As we had one night in Cairns, we went with the Hilton. Situated by the water (and just ten to fifteen minutes drive from the airport), the hotel has some gorgeous ocean facing views. Instantly, you are transported to a tropical oasis, palm trees and lush green plants galore.
We arrived in the evening, excited to feel the heat clinging to our skin and eager to head out and find somewhere to eat dinner. Hence the hastily shot room photos below. We had an executive room with an ocean view.
Waking up in the morning is pretty easy when the view is so lovely. We spent twenty minutes taking it all in on the balcony.
We (greedily) had two breakfasts. The first, in the executive lounge (below) - there wasn't a huge selection of food, but it is ideal for those in need for a speedy, convenient breakfast before dashing out for the day, or those wishing for some peace and quiet early in the morning. The much more extensive buffet (not pictured) in the main breakfast hall is worth attending for a more exciting breakfast spread and has an entirely different atmosphere, buzzing with activity.
The lobby is uber cool - colour and design come together in a bright, airy space to create a modern, relaxed area to hang out, wait around for your friends, or have a drink. At night, the lobby is illuminated with lavender-coloured lights.
The hotel also has a pool and gym, neither of which we had the chance to use, unfortunately, during our short stay.
The Hilton Cairns is perfect for a decent place to stay with easy access to a smattering of shops, restaurants, an outdoor public pool and Great Barrier Reef related activities (including helicopter rides over the reef). It may not be a luxury hotel, per se (although certainly not of a low standard, by any means), but Cairns is a place to let your hair down and chill out. It's not the kind of place where butlers attend to your every whim - if that's the type of experience you're hoping for, Cairns probably isn't for you.
In my experience, it's a friendly seaside city where people greet you with a grin, shopkeepers take ten minutes out of their day just to chat to you, and everyone is happy to be hanging out in flip flops and shorts in the glorious sunshine!