5.0
Excellent 1334 Reviews
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This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

What We Love

  • Balmy evenings dining al fresco while watching the moon rise over the Coral Sea
  • The award-winning Li’Tya spa, which uses techniques based on ancient Aboriginal traditions
  • Mingling with fellow guests over free punch and canapés in the Brigadier’s Bar and Lounge

What To Know

  • The Reef House is just 20 minutes’ drive from Cairns International Airport
  • Tours of the Great Barrier Reef operate from Cairns to the south and Port Douglas (40 minutes to the north)
  • Marine stinger (jellyfish) season occurs in Far North Queensland from November to May/June. Palm Cove Beach has a netted area for safe swimming

Amenities

  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Handicap Accessible
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Overview

Tropical home away from home with an award-winning spa, pretty pool and topnotch eats a short drive from the Great Barrier Reef

The Look

Across the road from a glorious mile-long strip of sand, amethyst-blue sea and four small islands dotting the horizon, towering centuries-old melaleuca gum trees stand guard at the entrance to this colonial-style hotel. Grand white colonnades frame the long timber deck leading to reception, and central to the resort is a 25-meter freshwater pool (there’s also a 20-meter saltwater pool), set amid lush gardens, swaying palm trees and blazing bougainvilleas. Daily at sunset the corridors are lit with dozens of candles as guests gather to share stories of their day’s adventures.

Bed and Bath

From the cool, terracotta-tiled floors and white plantation shutters to the rattan furniture and mosquito nets over the beds, everything about The Reef House says ‘tropics’. The rooms are large and airy, all feature king-sized beds with crisp white linen and a burst of color via tasteful throws and cushions, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, free WiFi and in-house movies. Superior Balcony Room guests can start the romance bubbling along in a couples’ spa bath on their own private and expansive verandah. For those whose bubbly days are largely behind them, family suites are also available.

Beyond

The Reef House Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has more than enough variety to sustain a lengthy visit. The evening menu changes according to the season and features a five-course degustation menu with wine pairings. From the à la carte menu, the crispy-skin wild-caught barramundi is worth the trip alone. The Brigadier’s Bar and Lounge operates on an honor system (in the spirit of an army officers’ mess) and offers a library of books, board games and DVDs. There’s also the option of flopping on a comfy deckchair and dining poolside. In Li’Tya Spa, uniquely Australian treatments are carried out in restful yet state-of-the-art rooms. Don’t miss the Mala Mayi (90-minute mud wrap and full-body massage) – when it’s over you’ll feel as though you’re walking on air.

In the Area

With relaxation taken care of at The Reef House, Palm Cove Village and the surrounding area is abuzz with activities. From snorkelling to scuba diving to golf to horse trekking to white-water rafting to the latest water craze, jet-ski flyboarding, you can get as big or small an adrenalin rush as you desire. Once you’ve worn yourself out, the village has a generous serve of bars, cafes and restaurants, plus the typical tourist boutiques and souvenirs shops.

How to Get There

The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery by Sofitel
99 Williams Esplanade
Palm Cove, 4879 Australia

Reviews

Not quite what I expected for a five star hotel
Paul_of_Ashby

The Reef House does not feel a luxury hotel. Rooms upstairs have no lift. My room for four nights overlooked the main pool was was shaded by large palms. It was ok but felt lacking in refinement, especially the bathroom and shower/loo areas. The basin is in the bedroom, seperate shower and loo. Maybe in keeping with the tropical feel of Palm Cove. The balcony had a swing sofa which was nice.
The pools are protected by gates and many rooms will need to pass through the gates to get out of the hotel or to the facilities. Can be irritating as designed to be child proof.
Breakfast is a bit on the poor side for the grade of hotel, the napkins look like they are for cleaning the floor with. The restaurant is reasonably good, I had dinner the first night. More expensive that independant restaurants, Vivo was the best I tried.

OLD STYLE COLONIAL AMBIENCE
Aussiegal15

We have now stayed at the Reef House around 6 times and each time we come up here we are made to feel so much at home. The staff are wonderful and it is great to see some familiar faces each year. The rooms are spotless and even though the bathrooms are old as, the House was actually opened to visitors in 1985, they are still spotlessly clean. Reef House has that wonderful ambience of being comfortable without being showy and it is the little touches which we appreciate each time we visit.
For instance, the drinks and nibbles each night at 5pm where we can mingle with other guests and hear what they have been doing throughout the day. The free morning newspapers that are available both in the restaurant and in the lounge room each morning. The free DVD's which are available on an honour system as well as the drinks that can be taken from the Brigadier's bar throughout the day. The lovely old fashioned push bikes which are delight to look at and I am sure wonderful to ride along the paths in Palm Cove.
The restaurant is excellent especially the 6 course degustation dinner as well as the a la carte menu as well as eating breakfast in thet lovely dining area where the sun is usually shining on the sea in front of you.
It is also very tranquil and quiet and the beds are excellent. Being in the centre of the main street of Palm Cove makes it very easy to eat out at the various restaurants each evening.
We have just spent 5 wonderful days here and will be sorry to say goodbye tomorrow. The Reef House and Palm Cove are two very special places that are a hidden gem to most of Australia.

Old Style Lay-back Luxury and Relaxation in a delightful sub-tropical environment.
Frederick H

This Hotel is excellent in all respects.
For us a retirees, it had a great mix of colonial style, relaxed ambience accompanied by unmatched staff and service.
Although our room was a little dated and lacked a few minor items (wardrobe drawers for folded clothing, container drawers in bathroom vanity for toiletries), it lacked nothing in comfort and all other facilities. The room was spacious with a huge outside patio equipped with kitchen/fridge etc. but especially two deck chair/lounges looking into a tropical garden and adjacent swimming pool.
All staff are highly customer service focused and were very courteous and helpful.
The Dining Room food presentation quality and taste was superb, with a well thought out menu - all 5 star. Albeit a little pricey, but quality and enjoyment can supercede the wallet.
The swimming pools are large and well appointed with one being a mineral pool.
The location is central to the Palm Cove beach strip which itself is a delight. The surf is only a reef surf from the Coral Sea and is OK for swimming, but not surfing. Seasonal concerns apply from Nov to April wet season in respect of precautions for sea stingers. Also, there are warnings re crocodiles which may come near the beach area (there is surveillance during surf Lifeguard hours) no concerns at all during our stay.
Overall we were delighted with the stay and will visit this excellent Hotel again in future times.
Most highly recommended.