Words by Renae Spinks
If you believe the local paper, the Northern Territory is full of crocodiles and UFOs. But business travellers to Darwin know it’s also full of great hotels. In between meetings, venture out to experience the city’s wonderful al fresco restaurants, museums, galleries and cosmopolitan markets. And when the working day is done, beat a retreat from the tropical heat to your stylish abode. If you’re in Darwin over a weekend, take some time out to enjoy nearby Litchfield or Kakadu national parks.
Mantra on the Esplanade
As the name suggests, this hotel is on the Esplanade and affords views of Darwin Harbour and the Arafura Sea. It’s a short walk from the restaurants of Mitchell Street, the shopping of Smith Street and the CBD. Of the 204 accommodation rooms, take your pick of hotel rooms or self-contained apartments (one, two or three-bedroom) with a full kitchen and laundry.
There’s an outdoor swimming pool (no crocs!), 24-hour reception and the Finz Restaurant & Bar serves modern Australian food with an emphasis on tropical flavours and fresh local seafood. It’s a great spot for breakfast, business lunches or after-work drinks. Function spaces can cater from 15 to 50 delegates, or for a point of difference, small groups can book one of the two penthouses with pan panoramic views.
And when you book your stay in this SmartSTAY Darwin hotel through your FCBT Travel Manager, you get the added benefit of complimentary Wi-Fi internet access (up to 1GB a day), 15 per cent discount on lunch and dinner (excluding alcoholic drinks), and a complimentary room upgrade (subject to availablility).
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Esplanade Darwin
Another gem on the Esplanade, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Esplanade Darwin sits right beside the Darwin Entertainment Centre. Its sister hotel (DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin) is next door, too, and you can walk to the many major businesses and government offices in the CBD. It has beautiful ocean views and you get a fresh-baked cookie on arrival.
Picture: DoubleTree by Hilton
All rooms feature spacious work areas and high-speed internet access, while suites also have a separate living area. There are six meeting spaces, including a ballroom, with everything you need in audiovisual equipment. And there’s a 24-hour business centre. This hotel also lays claim to the largest outdoor swimming pool in the city, and the poolside restaurant and bar, Aqua, serves everything from toasted sandwiches to fish and chips (you haven’t really tasted barramundi until you’ve tried NT barramundi).
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Rydges Palmerston – Darwin
About 20 minutes from the CBD, you’ll find the brand-new, open-plan Rydges Palmerston – Darwin. Palmerston is a trade centre that’s handy for those who need to get to regional areas, as well as to the CBD. There are 200 guest rooms, suites and apartments, and there are six event spaces catering for up to 600 guests for the perfect Top End meetings, conferences and events.
Check out the award-winning Fork and Dagger Bar & Grill for contemporary Australian cuisine beside the resort-style outdoor pool. There’s also a 24-hour reception, WiFi access, well-equipped gym a shuttle bus to the CBD and airport, plus free parking. It’s also close to shops and a cinema.
SmartSTAY benefits include free WiFi, complimentary late check-out until 1pm, a complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability), and 20 per cent off in-house food and beverage (excluding room service and minibar).
Novotel Darwin Airport
Just here for a flying visit? The Novotel Darwin Airport is right next to the Darwin International Airport and is a perfect place for business meetings on the fly. It has spacious, well appointed rooms, an attractive outdoor swimming pool, WiFi access, and event facilities that cater for up to 150 guests. It’s not far from the CBD and the Casuarina Shopping Centre.
The Loong Fong Chinese Restaurant & Bar specialises in seafood and serves a daily buffet breakfast, and a la carte lunch and dinner. Or have a drink by the pool at the Loong Fong Bar.
Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront
The Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront sits in the heart of the Darwin Waterfront precinct, with easy access to entertainment and dining options – perfect for schmoozing your business clients. It also has four meeting rooms, with balconies, that seat up to 100. The 121 well-appointed guest rooms feature work desks with lamps.
Picture: Vibe Hotels
After your flight, or work day, release some stress in the gym, cool off in the indoor pool and relax in the jacuzzi, before dining at Curve Cafe and Bar.
SmartSTAY benefits include complimentary WiFi (100mB a day), complimentary late check out until 2pm, and a complimentary upgrade to the next available room category (subject to availability).