Detailed review by koshkha
Northampton, United Kingdom
The Hilton Cairns is a super hotel where I stayed for two nights last summer. I wouldn't normally pay for a Hilton when I'm on holiday, but we got a great 'Two nights for the price of one' from the Hilton website and decided to push the boat out.
The location is fabulous as it's write on the waterfront, close to the jetties where the dive boats and day boats go out from Cairns. We paid a little extra for a water-view room (not actually the sea, it was a wide creek instead) and I'm glad we did. The view was beautiful and waking up in the morning to see sail boats floating past was really worth the extra cost.
We arrived on a shuttle bus service from the airport and passed dozens of other hotels along the way. I wasn't jealous of any of those and thought ours looked much nicer than the other hotels where the bus had stopped. Australians seem to be a friendly bunch by nature and our welcome and check in was warm and seemed sincere. The guy on reception took a lot of time to tell us where everything was, to check we were happy and to offer to help with any other enquiries we might have.
The lobby is very imposing and done out in Hilton's revamped style with some very funky curved sofas and lampshades which I've seen in other Hilton hotels in the past couple of years. There's even a raked gravel garden if you're looking for a moment of zen-like contemplation. The bar was brightly lit with some amazingly shaped chairs that were really eye catching. But since we'd been travelling for a day and a half by the time we arrived, we went straight to our room to get some sleep. The lifts are card-activated for security which surprised me in a such an easy-going country as that's something I've only experienced in places like Russia and Poland where the hotel are trying to keep prostitutes away from the residential floors.
The rooms are arranged off open corridors which overlook tropical gardens. We really felt like we'd arrived somewhere rather special. Although it's one of Hilton's older hotels, the refurb that's been done is very impressive. Our room was light, fresh and very comfortable with walls painted in buttermilk and pistachio and the carpets were light green with a grey pattern. The first things I noticed were the rattan chaise longue and the French windows. Despite being night time we were straight out on the balcony to sniff the sea air. The bed was a large double with crisp white linens and my husband had the kettle filled and was making a brew before he had his shoes off. There was a small work desk (which I was happy not to need) and the TV was a massive flat screen offered lots of channels. There was even a Sony Playstation but I don't have a clue what to do with one of those so it was purely decorative for us. Other services included several telephones and broadband. The room had some very attractive paper lampshades including a floor standing tall paper lamp which were classier than I've probably made them sound.
We ate a leisurely breakfast in the Hanuman restaurant on the first morning and grabbed a very early and very rushed snack on the second morning because we were leaving for our dive trip. The long breakfast was excellent with a spectacular selection of food from all continents. This is a place where you can have a bowl of oriental congee (if you're mad enough), some sushi, American pancakes or a full English the world is your eating oyster! (no oysters actually but nearly everything else you can think of). Smartly dressed waiting staff were happily running back and forth doing made-to-order cappuccinos and omelettes whenever anyone wanted them. The restaurant has floor to ceiling windows that look out over the hotel gardens and towards the wedding chapel. You could also catch a glimpse of the 50 m freeform swimming pool.
In summary, we LOVED this hotel. Since I'm usually a total tightwad who books cheap budget hotels I was glad that on this occasion we'd gone a bit more up-market. After a long journey, it was really worth paying for a bit more luxury than normal.