In December 2016, my mother and I headed to Australia to celebrate her 50th birthday. Since we wanted to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, we opted to head north and spend a few days in sunny Cairns.
In my opinion, Cairns is an underrated treasure of Australia. While known mostly for the access to the Great Barrier Reef its coastline provides, it is also surrounded by tropical rainforests home to beautiful scenes and creatures of all kinds!
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Harbourside, which provided us with incredible views of the sunrise and easy access to the city. This central location ensured an enjoyable stay in Cairns, despite the hotel’s few shortcomings.
Access to Amenities
Pay for wifi, or disconnect. One option is obviously better than the other when on vacation, but not when you’re trying to start a travel blog or run a business from halfway across the world! A slight inconvenience when TripAdvisor lists Free High-Speed Internet (WiFi) as an amenity available to guests of this hotel. While there is free wifi in the lobby, it expires after a certain period of time has passed. My mom ended up paying for standard internet access, which was an additional cost we hadn’t anticipated.
Free shuttle to the Esplanade. In between day trips and excursions that we had planned, we spent most of our downtime in the Esplanade. The Esplanade is where the city market is, and serves as Cairns downtown area. Restaurants and bars line the harbour, so having a shuttle service provided to us made our free time that much more enjoyable!
SUPER comfortable beds. To be honest, I never expect to get a great night’s sleep when I’m traveling. I was pleasantly surprised by the supportive mattresses and soft sheets provided by Holiday Inn Harbourside! As a bonus, the hotel also gave guests options of soft and firm pillows too! Sure, exploring the city was fun, but I didn’t mind returning to the room at all.
Front Desk Experience. Throughout our stay, front desk manager Leeahna was so helpful in helping us plan excursions and day trips from Cairns. She gave us great recommendations for different tour companies, as well as restaurants on the Esplanade. She was absolutely lovely and kind and she made sure everything about our stay was going smoothly.
Hotel Restaurants Service. On the other hand, the service in the restaurants was subpar. My mom and I were excited to dine at the hotel restaurant because the menu sounded great. Upon our arrival, there was no wait so we were immediately seated at a gorgeous table overlooking the pool and harbor. However, we were waiting for our order to be taken for a long while. I calmly got out of my seat to find the hostess who seated us, only for her to have a deer-in-the-headlights look when she saw me. When I asked if we had to place our orders at the register or if there was table service, she said, “Oh, sorry!”
She had, no joke, forgotten there were people seated in the restaurant. It seemed as though she was the only one there to staff the entire restaurant, but throughout dinner, there were two other waiters and waitresses taking orders and delivering dishes to the few occupied tables. The restaurant was mostly empty so I couldn’t find a reason as to why the service would be slow. To be fair, the food was delicious.
The Holiday Inn Harbourside in Cairns has many great qualities, from its clean rooms to its central location. For convenience alone, this location is a great family-friendly place to stay.
Featured image courtesy of InterContinental Hotels Group