The 5 Best Hotels in Darwin

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Darwin is the biggest city in the Northern Territory and it’s a great jumping off point for trips and tours in the Top End. It has a laid-back, country town vibe with tasty restaurants and a raucous (at times) nightlife. It’s a favourite spot for people wanting to explore a very different part of Australia. This article will help you choose between the 5 best hotels in Darwin.

You will need at least 3-4 nights accommodation to get around. Darwin is popular, with a big stock of mid-priced hotels and not much at the budget or high-end. Cheaper options book up quickly, so bear that in mind when planning.

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Best Darwin Hotels: How to Decide

There’s a lot of things to weigh up as you decide on accommodation. I’ve stayed in dozens of hotels in Australia and here’s the top 5 things that I looked for in Darwin:

Though smaller than Sydney or Melbourne, Darwin’s lively nightlife means it can get noisy. Pick a quiet spot in the CBD or Darwin Waterfront.

Budget

In Central Darwin, you can get 4 star accommodation for the price of 3 star elsewhere. This might be the place to splash out.

Amenities

Most hotels include wi-fi and exclude breakfast. so when making your choice, check what’s included so you aren’t landed with extra bills.

People

People make travel. Pick a hotel with a reputation for friendliness, or a popular hostel. Find out what’s going on in Darwin and get out there!

Solo Travel

I travel solo & prefer hotels close to things and with room service, so I have choices. Being central enabled easy pick-ups for Darwin excursions.

Best Darwin Hotels: Quick Round-Up

I picked the best Darwin Hotels using these goals to help you plan your trip. Below, find all the details you’ll need. Start with this quick round-up:

BEST HOTELS IN DARWIN

Best 4* Hotel ($$$): Hilton Darwin

Best Darwin Waterfront Hotel ($$): Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Best Budget 4* Hotel ($$): Rydges Darwin Central

Best Budget 3* Hotel ($): Winnellie Hotel Motel

Best Backpacker Hostel ($): Youth Shack Backpackers

Pricing Legend (per night, room-only)

$ = $70 AUD or less

$$ = $70-190 AUD

$$$ = $190+ AUD

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THE 5 BEST HOTELS IN DARWIN

Here’s all the info you’ll need to help pick one of the 5 best hotels in Darwin.

1. HILTON DARWIN

Right in the centre of Darwin, this Hilton is central to the CBD and you’ll love the pool and breakfast. While the reception area was recently renovated, some of the rooms can feel a little less updated. The manager says that the room upgrades will start in 2024. However, staff are friendly and knowledgeable. If you have the appropriate status, this Hilton offers a Club Lounge floor for members (including drinks and canapés every evening from 5-7pm).

The food gets decent reviews: breakfast is a spread and there’s a decent selection for dinner at Pepperberry Restaurant. The bar is popular, particularly for cocktails (try the espresso martini). Watch out: breakfast is not included and costs $27-35 AUD for adults and $0-15 AUD for children. That can add up. Also: wi-fi attracts a per-day fee if you are not a Hilton Honors member.

AT A GLANCE

Budget: $$$

Free wi-fi for Hilton Honors

Fitness Centre & Outdoor Pool

Popular bar & restaurant

Breakfast $27-35 AUD

CHECK RATES FOR THIS HOTEL

2. VIBE HOTEL DARWIN WATERFRONT

Design is to the forefront of this Darwin Waterfront 4-star hotel, with a glamorous swimming pool area, a busy reception and simply styled rooms. This is still Darwin City Centre, so most things are in walking distance, a real bonus for solo travelers. If you want to stay in-house, Curve Restaurant is available and you can get a buffet-style breakfast ($32 for adults, $16 for kids) or dinner on site.

Reviews highly rate the friendly staff and there’s a concierge available during regular hours. Digital nomads will enjoy the free wi-fi everywhere in the hotel. Plus, if you’re watching your budget, there’s a fridge and a kettle in every room: making snacks a breeze! Downsides? Parking is $15 AUD a day.

AT A GLANCE

Budget: $$ (inc free wi-fi)

Solo travel & digital nomad friendly

Fitness Centre & Pool

Free wi-fi included

Fridge & kettle in-room

CHECK RATES FOR THIS HOTEL

3. RYDGES DARWIN CENTRAL

Rydges Darwin Central is right at the heart of the CBD and it’s particularly easy to get around on foot to local bars and restaurants. In fact there are 7 cafes/restaurants in the same building from an Italian restaurant to a branch of McDonalds! You might like the pool and gym and the quality amenities used in the bathrooms.

Staff are very friendly, though a move to using an app (or terminals) for check-in has annoyed some reviewers. I found the rooms large, although the air conditioning did make the room smell a little damp. Breakfast is not in-house (it’s in one of the 7 eateries) and costs $28 AUD per person. Read the full review here.

AT A GLANCE

Budget: $$

Big rooms

Fitness Centre & Pool

Free wi-fi included

Mini-fridge

CHECK RATES FOR THIS HOTEL

4. WINNELLIE HOTEL MOTEL

Winnellie is one of the neighbourhoods in Darwin so this property will suit people wanting to be a little further away from the action. There is free parking on site. There are 3 bars on site as well as a restaurant. With an industrial area nearby, this property caters to business travellers with free wi-fi. However, they do promise a friendly welcome to all travelers. With check-in at the bar, informality is the key, but reviewers do highly rate the rooms, including air conditioning and good bathroom amenities.

AT A GLANCE

Budget: $

Business friendly

Casual vibe, bars & food on site

Free wi-fi included

Air conditioning

CHECK RATES FOR THIS HOTEL

5. YOUTH SHACK BACKPACKERS

Youth Shack is the highest rated hostel in the Darwin area, and has a fun and lively atmosphere that will suit most people. If you’re traveling solo, it’ll be a good place to meet up with like-minded people for a night out or to make a meal. You can choose from air-conditioned dorm rooms or private rooms (these can be quite expensive).

Amenities include a bar, huts around the pool, a sundeck as well as a kitchen for making snacks or bigger meals. Breakfast and linen are included. Downsides: kitchen is quite small leading to lines. Not much storage in the rooms.

AT A GLANCE

Budget: $

Solo travel friendly

Pool & sundeck

Kitchen

Breakfast & linen included

FIND OUT MORE

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Darwin is a fun smaller city with a lot of opportunities to explore and have fun. If you pick the right hotel, you can really enjoy your trip and allow you to focus on all that the Top End has to offer.

Please note: the cover image used on this post is provided courtesy of Tourism NT/Tourism Australia.

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I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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