Looking for a little luxury in close proximity to, well… everything? The DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin may just be your saviour – just make sure you’re at the right one.
Indeed, there are two Hilton DoubleTree branded hotels next to each other – and I mean directly next to each other – on the Esplanade in Darwin City. One is DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin and the other is DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Esplanade Darwin.
I’m not entirely sure why this is the case, and as you can imagine, it makes it somewhat problematic when it comes to ordering a taxi or an Uber, as you can bet your favourite Akubra on the fact that your carriage will be waiting in the wrong hotel entrance. For this reason, it pays to be sure you understand which one you’re staying at – as I learnt when my 6.45am tour pick-up spent 10 minutes sitting at the wrong hotel and almost left without me.
Nestled on the Esplanade in Darwin CBD, the hotel connects through to famous Mitchell Street, which features many of the city’s restaurants, bars and eateries. It’s also only a short drive, or a long walk to the much-loved Deckchair outdoor cinema, which is situated under the stars on Darwin’s waterfront.
A great welcome
During my visit the temperature was around 30°C during the day – a far cry from the tops of 17°C I’d grown accustomed to in Sydney during the previous weeks – and I found great solace in entering the air conditioned lobby of the Hilton, checking in seamlessly and receiving its signature warm choc chip cookie to accompany me up to my room.
When I took the lift up to my floor, I noticed that the open ceiling from the lobby to the roof means that the rooms are either on the left or right side of the void area as you exit the lift, this means no creepy long hallways, like you find in some hotels. It’s airy and bright – and quite nice to walk through, albeit potentially a little noisy if there’s commotion downstairs.
My room was gloriously roomy, with a plush bed, TV nestled high within my kitchenette, which was situated opposite my bed. There was also a desk and armchair – so much room for activities. Though the bathroom could do with an update, I was more than happy with the size and the feel – until it came time to shower.
Both in the evening and in the morning I was made to have a lukewarm-and-then-cold shower. I even let the water run for a few minutes to see if it was just a matter of allowing it to warm up. But alas, I jumped in to brave the cold, washed only the essentials and was out of there, pronto.
It should be said, however, that my colleague in a different room said he experienced beautiful warm showers on both occasions, so perhaps it was just my bad luck.
(I did raise this issue with the receptionist upon checking out and she apologised, said that she gets told that every now and then, and that they’ll “have to have someone look at it”. There was no offer of any discount, and I didn’t push.)
While it was certainly hot in Darwin, unfortunately I wasn’t able to squeeze in a quick swim to my hectic schedule. However, as in photos, the pool looked incredibly tempting in real life. Set adjacent to the hotel’s eatery, it positively glistened as the hot sun warmed it.
I was only able to eat at Poolside Restaurant, the DoubleTree’s restaurant once during my stay – and it was for a 6.30am breakfast before my scheduled tour pick-up that morning. The buffet had crispy bacon, silky scrambled eggs, cold juice and an array of cold cuts, as well as yoghurt and bircher muesli. There was also a juicer and an array of ingredients to make your own freshly pressed variety.
All in all, the DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin is a nice place to stay. A nice eatery, great pool for the kids (and adults) and the cookie on arrival makes it all the more sweet. Just ensure your shower is in working order and you know which hotel you’re actually staying in!
We rated: The cookie, the pool and the comfy bed.
We’d change: The shower temperature! And the confusion when it came to pick-up due to the two DoubleTree hotels being side-by-side.
Notes: Rates from $97 per night. Buffet breakfast is $27.50 and the continental buffet breakfast is $21 per person.
Contact: (08) 8943 3600; 122 Esplanade, Darwin City. See doubletree3.hilton.com