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About Gold Coast
If you don't mind your beaches backed by glittering high rises and a touch of Vegas sparkle, then The Gold Coast is for you. The best places to stay on The Gold Coast range in style in a similar way to the beach towns themselves, with the glitziest closest to the fun mecca of Surfers Paradise and the more stylish, boutique options radiating south and into the lush green hills behind the coast.
There are 35 long, flat, golden beaches along this stretch of sunny coast, offering some of the best surfing in Australia. Some of them, like those around Surfers Paradise, are backed by bars, clubs, cafes, hotels and theme parks, while those towards the southern end have more laid-back charm and significantly fewer parking maids in gold bikinis.
Behind the Gold Coast's perfect stretches of sand is a subtropical band of national parks, dotted with waterfalls, mountains and spots with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. So while most people are here for the beaches, there's actually a lot behind them.
Laminton National Park is famous for its rainforests, huddling in deep valleys, ripe for exploring, while the Springbrook National Park covers an ancient volcano.
If you're here for the surfing, this is a great place to learn, as well as being ideal for experienced surfers. There are surf schools up and down the coast willing to teach you or just rent you some gear. Several big surf competitions are held here annually, so you might even catch the pros at work.
Surfers Paradise has become one of the biggest party towns in Australia, with thousands of visitors descending daily, onto the theme parks, the malls and then the restaurants, bars and clubs.
But it's not all like this, and if you want wildlife sanctuaries and peaceful sand you'll still find it, you just have to head south.
Our pick of the best places to stay in the Gold Coast range from the great value to the truly OTT!
For a chic beach break
- What could be more chic than a hotel designed by Italian fashion house, Versace? The Palazzo Versace offers just that, in the Main Beach area. This luxurious hotel has decor from the Versace home collection, a private marina, huge rooms and Australia's only water salon.
- QT Gold Coast is a jazzy hotel in Surfers Paradise, where the decor is vibrant and retro. The sea-facing rooms have great ocean views - you're just a stone's throw from the beach - and the rooms on the other side of the hotel face the mountains. Prices start from just over £100 per night.
For a relaxing retreat
- The Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast is, surprisingly, the Gold Coast's only five star hotel, a spacious, stylish retreat right on the beach, with sea views and a great seafood buffet.
- Back from the beach, surrounded by greenery, you'll find Peppers Ruffles Lodge and Spa, a luxurious collection of suites and villas offering magnificent views over the ocean and Tambourine Mountain. There's an infinity pool, luxurious spa and several acres of garden to relax in.
- Book the Royal Pines Resort if you prefer golf to surfing. Here you'll find a golf course and driving range, plus a range of other facilities including gym, spa and tennis courts.
- Another good pick for golfers is the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove. Again there's a course on site, plus lagoon style pool, four restaurants and spa.
Still undecided? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay on the Gold Coast, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Or you can widen the net and take a look at all our recommendations in Queensland.
Best Hotels in Gold Coast
QT Gold Coast 297 rooms from $125Gold Coast
This jazzy hotel has gone in for vibrant and retro decor, matching its lively central location in the heart of Surfers Paradise. With the beach a stone's throw away, sea-facing rooms have spectacular ocean views, whilst others face the mountains. Fantastic spa on the lower level.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolLively - Hip and happening.SpaSurfing - Suitable beaches nearby.Recommended by - Tablet, Fodors, Mr & Mrs Smith
InterContinental Sanctuary Cove 243 rooms from $125Gold Coast (Hope Island)
Luxury hotel on the banks of the Coomera River marina in a 1940s building. Rooms are large and light, with timber sleigh beds and wooden floors overlooking the marina and lush tropical gardens. With an acclaimed golf course and one acre lagoon beach.Sights nearby - Gold coast theme parks such as Dreamworld and Warner Bros MovieworldViews - Coomera River marinaFishing - Excellent fishing nearby.Great walks - Good for walkers.
Royal Pines Resort 331 rooms from $152Gold Coast (Benowa)
Close to Surfers Paradise Beach is this resort with spacious double rooms, a spa, gym and tennis courts. Family friendly with adjoining rooms available and separate pool areas and slides for kids. Perfect for golf lovers as 27 hole course on site.Swimming Pool - Kids areas and slidesSailing - Can be booked nearby.Local markets - Good for local colour.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast 295 rooms from $168Gold Coast (Main Beach)
Direct access to the beach, numerous swimming pools, and a spa and fitness centre are just some of the top facilities available at Gold Coast's only 5* hotel. Spacious & stylish rooms and suites many with sea views and great seafood buffet at Terraces Restaurant.Swimming Pool - Indoor lap pool, outdoor heated pool and separate children's poolOn the beach - Direct beach accessSailing - Can be booked nearby.Spa
Palazzo Versace 200 rooms from $260Gold Coast (Main Beach)
If you're not au fait with Italian fashion house Versace, you will be after a stay in this luxe hotel where all the furnishings come from their home collection. With huge rooms and top amenities including Australia's only water salon, the result is a purely indulgent hotel experience.Sailing - The hotel has a private marinaSpa - Top notch Aurora SpaDesigner - Versace furnishingsOpulentRecommended by - Tablet, Fodors
Peppers Ruffles Lodge and Spa 12 rooms from $284Gold Coast (Willow Vale)
Set high in the Gold Coast Hinterland, this luxury hotel offers a range of suites and villas with magnificent views out to sea or over Tambourine Mountain. An infinity pool, deluxe spa and three acre garden ensure a peaceful and intimate experience.Views - Stunning views out to sea from its perch in the Gold Coast HinterlandGreat walks - There is a one km walking track around the lodge plus longer trails in the Eucalyptus forest.Spa - Ruffles Day Spa offering a wide range of treatments.Swimming Pool - Outdoor infinity pool with poolside bar