Ellie Mitchell checks into the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in North Queensland.

Getting there:

Cairns Domestic and International Airport is a 10-minute drive away.

Check-in experience: Our room wasn't quite ready - but we were two hours early. The friendly staff organised a wi-fi connection and made us feel at home in the cool and stylish lobby, which had a coffee maker. We were also given access to the pool area to freshen up while we waited to check in.

Room: There are 128 rooms in the hotel; mine had a large balcony overlooking the pool, to the left were city views and to my right the ocean. The plantation shutters were a nice touch for added privacy.


Price: A superior room with king-size bed and spa from A$279 ($305), although rates can fluctuate.

What's so good about this place: Apart from watching TV from the spa bath, or sipping bubbles on the enormous balcony, it has to be the rainforest dome on top of the casino. Here you can cuddle a koala or meet Goliath, the huge saltwater crocodile. You can see him underwater or view him from above from a zipline. Rainforest ecology presentations are conducted throughout the day, and you can walk around the outside of the glass dome.

And the bad: The late-night karaoke on Sunday was really not inviting enough for us to have a post-dinner nightcap at Vertigo Bar.

What's in the neighbourhood: The Great Barrier Reef is on the doorstep, and the hotel is alongside Trinity Inlet. You couldn't be closer to Trinity Wharf where you can hop on one of the many boats for a day excursion. Restaurants and bars line the boardwalk, which begins in front of the hotel and leads to the salt water lagoon in the heart of the CBD.

Pool at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Photo / Ellie Mitchell
Pool at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Photo / Ellie Mitchell


Pretty much everything a girl needs and more.

Food and drink: Award-winning dining experiences such as Tamarind (Asian fusion) and Cafe China Restaurant (for fresh seafood and Peking duck pancakes).

The bed: Huge, and there's a pillow menu.


Bathroom: Complete with his-and-hers sinks, bath robes and a spa bath behind sliding doors.

Noise: Despite numerous bars and the casino, it's surprisingly tranquil and peaceful.

Room service: Have drinks, breakfast or even a complimentary yoga mat sent to your room.

Value for money: It has to be the place to stay when visiting Cairns, it is so close to everything.

Exercise facilities: There's an open-air rooftop swimming pool and spa, a sauna and gym and a beautiful boardwalk for early morning/evening jogging.

Contact: reefcasino.com.au
Perfect for: From a romantic getaway to a weekend with friends, this place has a lot to offer.

Would I return? Whenever I visit Cairns again this will definitely be my first choice.