Winston Aldworth checks into the Paradise Resort, on Australia’s Gold Coast.


At Surfers Paradise, on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Who's it for? This is very much a family-focused resort, slap-bang in the middle of a family-focused destination.

Room: We were in Room 2306 - a first-floor spot classed as a Superior Resort Room. The resort is divided into four different areas, each with a kiddy-themed lizard character and colour scheme. Our room was in the Captain's Quarters.


There are 359 rooms of different styles and sizes, catering for families of up to six children.

All rooms have a private balcony.

Check-in experience: Swift. Cleverly, they've got a huge play area right by check in. While one parent gets the room sorted and parks the car, the other kicks back and watches junior hooning it in the playground. It sets the tone for the whole stay.

The bed: Comfy. Our room fitted a queen double and a king single comfortably enough. We also had a single kid's bed wedged in there, there's room - just - for a second kid's bed.

The bathroom: Bit of a tight spot, the focus is on functionality.

Toiletries: Nada. Just a couple of those hand-pump soap dispensers.

Fellow guests: Solid Aussie, middle-class folk. The kids are full of beans and the parents know what it is to sing along in the front row of a Jimmy Barnes concert. Good sorts all round, we found them cheerful company, happy to share their evening chardonnay over a poolside chat.

For the kids: There are two four-hour kids club sessions daily. Guests get one for free each day, and for a few bucks extra, they'll feed the kids in there too. The kids' area is a massive playground and they're well entertained.

There's also an indoor ice-skating rink, but our wee man only had eyes for the gargantuan waterpark.

Food and drink: The breakfast fare is basic, but quick. We only ate in one night, chomping a good, cheap pizza poolside when the 4-year-old's exhaustion levels dictated that we weren't going out. The bar is open late and there's a shop onsite selling more booze if you fancy a quiet one on the balcony to round out the day.

One hundred metres up the road is the Marriott Hotel, where you'll find Misono, Australia's largest teppanyaki restaurant. We had a fantastic night out there and I heartily recommend the place. Likewise the lunch at Helm Bar & Bistro, a 10-minute walk the other way - a cracking spot.

Exercise: Keeping up with my boy Baxter in the waterpark was exercise enough for me.

The views: Even the front-facing rooms don't get much of a seaview, as you're a street back from the beachside boulevard. The internal courtyard is home to the waterpark, which is a busy spectacle and people-watching hub.

What's in the neighbourhood? The Goldie's big theme parks are a 20-minute drive away. Closer to home the beach is a five-minute walk.

Other facilities: In the evening, once the water-play park shuts down, a movie screen pops up.

Price: At the affordable end of the market for Surfers Paradise. A Superior Resort Room, like ours, goes for $234 per night. The biggest set up, a Superior Resort Interconnecting Room (housing two adults and six kids), goes for $468.

Noise: With our room facing a quiet street, we had no noise at all. Those looking out on to the large, rowdy pool area would probably get an earful until the playpark shuts around 7pm, but it'd actually be pretty nice for the atmosphere. I'm picking that the units facing the main street - Ferny Avenue - would catch traffic noise.

Free wi-fi? In the public areas. Charges apply in your room. (Hot tip: We found the free service worked throughout.)

What's so good about this place? It's a great base for a young family. The price is right and there's enough onsite to keep the kids busy when you take a break from the theme parks.