Review: Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas
While I was in Australia over the summer I spent a few days up at Port Douglas. I covered the flights between Sydney and Cairns. About 70 minutes from the Cairns airport is Port Douglas, a jumping off point both for the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. I’ve been here many times.
On the whole I prefer staying ‘in town’ but I also like spending points for expensive stays. The Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas, where I’ve also stayed in the past (though not in the last 8 years), was delivering well over a penny per Marriott point (at 40,000 points per night).
- It’s not ‘in town’ so requires a car or van/taxi to go off property to dinner. Excursions will generally pick you up at the property.
- It’s been renovated since I stayed last. The property is really nice, staff are very friendly, and there are pools everywhere. Even when full the hotel never seemed it.
The hotel dates to 1987. Bill and Hillary Clinton have stayed there, along with Leonardo DiCaprio , John Travolta, Tom Hanks, and Mick Jagger. It was refurbished in 2004, and then again in 2015. I stayed in the first updated room where I was last at the property in 2015. The hotel sits on 360 acres and features tennis, golf, gym and spa.
The hotel’s grounds are lovely, and it’s right on Four Mile Beach.
It’s taken several weeks for me to comment on the hotel because there honestly didn’t seem like there was that much to say about it. It’s very nice for a Sheraton! It also commands high room rates for a Sheraton. During the pandemic, those Aussies who could get into Queensland bid up room rates to around AU$800 per night (it was pricing around AU$550++ while I was there). I’d heard from staff that they could price the property at a thousand dollars and still sell rooms – but that their property scores would plummet because guests have higher expectations than what they can deliver at that price point.
I found the hotel much nicer than when I stayed last. If I had a single quibble it’s that the floors in the rooms were dirty – not in the sense that housekeeping did anything other than a bang up job, but that the floors absorbed dirt such that you couldn’t walk on them with bare feet (and didn’t really want to walk on them in socks). They do provide slippers.
The other thing to note up front is that while there are extra large rooms, and rooms opening up onto lagoons where you can swim out, they really don’t have suites on offer and it’s not common to upgrade into their owned-villas. Traveling with my wife and daughter and wanting more space, I booked two rooms and worked with the hotel in advance on connecting rooms. That required a king and two queens, and limited any upgrade options. We stayed in a more remote spot on the edge of the property, which meant a longer walk for most things but it was quiet and lovely.
Also mentionable is that the hotel has probably the best Sheraton breakfast outside of North or Southeast Asia, an improvement compared to eight years ago, and a nice value then since the Marriott Platinum breakfast comes with the full buffet.
We were given a fruit plate and bottle of champagne as an amenity. There’s a coffee maker in-room. And while they provide a couple of waters per day, they happily delivered more on request (I was told they would charge for this, but they did not).
The bedrooms are nice, though without much sense of place.
Bathrooms are nice for Sheratons, with combination shower-tub that you step up into.
As I say I almost didn’t cover the hotel because I enjoyed the stay, it was the perfect spot with my wife and daughter in between visits to Sydney for family. But it’s a place I’ve stayed and reviewed in the past. And because if you’re new to Port Douglas and looking to experience the town rather than a resort you would probably look outside of large chain properties. Still, it is very nice and one of my favorite Sheratons in the world.