These Are Australia’s Best Hotels, Spas, Pools and More in 2023

These Are Australia’s Best Hotels, Spas, Pools and More in 2023

Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards Asia Pacific 2023 reveals our readers’ picks of the best hotels, pools, spas and even general managers in Australia. A rush of new urban stays has gone up with gusto, but you can also find high luxury in the bush and on the beaches.

Luxury Awards

IT’S TAKEN A WHILE FOR cities in Australia to bounce back from the mass exodus of people seeking a sea- or treechange during covid. But if you ever needed proof that urban locales are cool again, just look to the growing crop of hotels, both boutique and big-chain, that have opened, or will soon, in Sydney. The unofficial capital is experiencing a renaissance, with sleek new dining precincts opening to complement the influx of stays in the city centre. And Sydney is not alone, with Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and Perth all bringing something to the table.

Indeed, a heritage property in Perth, COMO The Treasury, won Best City Hotel and Best Hotel Spa in Australia. Look to its soothing, stylish interiors and rooms with heaps of history that make it the perfect base for exploring Perth’s laneways and bars. Meanwhile, the arrival of Ace Hotel Sydney (No. 9) last year with its buzzing lobby and one of the city’s most talked about rooftop restaurants, signified a shift in hotel culture that we hope more people will embrace: as well as creating communal spaces that welcome non-guests, regular art, music and other programming gins up a FOMO-inducing vibe. An example: Crescent Head beach’s SeaSea, due to open later this year in north NSW from the couple behind Bali’s The Slow, where the focus will be on music and surf in a retro motel that’s been revamped with contemporary design and interiors.

Taking No. 1 on the Best Beach + Island Hotels list, with its shorefront luxury, polished dining and state-of-the-art gym, is the new Langham Gold Coast, an oasis in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Elsewhere in this category, Southern Ocean Lodge (No. 7) has returned more stylish than ever after it was destroyed in bushfires in 2019, while tented Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Safari Camp (No. 9) gets you closer than ever to nature. 

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Image courtesy of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

We will never tire of the bush, either. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a wilderness stay surrounded by dramatic escarpments and frequented by kangaroos and wombats. This retreat in the Greater Blue Mountains is an homage to all that’s Aussie – and thus a spot-on winner of the Best Country Hotels and Lodges category. Working cattle station Bullo River Station (No. 10) in the Northern Territory is Australia’s answer to safari. And second-place Gemtree Wines CABNX offers a tiny stay on a vineyard just 45 minutes from Adelaide. 

In the Best Hotel Pools department, it’s not just the panoramas over Darling Harbour that makes Sofitel Sydney’s winning infinity number so glam; its pool bar Le Rivage also serves up inventive cocktails. Special shout-out to JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (No. 4) for its sand-edged lagoon pool and Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas for its nine pools spanning two hectares.

…And for its general manager, Steve Molnar, who was voted best in his category for leading the hotel and its team through a handful of awards nominations and acknowledgments and has a strong commitment to sustainability and guest experience. Hattip also to Amy Moylan at Ovolo South Yarra for her leadership in innovation.

It’s been a challenging few years for Aussies, but they’re a resilient bunch and keen to showcase everything this great land has to offer. There’s been an effort to amplify indigenous voices through both city and country tours run by local elders in Australia’s major cities and beyond.

Best Beach + Island Hotels in Australia

1. The Langham Gold Coast

Courtesy of The Langham Gold Coast

2. InterContinental Hayman Island Resort

3. Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas

4. JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa

5. Qualia, Hamilton Island

6. Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

7. Southern Ocean Lodge

8. Orpheus Island

9. Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Safari Camp

10. Bedarra Island Resort

Best City Hotels in Australia

1. COMO The Treasury

COMO The Treasury Valet Parking
COMO The Treasury Valet Parking. Courtesy of COMO

2. The Tasman Hobart

3. W Melbourne

4. Crown Sydney

5. The Ritz-Carlton Perth

6. W Brisbane

7. Sofitel Sydney, Darling Harbour

8. United Places South Yarra

9. Ace Hotel Sydney

10. Kimpton Margot Sydney

Best Country Hotels + Lodges in Australia

1. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Australia. Courtesy of  One&Only

2. Gemtree Wines Cabnx

3. InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula

4. Saffire Freycinet

5. Jackalope Hotel

6. Cradle Mountain Lodge

7. El Questro Homestead

8. Silky Oaks Lodge

9. Arkaba Homestead

10. Bullo River Station

Best Hotel Pools in Australia

1. Sofitel Sydney, Darling Harbour

Sofitel Sydney, Darling Harbour
Sofitel Sydney, Darling Harbour. Courtesy of Accor

2. Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas

3. The Ritz-Carlton Perth

4. JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa

5. W Brisbane

6. InterContinental Hayman Island Resort

7. Emporium Hotel, South Bank, Brisbane

8. Lake Argyle Resort

9. Orpheus Island

10. Crystalbrook Flynn

Best Hotel Spas in Australia

1. COMO The Treasury

COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Lobby
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Lobby at COMO The Treasury. Courtesy of COMO

2. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

3. Elements of Byron Resort & Spa

4. Park Hyatt Sydney

5. The Day Spa by Chuan, The Langham, Sydney

Best Hotel General Managers in Australia

1. Steve Molnar, Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas

2. Damon Page, W Melbourne

3. Amy Moylan, Ovolo South Yarra

4. Jesse Tibert, Como The Treasury

5. Bernard Langer, Sydney Harbour Marriott, Circular Quay

You’ll find great diversity in these lists of our readers’ picks of the best hotels and hotel features across Australia for 2023. And for all of this year’s Luxury Awards Asia-Pacific winners, click here.

Lede image credit: zstockphotos/Getty Images/Canva.

Written By

Jenny Hewett

Jenny Hewett