Best Place to Stay in Cairns: Shangri-La the Marina

In this travel blogger’s opinion, Shangri-La the Marina is the best place to stay in Cairns. Read on to find out everything I loved about this oasis overlooking the Marlin Marina.

Best Place to Stay in Cairns

The Location – Perfect

Shangri-La the Marina perches on the edge of the Coral Sea, offers lovely marina views, is in the heart of Cairns’ waterside dining district, and is only steps from both the Reef Fleet Terminal and the Esplanade. You honestly cannot ask for a better location in Cairns. Staying at Shangri-La the Marina places you perfectly to enjoy Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree rainforest, making it the best place to stay in Cairns. 

The Rooms – Spacious & Well Appointed

The hotel presents 225 spacious, well appointed guest rooms and suites – all with private outdoor spaces and floor to ceiling windows boasting views of either the marina, pool & gardens, or the city. The rooms’ aesthetics are clean and calming and the bathrooms are sizable with walk-in showers. The desk area is perfect if you’re unfortunate enough to have to work while in Cairns and the closet space is respectable (if a bit lacking when it comes to drawer space). All in all I found my room to be lovely and I slept like a dream during my stay. 

The Property – A Calming Retreat in Touristy Cairns

When all is said and done Cairns is primarily a tourist destination – complete with a casino, countless restaurants and bars, and tour companies hawking their services. It’s fun! …and it can be a lot. Having a calming retreat in the midst of all the hubbub where you can get a good night’s sleep is lovely and Shangri-La the Marina offers exactly that. The hotel has a lovely pool complete with pool bar, as well as one onsite restaurant (called The Backyard) with a perfect combination of indoor and outdoor seating facing the marina. Food and drink on property is quite good.  Additionally, you are literally within steps of several other restaurants as the hotel is nestled in the heart of the waterside dining precinct. Note that there’s also free parking for hotel guests if you happen to have a vehicle.

Best Place to Stay in Cairns


For me, Shangri-La the Marina is a solid 4 star property. The location is perfect, the rooms spacious and comfy, and the vibe is calming. It’s luxurious, but not so much as, say, a Ritz or a Four Seasons. It also happened to be an excellent value, earning it my vote for the best place to stay in Cairns. 

Heading to Cairns soon? Pin this post or share it with your travel buddy! And here’s a 1 week itinerary for you too – enjoy!

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