and pad out onto your balcony to watch the twilight descend. Come dinnertime, chuck on some evening garb and head to the Fork and Dagger Bar & Grill for a decadent feast of seafood, meats, truffle mashed potato and seasonal salads.

For a next-day adrenaline rush, there’s a 14 metre-high racer slide and heaps of wet and wild options at nearby Palmerston water park. Or, drive just over an hour south to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Litchfield National Park. Birdwatchers and animal lovers will lose count of the fascinating species living in the park as you walk through the captivating bush.

Rydges Palmerston - Darwin

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (758 reviews)

Waterfront vibes and laidback living in a Darwin hotel

The wharf precinct of Darwin is a must-visit with its waterfront views, dining by the water, picture-perfect sunsets, and, of course, the Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront. Free Wi-Fi is standard in all 121 hotel guest rooms, which come appointed with king, queen or twin beds in clean whites to ensure a good night’s rest. You’ll find relaxation on tap at the semi-covered pool and hot tub flanked by sun loungers, or you can work up a sweat in the on-site fitness centre.

Just a five-minute stroll away, every day of the week between April and November, the local Darwin Film Society runs the remarkable Deckchair Cinema. This generous, non-profit group showcases a range of Australian and International films under the balmy night sky. Enjoy the sunset and a casual snack from your deck chair before the movie, or something more substantial at the hotel’s Curve Restaurant and Bar. Adventurous diners can try the hot smoked roo (kangaroo fillet), or you can fill up on traditional treats like lamb saddle with cashew and minted pea puree, baby beets and Shiraz jus.

Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (2206 reviews)

Feature image courtesy of H.Ahlers / Fotolia