The Gold Coast, Queensland, is one of Australia’s best and most-loved vacation destinations. “Goldie” as it’s affectionately known filled with gorgeous long sandy beaches, slightly crazy theme parks, surfing, beautiful people, a great collection of bars and restaurants, lively nightclubs, laid-back neighbourhoods, and an intricate system of waterways.
Whether you are here for days or weeks, you can never get enough of Gold Coast’s over-the-top magnificence. To make your vacation extra special, seek out some of the region’s most unique places to stay.
From quirky boutiques to modern, shiny high rises, here are the best cool and most unusual hotels on The Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (in no particular order)…
1. QT Gold Coast – a hip, cool and trendy upscale designer hotel perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
Described as ‘Retro Surfer Chic’, this 297-room hotel at Surfers Paradise is all about nostalgia. QT Gold Coast has a beachside setting, a 10-minute walk to the area’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife, makes it the ideal place for Gen Zs searching for something perky, upbeat, and vintage.
You will be welcomed with homemade lemonade, and immediately encapsulated by the 1950s and 1960s beachside vibe, owing to the VW Kombi van at the front door and the mosaics, memorabilia, and works of art on the ceilings.
Peppered around the wide open lobby are Eames-style chairs and bright scatter cushions, inviting you to kick back and unwind in style. A pop-art theme decorates the rooms, with tropical design features adding a touch of charm.
Bazaar, the market-place style restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner, goes beyond the usual buffet with a mouth-watering range of unique dishes. If you choose to eat at Yamagen, you can tuck into a delicious blend of traditional Japanese cuisine and modern dishes, in an environment graced by classy cane furniture and bamboo garden-style elements.
After an evening dining at one of these, you can head to the Stingray Lounge and enjoy DJ evenings, and sample the signature cocktail ‘Sake it to me’.
Address: 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for QT Gold Coast
2. Tessa’s on the Beach – this cute and funky beachfront hotel you will find on the Gold Coast
This beach-side boutique hotel pairs classic Palm Springs flair with a modern Australian edge, whilst subtly clinging on to its mid-century roots.
Its supreme location puts you just 2 kilometres from the Gold Coast Airport, and within a charming area full of restaurants, bars, nightlife, and tourist sites. The sandy shores lie within a stone’s throw from the property, and can be admired from the peaceful lawned garden on-site.
The hotel boasts many bikes for rental, offering guests a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way to explore the Gold Coast. They also have a load of Paddleboards, for those who want to truly immerse in the great outdoors.
This 16-room and 4-apartment hotel is clad on the inside by clean lines and whitewashed walls, beautifully contrasting the cactus garden and the palm trees which add a tropical touch on the outside.
An amber-coloured courtyard draws you into the heart of the hotel where you’ll find the boutique café, many inviting lounge chairs, a Magnesium pool, and an on-site bar.
If you’re in the mood for a gourmet boxed breakfast, a sundowner, or an evening cheese platter accompanied by a crafted beverage, the on-site Tony’s Bar & Café is open from 6:30am to 8pm. Before you venture here, the Magnesium Pool and its healthy mineral water awaits.
Address: 281 Golden Four Dr, Bilinga QLD 4225, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for Tessa’s on the Beach
3. Meriton Suites Broadbeach – a lavish upscale apartment-style accommodation that offers fabulous views
As Australia’s largest owner-operator of apartment-style hotel suites, Meriton Suites Broadbeach is commonly ranked as the best accommodation in the country.
No two suites are the same, but all strike the perfect balance between comfort, convenience, and luxury. They are renowned for their spaciousness, with separate bedrooms, lounges and living spaces that can comfortably sleep up to eight adults.
Each unit comes with a private balcony caressed by the fresh ocean air, and a gourmet kitchen equipped with European-style appliances.
This allows you to prepare your favourite meal from the comfort of your home from home. The Ocean View suites, situated on level 11 and above, guarantee a one-of-a-kind horizon backdrop to your stay.
Located in Broadbeach, this hotel is a stone’s throw from the soft sands and crystalline waters of the Gold Coast, where you can relax after a day of adventure. Otherwise, you can refresh at the on-site gym, sauna, or spa, or take a dip in one of the two pools. Whichever you choose, the hotel’s dedicated team is on hand to provide an exceptional service.
Dotted around the hotel are many alfresco bars and restaurants, including the famous Moo Moo Wine Bar + Grill, an award-winning steakhouse.
- To book, check prices or availability for Meriton Suites Broadbeach
4. The Pink Hotel Coolangatta – a funky-retro place to stay that features quirky chic mid-century interior
Offering a small piece of history in a lively beachside town, The Pink Hotel Coolangatta is a haven of casual relaxing daytimes and vibrant, exciting nights.
Its pink and mid-century exterior welcomes you to a quirky, fun, and memorable hospitality experience. Open Fridays and Saturdays is the rooftop cocktail bar, which commands stunning beach views.
The rooms come in all shapes and sizes. They are all connected to Netflix, and come equipped with comfy king-sized Koala mattress beds, a fully stocked mini bar, and a whole host of state-of-the-art amenities.
You can take advantage of an in-room dining service and savour burgers & wings from Eddie’s Grub House from Tuesday through Sunday.
Popular room options include the Herradura Hacienda, a one-of-a-kind experience for tequila lovers with décor to match its style. This room is themed on the ‘cosmic disco’ and the ‘neon jungle’, making it the perfect setting to celebrate all-things margaritas. A built-in-bar, a selection of pink Herradura Tequila cocktail recipes, and an option to book a one-hour bartender service truly enhance the experience here.
You can also opt for Medusa Suite, whose neon pink style, coupled with LED lights and vibrant patterns will add a touch of flair to your stay, or a handful of other thoughtfully designed artistic havens.
Address: 171 Griffith St, Coolangatta QLD 4225, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for The Pink Hotel Coolangatta
5. Vibe Hotel Gold Coast – a cool and modern hotel that offers breathtaking ocean views
Vibe Hotel Gold Coast nestles moments from sandy beaches and the famous Esplanade, and commands jaw-dropping views of the Nerang River. On your doorstep, you’ll have access to world-class shopping, as well as popular nightlife spots. It is the most idyllic spot to return to after a day exploring the Gold Coast, and beckons with its riverside sundeck, pool, and charming restaurant.
The 199 commodious guestrooms share a contemporary design that embraces elements of the surroundings. You will wake up to stunning views of the Gold Coast waterfront, setting the scene for an unforgettable day.
The lobby has also received a recent head-to-toe revamp, and is now inspired by a beach house design, with traditional panelled walls decorated with Malibu surfboards.
Driftwood Social, the on-site dining hot spot, is graced by an alluring Miami pool club feel, bringing life to the riverfront. It is the social haunt for both guests and locals.
A chilled out ambiance can be relished here at any time of the day or night. Here you’ll discover poolside cabanas and an old-school surf themed bar with a variety of eat, drink, and chill zones. Retro-style poolside cocktails are served throughout the day, followed by fun classics after the sun goes down.
Address: 42 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for Vibe Hotel Gold Coast
6. Palazzo Versace – an exclusive palace that blends a bespoke Italian design and an impressive architecture
Opening its doors 15 years ago as the world’s first fashion-branded hotel, Palazzo Versace reveals the epitome of glamour and luxury. The over-the-top glitz was toned down in a recent refurbishment, but its opulence is very much maintained.
It sits on a small area of land jutting out into the calm waters of the Gold Coast Broadwater, a few minutes’ walk to the ocean beach. Next door, you’ll find an upmarket shopping and restaurant precinct, Marina Mirage.
Guests are greeted on arrival to a Medusa mosaic set into the gleaming Italian marble floors, and at the centre of the lobby is a huge chandelier that once graced the State Library of Milan. Arty fashion photography including portraits of Paris Hilton, Linda Evangelista, and the Rolling Stones line the corridors.
To relax, there’s a beautiful palm-fringed lagoon pool which has a small sandy beach and is dotted by secluded luxury cabanas, and a sumptuous day spa.
The guestrooms are enhanced by Versace cushions in vibrant colours and crisp white covers, complementing the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors which open onto a Juliet balcony with peace-inducing sun loungers at the end. This is in addition to bathrooms with large spa baths and Versace amenities.
- To book, check prices or availability for Palazzo Versace
7. Dorsett Gold Coast – a unique hotel that is travel sustainable, close to great attractions
Set on Broadbeach Island, the Dorsett Gold Coast combines the best of graceful inner-city living and beachside relaxation, offering memorable stays on the Gold Coast. Here, you are only 700 metres from Kurrawa Beach, steps from Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, and just 30 minutes from the airport.
The Dorsett boasts 313 brand-new rooms, all elegantly designed and sporting modern facilities. From your own peaceful cocoon, you can revel in stunning vistas of the coastline or Gold Coast hinterland, and make use of a flat-screen HDTV, a spacious en-suite, and plush linens.
When you wake up, you can head down to Jin Café & Bar, which is the ultimate spot for an early morning coffee and a freshly baked croissant. In the evening, you can return here to savour a charcuterie board, paired with a crafted cocktail.
If you’re in the mood to splash out on an Executive Room, you can instead head to the exclusive Executive Lounge and dig into a complimentary bespoke buffet breakfast, with both hot and continental options to choose from. You can also sip complimentary glasses of bubbles and canapes up here, as you witness the sun setting over Broadbeach through the floor-to-ceiling glass wrap-around windows.
The on-site Isoletto Pool Club is a charming oasis beckoning guests to embrace the sun-kissed lifestyle of this iconic beachside resort.
Address: 1 Casino Dr, Broadbeach QLD 4218, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for Dorsett Gold Coast
8. The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast – a sleek 5-star hotel based in the heart of Broadbeach
This luxury 596-room hotel has had a 75 million dollar facelift as part of a development of Queensland’s first casino complex. As you enter, you will be immediately transported via the escalator to reception, where contemporary silver chandeliers hang over a dramatic black-and-white carpet, with a dash of nature added by potted orchids.
The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast sits on the tiny Broadbeach Island, and is connected to the Gold Coast Highway by a bridge.The facilities are top-notch here. You’ll find a heated swimming pool surrounded by cabanas, two whirlpool tubs on the pool deck, and a pool bar with an extensive snack menu.
There’s also a gym offering personal training sessions, yoga classes, boxing, spin, and pilates, among many more. An unexpected touch of class is the 2000-seat theatre which hosts the Gold Coast’s hottest shows, including tribute bands, musicals, international comedian nights, and show movies three times a week.
Each guestroom, graced by an arty carpet, is befitted with integrated technology which allows you to dim the lights, adjust the temperature, and open the drapes from the comfort of your pillow.
At the end of the day, you can unwind on the sun deck at Garden Kitchen & Bar, which overlooks a green lawn and tropical gardens, or the conservatory-style restaurant, with its 13-metre-long bar beckoning guests to live music nights at the weekend. Otherwise, you can take your pick from another six restaurants within the compound!
The open-plan bathrooms have double showerheads, monogrammed towels and bathrobes, and L’Occitane products.
Address: 8 Casino Dr, Broadbeach QLD 4218, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast
9. The Wave Resort – a beautiful resort that offers an amazing infinity swimming pool and a rooftop spa
The Wave Resort is the perfect choice for couples and families searching for a spot of pampered opulence. Fronted by a quirky exterior, the beachfront Wave Resort features one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as lavish penthouse suites with balconies.
If you book one of the penthouses, your entire space will be encased within panoramic ocean and hinterland views, and your private balcony offers a serene spot of seclusion. Owing to the floor-to-ceiling windows, each unit is beautifully light-filled, spacious, and elegant.
Inside you will find two TVs (one in the lounge, one in the master bedroom), a full kitchen with high-end facilities, and a free in-room Foxtel Platinum Package.
The resort nestles right in the heart of Broadbeach, so a relaxed evening stroll along the fine sands towards the restaurants and bars awaits. There’s also hundreds of shopping areas nearby!
For an extravagant experience, on level 34 there’s an exclusive sky pool and spa overlooking Broadbeach. The main infinity pool and spa however is located on level 4, and is dotted by plenty of sun loungers. Both pools are heated all year round and have a barbeque and entertainment area next to them.
Address: 89-91 Surf Parade, Broadbeach QLD 4218, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for The Wave Resort
10. The Darling at The Star Gold Coast – a city view hotel that is nearby many points of interest
Boasting some of the largest rooms in Queensland, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast connects to its sister property The Star Grand via a level three walkway, taking you through The Star casino. The sands of Broadbeach lie a mere 300 metres away, and about 700 metres away is the Pacific Fair, Gold Coast’s largest shopping centre.
The Darling, one of the area’s finest all-suite hotels, consists of 17 lavish storeys which culminate in a stunning rooftop bar and restaurant, from which you can overlook the dazzling infinity pool. The pool, with its double sun beds lapped by the water’s edge, is arguably the hotel’s attraction, and a close second is the day spa, where you’ll find six treatment rooms.
Upon entrance, you’ll be welcomed by gold chandeliers and tinkling fountains, and ushered to the discreet desks for check-in. Regal gold and purple trims on the furniture, bold artwork on the walls, and jaw-dropping river and city views enhance the overall experience here.
Once you enter your room, the bustling Gold Coast scene is blissfully contrasted by muted colours and potted orchids. All units boast fully stocked minibars, tea & coffee making facilities, and en-suite bathrooms equipped with luxe amenities from the French Lalique range.
You can enjoy breakfast in the comfort of your room, otherwise you can head out across the casino complex for your first meal, as the on-site restaurant opens at lunch time.
Address: 1 Darling Ave, Broadbeach QLD 4218, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for The Darling at The Star Gold Coast
11. Peppers Broadbeach – a chic and modern aparthotel with a great variety of facilities, perfect for longer stays
With the golden stretch of Broadbeach just metres away, and many buzzing cafés and restaurants in the fairy-lit vicinity, the high-rise Peppers Broadbeach is an elegant basecamp for a relaxing welcome to Gold Coast.
The modern hotel, split into two elegant buildings, forms part of the Oracle precinct, which is a mixed-use shopping, dining, and accommodation development. The grand entrance contains a marble reception area with teak wood panelling, immediately setting the tone for a lavish getaway.
There are 205 spacious accommodations in total, including one, two, and three-bedroom options. They are all kept minimalist with white walls and grey, black and white artwork and furnishings, and are caressed by beautiful sea breezes.
The striking feature of each unit is of course the stunning pool and ocean views which beam through floor-to-ceiling windows. The front-facing rooms, which offer the best, most uninterrupted views of the ocean azure, are by far the most popular.
Duplicated across the two neighbouring towers are a heated 25-metre lap pool, a sauna, a steam room, a bath, a gym, a zen garden with sun loungers, and open areas with a television and pool table, among many more state-of-the-art facilities.
There’s no restaurant on-site, however the plethora of dining options nearby will fix that. The closest, and arguably the best, is the privately owned Mamasan Kitchen & Bar, which joins onto the hotel and can be directly accessed through the Tower 2 reception.
Address: 21 Elizabeth Ave, Broadbeach QLD 4218, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for Peppers Broadbeach
12. InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, an IHG Hotel – an unusually-cool resort that provides world-class service
This sprawling resort sits on a finger of land on a river mouth at the northern end of the Gold Coast. The surrounding development, the Sanctuary Cove residential community, consists of a marina and shopping village with around 80 boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and art galleries.
The central building at InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, an IHG Hotel, the Great House, resembles a classic Queenslander dwelling, and overlooks an imposing fountain court and the expansive lagoon-style pool, which boasts its own white sandy beach.
Two huge dual fireplaces inside create a lodge-style ambiance, while the high ceilings and chandeliers keep it modern and elegant. The five low-rise accommodation blocks are accessed via winding paths lined with palm trees and tropical plants.
A delicious buffet breakfast is served in the Cove Café, while the Verandah Bar beckons guests to end their days in elegance, choosing from a collection of more than 50 whiskeys from around the world. The signature restaurant, The Fireplace, features an open kitchen with wood-fired ovens, and evolves into a vibrant hub in the evenings.
Due to the size of the resort, you will be transported around via golf buggies. As well as the beach-style lagoon pool, the buggies will take you to the terrace pool, the heated hot tub, the five on-site tennis courts, the gym, and the 25-metre heated lap pool.
Set across a huge expanse of pine forest surrounding the resort, you’ll find two golf courses where kangaroos are frequently spotted.
Address: Sanctuary Cove, Manor Cir, Hope Island QLD 4212, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, an IHG Hotel
13. voco Gold Coast, an IHG – one of the most Instagrammable hotels on the Gold Coast
Functional, fun and slightly retro, voco Gold Coast, an IHG is a budget-friendly choice for couples and families searching for a clean, modern accommodation in Surfers Paradise. It sits just minutes from the beach and is surrounded by a whole host of shopping hot spots and major attractions.
The name is from the Latin for ‘to invite’ or ‘come together’, hence the social theme that permeates the public spaces. As you check-in, you will be gifted a small bag of shortbread, before being escorted to your room.
Two swimming pools sit on different levels and sides of the hotel, and there’s also a day spa, a gym, and an independent hair salon.
All of the rooms were refurbished in 2018 and boast comfy queen and king-sized beds, expansive bathrooms, a minibar, and tea & coffee-making facilities.
The Social House Bar, the main feature of the spacious light-filled lobby, presents a retro vibe, with vintage bar posters and black-and-white images from the 1950s adding to the atmosphere.
A graceful breakfast of hot and cold dishes is served at Waves, while Clifford’s Grill, Bar & Lounge awaits at dinner time, where you can congregate around the flaming grills of the open kitchen and sample succulent steaks and seafood.
- To book, check prices or availability for voco Gold Coast, an IHG
14. Ruby Gold Coast – one of the most stunning aparthotel in Australia where guests can enjoy panoramically sea views
Ruby Gold Coast is the ultimate destination for discerning travellers seeking an unforgettable getaway. It is nestled in an enviable location with direct access to the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach. A popular restaurant, shopping, and entertainment hub surrounds the hotel, where you can fulfil almost any craving possible.
Popular eateries, all within a 10-minute walk, include Bumbles café, Yamagen Japanese Restaurant, Hurricane Grill & Bar, and Bazaar Gold Coast QT.
This opulent 4-star retreat boasts a selection of exquisitely designed suites, all of which offer an array of high-end amenities including convenient laundry facilities, fully equipped kitchenettes, spacious living areas, and private balconies. The kid-themed rooms with bunk beds will ignite the imagination of your little ones.
You can choose from a one, two, or three-bedroom suite, as well as a 3-bedroom villa that is sure to elevate your vacation to new heights. Beach-inspired living, modern décor, and ocean panoramas characterise the in-room experience no matter which you choose.
Owing to the hotel’s supreme location, you can take your pick from a whole host of events happening daily. The charming in-house team are frequently kept up to date with what’s going on and are a great helping hand in arranging what to do and when.
Address: 9 Norfolk Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for Ruby Gold Coast
15. Mercure Gold Coast Resort – the perfect resort embraced amongst serene surroundings, ideal for a romantic stay
For the optimum blend of convenience and adventure, Mercure Gold Coast Resort awaits just minutes from pristine beaches and thrilling attractions. There’s a spectacular golf course right outside the resort, bringing lots of greenery to your stay.
The hotel’s showpieces are its two shimmering outdoor pools, which are surrounded by rustling palms, hang-out spaces, and cosy poolside cabanas. Guests flock here to take a break from the bustling scene outside, and relax under the sun with a cocktail in hand. Next to one of the pools there’s a life-sized game of chess waiting to be played.
The 292 guestrooms are fresh, contemporary, and stylish, and each one boasts a spacious en-suite, a work desk, coffee & tea-making facilities, and a flat-screen TV.
Each unit has a private balcony overlooking the resort’s grounds, and if you bag a ground floor room, you can wake up and head straight out to the pool area. If you book one of the premium rooms, you can take advantage of upscale amenities like whirlpool baths.
On-site you will also find two floodlit tennis courts, a day spa, a fitness centre, a spa and a sauna.
Address: 64 Palm Meadows Dr, Carrara QLD 4211, Australia
- To book, check prices or availability for Mercure Gold Coast Resort
Michael Cowley – writer and photographer
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always had an affinity for adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued seeking out new places and cultures. In his spare time he explores everywhere from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, trying all kinds of street food, playing carrom with random strangers, and fine wine – he knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Goa, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations. Find Michael on Instagram or Twitter.