The capital of the Northern Territory Darwin is the only tropical capital in Australia. It’s a famed gateway to the Top End, which is widely considered as Australia’s last frontier. In fact, it feels removed from the rest of the country and Bali feels like it’s right across the Timor Sea, which it actually is. Besides its rich, indigenous history, Darwin is also known for its fairly active LGBT community. What’s more, it’s home to the only gay club in the Territory! With many gay accommodation and hotels in Darwin, it’s no surprise that LGBTQ travelers throng here for a culture-filled seaside holiday.
Although attitudes are slightly more conservative than east-coast Australian capitals like Sydney and even Brisbane, you won’t encounter any problems here. Most gay friendly venues, including the famous Throb Nightclub, sit in Downtown Darwin. That said, most LGBTQ travelers come here to also explore the culture and the rich natural beauty of the region. For instance, Darwin sits at the edge of Kakadu National Park, one of The 12 Most Amazing National Parks On Earth. Even the one-of-a-kind Tiwi Islands are just a short boat ride away. So, pack your bags to explore this culture-rich and gay friendly capital of the beautiful Northern Territory. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly accommodations and hotels in Darwin, Australia.
Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites
The Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites are one of the most luxurious private gay accommodations in Darwin. As the name suggests, they sit overlooking Kitchener Bay in southern Darwin. The sleek, modern getaway enjoys lovely saltwater breezes, maximum luxury, and privacy, and is the perfect gay romantic getaway in the town. The city center is a mere 10-15-minute walk, as is Darwin’s sole, but a pulsating gay club.
The suites are all sophistication and charm with splashes of vibrant hues against a canvas of stark-white white furniture. Shag pile rugs and modern Aboriginal artwork add to the ambiance. Everything you need is taken care of a two-man team, right from on-demand facilities to inquiries. You’re welcomed with a breakfast pack of condiments, milk, coffee pods, small cereal packs, fruit, and bread. If you don’t want to cook, there’s an excellent selection of restaurants nearby.
The swanky apartments come fully equipped with on-demand streaming TV, Wi-Fi, barbeques, balconies, and fully equipped kitchens, of course. The bedrooms are particularly mesmerizing with stunning views of the harbor from easily half of them. Bathrooms, albeit compact, are contemporary with cheeky frosted glass walls separating them from the bedroom.
Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront
Vibe Hotel is one of the sexiest gay hotels you can stay at in Darwin. The hotel occupies an enviable location in the Waterfront Precinct overlooking a brilliant turquoise harbor and is a mere 10-minute walk from the city center. Besides, it makes for an excellent value stay.
The Vibe hotel chain radiates a trendy and youthful vibe – pun unintended – and it’s no different at the Darwin outpost. The place features boxy black-bamboo furniture in the lobby, bright-yellow-and-pink wall patterns at the café, and light blue artwork and fabrics in the rooms. For a value hotel, the facilities here are aplenty. Not only is there a business center, but there’s also a coin laundry, a gym, as well as bikes for hire for exploring on your own. The standout, though, is the lovely outdoor pool, which is a blessing during balmy weather. It sits right next to the ground-floor café which serves, among other meals, both a paid continental or a hot buffet breakfast.
The rooms are anything but ho-hum, complete with informal lounge areas, plush beds, and compact bathrooms with large showers. When you’re booking rooms, choose one that faces the waterfront.
Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront
Good, value stays in the heart of Darwin have only come about in the last decade or so. When it comes to excellent value gay accommodations in Darwin, then the Adina Apartment Hotel in the Waterfront Precinct is very gay-popular. Comfortable and compact, these apartments make for an excellent stay in an equally excellent area. For, it has everything from cinemas and food courts to picnic areas and even a ‘harbor swim’ area right out front.
The place is, surprisingly, full of spaces to relax. So, you have the east Asian-inspired lounge area full of black-bamboo furniture. The highlight though is the café that seems to come alive with modern Aboriginal Australian artwork. The ground-level space offers, among other meals, excellent breakfast options of a full breakfast, a continental one, and just coffee and breakfast roll separately. Albeit paid, they all offer excellent value. The café sits right next to the small but lovely pool that’s fringed with daybeds. Rounding up the amenities are the business center, gym, and bikes for hire.
The rooms at Adina have everything you’ll ever need for a comfortable stay, but make sure you ask for waterfront apartments. You can choose from traditional rooms to full-blown apartments with laundries and full kitchens, depending on what you want. Nevertheless, all rooms feature a vibrant color palette and modern bathrooms.
There’s no better gay friendly chain hotel in Darwin than the discreet Hilton, tucked away in Darwin’s Central Business District (CBD). An angled entrance might make you miss out on this grande dame, which is a wellspring of enticing harbor views and impeccable and impossibly warm service. It sits at one end of Darwin’s liveliest street and is surrounded by some of its best bars and restaurants, including its only gay nightclub. What’s more, the waterfront and esplanade are a mere 10-minute walk.
A towering lobby with opulent chandeliers and high ceilings sets the tone for your stay here. The split-level restaurant is particularly pleasing to the eye and is one Insta-worthy spot. It also serves excellent meals, including full buffet breakfast with cold/hot items as well as an Asian food selection. The outdoor swimming pool that looks out to the sky is a delight, as is the executive lounge, Here, you can nibble on light snacks and read a book or catch up on work at one of the two computers. If you’re a fitness fanatic, then there’s also a small gym that’ll please you immensely. The cherry on top is the beauty salon.
When it comes to accommodations, you can choose from comfortable basic rooms, executive rooms, and suites, which have harbor views. Besides being outfitted themselves, rooms also have immaculate bathrooms with indulgent showerheads.
H on Smith Hotel
If you want to party the night away, then there’s no better gay accommodation in Darwin than the H on Smith Hotel. It sits in the middle of Darwin’s bar and restaurant scene and is a stone’s throw from Throb, the pulsating LGBT nightclub. Even the Waterfront Precinct is a 10-minute walk. Moreover, the hotel is immensely chic and big on style and sensibilities and boasts a smattering of amenities.
With well-designed shared spaces, the hotel encourages mingling and is a space designed for social butterflies. After a makeover, the on-site restaurant and bar is now one chic, tropical-themed space. It serves piquant food with a ‘modern Asian influence,’ but it’s the continental breakfast that’ll delight you. For the price, it offers more than what is usually served in Australian hotels. The outdoor pool fringed with florae and daybeds is the place to unwind, while the foyer is an excellent place to relax. Furthermore, the hotel even has a rooftop gym and free parking, which is a huge bonus for a city-center hotel.
The rooms are all comfortable with vibrant color accents and spacious showers. They also have separate lounge areas, as well as panoramic views across the city. Moreover, you’ll find kettles, slippers, and minibars even in entry-level rooms.
Chillis Backpackers is one of the best budget gay friendly accommodations in Darwin. Located right in the city center one block from Esplanade, the hostel is also one of the best backpacker hostels in the town. There’s a lot to love about this tranquil backpacker haven, which is a hop, skip, and jump from Darwin’s best shopping, restaurants, bars, and clubs.
To begin with, it has an excellent rooftop terrace, which is a rarity in Darwin. The rooftop space is a lounging hub, complete with a hot tub to enjoy a soak after spending the day exploring. It even has sun loungers and a shaded area for relaxing and striking conversations with fellow travelers. The same can be done in a comfortable and cozy common area, which has lots of potted plants to liven up the place. Moreover, the shared kitchen with an adjacent covered balcony is perfect, which is also where you enjoy a continental complimentary breakfast every day.
Similarly, rooms here are immaculate with choices of both dorms and private rooms. Albeit small, they receive lots of natural light and have immaculate and spotless bathrooms. Furthermore, personal security lockers help you stash your belongings safely.
Mindil Beach Casino and Resort
Do you want to splash out on your gay accommodation in Darwin? We’d highly suggest you book the Mindil Beach Casino and Resort, which is the most luxurious stay in town. It sits on the gorgeous Mindil Beach, with neat lawns and palm trees-fringed parklands right next to it. Adding to the luxurious vibe are the adjacent casino, a swimmable lagoon, and a manmade beach with a swim-up bar! The city center is a leisurely 30-minute stroll or a short 5-minute drive.
As small as Darwin is, Sky City feels like a serene tropical resort in its midst. The standout here is the sky-blue lagoon, from where the water flows lazily past the bar/restaurant before reaching the ‘beach.’ Even more palm trees fringe the ‘beach’ area, which is floored with white sand. So, it’s not surprising that Sky City has a smattering of facilities, many of which lie in the hotel and casino complex next door. These include four restaurants and bars, as well as a gym and a sauna. At the resort itself, the highlights are the stunning infinity pool along with the sandbar and the dedicated restaurants. Lounge by the pool and sip on cocktails before heading to the restaurant for mealtimes, which are nothing less than a feast.
All rooms are chic and breezy and feature separate sleeping and lounge areas with indigenous design touches. Moreover, all rooms boast either huge balconies or swim-up decks going right up to the lagoon. Besides all mod-cons, the highlight in the rooms is that the bathrooms are expansive and modern with bathtubs. What’s more, an accordion screen brings the bathtub right into the room!
Mercure Darwin Airport Resort
Rarely do hotels by the airport stand out, but the gay friendly Mercure Darwin Airport Resort is something else. The Bali-inspired sanctuary belies the humdrum aesthetic that airport hotels usually have, and is one of the best luxe stays around. Even though it’s an airport hotel, the city center is a mere 15-minute taxi ride, while the beachside Rapid Creek is just north of the hotel On your last morning/evening in Darwin, wander here during sunrise or sunset.
The tropical theme is evident everywhere, right from the open-sided foyer to the pool area ensconced in palm trees. Daybeds with umbrellas line the pool, which is the perfect place to unwind on the property. Beach resort-style bungalows fringe the pool, beyond which lie the studios and rooms in standard hotel blocks. As soon as you check-in, the staff hands you a rather handy map of the property, which makes it easy to navigate. Aside from the gym and business center, the standout is the vibrant Cossie’s bistro. Choose a table on the deck for a hearty breakfast buffet of congee, baked beans, roast pumpkin, hash browns, bacon, eggs, and Asian stir-fry.
The best part about the resort is its wide spectrum of room types, which range from basic, short-stay rooms to lavish bungalows. For the ultimate experience, we’d recommend you go for the bungalows which are spacious with updated mod-cons and plush bathrooms and lead right to the pool.
Oaks Elan Darwin
Apart-hotels are a very popular stay option in the town, and the Oaks Elan is one of the best inner-city apartment-hotel gay accommodations in Darwin. Located on a quiet boulevard in Darwin’s CBD, the hotel sits smack dab in the middle of the town’s entertainment and dining district. Moreover, the Waterfront Precinct is a mere 10-minute walk.
Oaks feels like a cross between a chain hotel and a high-end and modern apartment building. Conservative yet contemporary, the hotel’s white, black, brown, and red color scheme fits into its low-key style. Despite being an apart-hotel, Oaks Elan boasts a good bunch of facilities. The long, outdoor pool is a real perk and looks snazzily when it’s illuminated by neon lights after dark. The small gym is perfect if you don’t want to miss out on your workout regimen. Moreover, the staff is unfailingly helpful and efficient, and the service is impeccable. Finally, the hotel’s on-site restaurant serves delectable modern Australian cuisine, as well as a creative à la carte breakfast.
You can choose from rooms or one/two-bedroom apartments that come with or without harbor views. If you get an apartment, then definitely go for one with the harbor views. What’s more, the bathrooms are spotless and modern.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin
The gay friendly accommodation that is DoubleTree by Hilton sits at the northern end of the Esplanade in Darwin. It’s a quiet city center pocket, right opposite a lush parkland, and perfect for exploring the town. Most of the city’s best dining and entertainment spots are a 10-15-minute walk. Moreover, the building isn’t without history. Its pool is famous for the wind-blown cars which landed here during the 1970s Cyclone Tracy!
A tropical theme runs throughout the modern yet timeless hotel, right from the breezy foyer to the palm-tree-lined pool. The small, but heavenly pool is a refreshing break from Darwin’s perennial heat. The poolside restaurant serves lip-smacking Northern Territory food as well as a huge buffet breakfast. Besides a coin laundry and a business center, the small grassed area is the perfect place to lounge and relax.
You won’t be able to get enough of the spectacular harbor views, so make sure you book a room accordingly. Floor-to-ceiling windows, a lounge area, and modern bathrooms with glass sliding doors complete the place.
Travelodge Resort Darwin
Luxury doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket, like the fabulous Travelodge Resort. One of the best overall gay accommodations in Darwin, this sprawling city center apart-hotel has the most scenic of settings. Rooms and townhouses surrounded two heavenly-looking pools, fringed by wispy and swaying palm trees. Now, what could be better?
The pools with the waterfall are, without doubt, the best feature at Travelodge and emanate a tropical holiday feel. The hut-styled restaurant features a striking outdoor deck and overlooks the two pools. What’s more, it serves delicious Modern Australian cuisine as well as a delectable full buffet breakfast. Apart from an indoor lounge space, there are even gas barbeques where you can enjoy an evening of grilling by the pool with family or friends.
What makes Travelodge a great option for everyone is that its offerings range from budget motel rooms to regular guest rooms to suites townhouses. If money isn’t an object, we’d recommend the executive rooms or the townhouses. Bathrooms are modern and are even undergoing a refurbishment now.
Just So You Know:
- Darwin’s first Pride took place all the way back in 1985!
Get Some Culture in Darwin:
- Darwin Pride – This is undoubtedly the biggest LGBT celebration in Darwin. Although it takes place more in clubs and bars than in the streets, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Darwin:
- THROB Nightclub – This is not only the only gay club in town, but rather in the Territory. Nevertheless, it’s one amazing hangout place for the LGBTQ community and sees drag shows.
- Cavenagh – This gay-popular hotel, bar, and cafe is a gathering place for the Gay Men’s Pride group at 5 p.m. on Thursdays for drinks. It even has a pool!
Best Gay Saunas in Darwin:
- There isn’t any gay sauna in Darwin yet. But, given the relative open-mindedness of this city, we wouldn’t be surprised if gay saunas come up in the future.