Tried & Tested: Riley Cairns, Australia

This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, autumn 2019, issue 110


As the first new five-star hotel built in Cairns for more than 20 years, this establishment focuses on innovative eco-practices.

Riley is all about responsible luxury. It’s a paperless check-in and forget about your typical plastic key card. Instead, I am presented with a 100 per cent recycled wooden disc for my pool view resort room.

Tried & Tested: Riley Cairns, Australia
Tried & Tested: Riley Cairns, Australia

Technology and service go hand in hand at this Crystalbrook Collection resort that comes with an in-room Apple iPad where a virtual concierge provides information on services, menus, apps, movies, video streaming and music.

You won’t find plastic drinking bottles and straws here and the Nespresso coffee machine has recyclable pods.

The spacious bathroom has a freestanding bath and rainforest shower and the luxe amenities come in large pump bottles rather than small plastic ones.

Striking blue-and-white bathrobes encourage you to chill out or head to the chic Eléme Day Spa which offers indulgent treatments and massages.

Tried & Tested: Riley Cairns, Australia
Tried & Tested: Riley Cairns, Australia

Taking centre stage is the vast 1000-plus square-metre lagoon pool which has a lap pool to the side, and a large jacuzzi. There’s also a man-made beach where you can dig your toes in the sand.

Free bikes are available for a spin around the city and there’s a 24-hour fitness centre to work out in.

The vibrant 311-room-and-suite hotel that sits snuggly at the northern end of the popular Cairns waterfront Esplanade is home to three impressive restaurants where 80 per cent of the produce comes from within a three-hour drive of the city.

The beef is farmed at Crystalbrook Station three hours away. Paper Crane serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a modern Asian fusion-themed menu.

Cairn’s highest rooftop bar and restaurant, the Rocco, offers a 270-degree uninterrupted views of Cairns and the Coral Sea. There’s an excellent Mediterranean share plates menu and a great Champagne list – the Turkish delight is to die for.

Downstairs Greenfields cafe has a focus on all things raw and simple and serves fresh juices, salads and treats with a healthy edge overlooking the beach or pool.

Riley is a breath of fresh air in the luxury hotel stakes with a passionate eco-friendly approach that comes with five-star service and facilities. 

Prices start from $299 per room, per night.

Find out more: crystalbrookcollection.com/riley

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