Stay of the Week: Crystalbrook Riley
Whether you dive into the deep end of its lagoon, settle on the sands of the beach or enjoy complimentary access to the nearby aquarium, a stay at this resort is a water-lover's wonderland.
July 06, 2023
In Stay of the Week, we explore some of the world's best and most unique accommodations, giving you inspiration for your next trip. In this instalment, we set the compass to Tropical North Queensland and take a trip to Cairns for a special stay at Crystalbrook Riley. We love this place so much that we teamed up with the resort to offer an exclusive four-night travel deal — including in-room entertainment, aquarium access and accommodation in an ultra-refined Urban Room.
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL?
Queenslanders have had a good few reasons to celebrate of late: State of Origin wins. A low-intensity heatwave that makes it feel they're never going to break up with summer. First place in a new survey that asked Aussies to rank their favourite local travel destination. And while anyone who's not a Maroons fan probably doesn't want to hear them gloat about their footballing victories, we can certainly support a destination that grants us access to sunny days and balmy nights right now without the need to renew our passports.
Pitching itself for consideration is Crystalbrook Riley, a five-star stay that's strategically situated along Cairns' iconic coastal boardwalk. It has some of the best beaches of the world literally at your doorstep. Luxe location aside, Crystalbrook Riley's outstanding amenities are equally impressive. They include a 1000-square-metre swimming lagoon, a private man-made beach, bustling bars and restaurants and some seriously stylish rooms and suites.
The Crystalbrook Riley team is proud to proclaim that its 311 rooms and suites most certainly do not feel like a home away from home. But before you think that's a typo allow us to explain its rationale.
Basically, it's because the team believes that leaving your teeny one-bedroom with views over the main road to spend your time away in the same sort of set-up defeats the purpose. Instead, it delivers all of the good things you love about your own house (big beds, comfy couches, steaming hot showers) and adds some oomph by making the design a little more sophisticated, the furnishings a touch more elegant and the kind of contemporary cool accessories you'd find at a boutique homeware store.
FOOD AND DRINK
If you're in Cairns, you're probably going dedicate a couple of days to super-early-start excursions like the Daintree National Park or the Great Barrier Reef. On those occasions, when you come home exhausted and don't have the physical energy to untangle your salty hair let alone order an Uber, Crystalbrook Riley's own in-hotel restaurants are on hand.
The highest rooftop bar in Cairns, Rocco, is all about generous serves, share-style dining and fresh dishes that take inspiration from the Middle East and the Mediterranean and recreate them with fresh regional produce. Highlights include mezza plates featuring freshly shucked oysters, house-made labneh cheese, Far North Queensland grilled tiger prawns, confit chicken and grilled lamb cutlets. Pair them with a smart selection of sweet and savoury cocktails, like the Moroccan-inspired Message in a Bottle, for an experience that is truly unmissable.
On the other hand, if you're all about an Asian epicurean experience, then Paper Crane offers a modern menu that makes the most of Tropical North Queensland's fresh ingredients while highlighting the best of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese fare. Signature dishes such as the citrus soy-marinated Tableland rib-eye steak on the bone pair perfectly with Paper Crane's custom cocktails. Just be sure to pace yourself if you have another long day trip planned for the next morning.
THE LOCAL AREA
Know as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is the place to base yourself if swimming and snorkelling among world-heritage-listed marine life is on your bucket list. Ditto those seeking easy access to the iconic Daintree Rainforest and its soaring green canopies.
But beyond its beaches and bushland, Cairns is also a dream holiday destination for those who like to pack their itinerary with drinking, dining and days spent doing a little retail damage. Our suggestions include the tropical treats at Charley's Chocolate Factory, sunset cocktails at seaside bar Salt House, the small boutiques in Oceania Walk or Galleria for high-end designer stores.
Did you even go on a holiday if you didn't treat yourself to a fancy facial and meditative massage? Although Crystalbrook Riley's Eleme Spa is temporarily closed, guests can still enjoy access to the equally fabulous Eleme Day Spa Crystalbrook Flynn just down the road, where treatments such as couples therapy and detox packages are all available.
Additionally, those who take advantage of this exclusive Concrete Playground Trips promotion can enjoy two complimentary tickets to the famed Cairns Aquarium. It's home to the Southern Hemisphere's only two-storey Deep Reef Tank, the 360-degree Oceanarium and Underwater Viewing Tunnel. Guests can spot rare species of sharks, sting rays, crocodiles and more, as they attempt to find Nemo.
Feeling inspired to book a truly unique getaway? Head to Concrete Playground Trips to explore a range of holidays curated by our editorial team. We've teamed up with all the best providers of flights, stays and experiences to bring you a series of unforgettable trips in destinations all over the world.
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