Top up your tan: 6 Gold Coast hotel & beach combos

By Lachlan Probyn,

If you’re looking for a beach escape that’s close enough to home it won’t break the bank, then the Gold Coast should be top of your list. So why not get up close and personal with the GC set, and draw your own conclusion of this idyllic strip of coastline?

To make things a little easier we’ve found the best Gold Coast accommodation to pair with some of the region’s finest locations. Now all that’s left to sort is a new pair of togs to pack!


South Stradbroke Island

Located at the northern end of the Broadwater, South Stradbroke Island – or South Straddie as the locals refer to it – is just a short ferry ride from Hope Harbour Marina. Boasting picturesque sand dunes and native bushland, this wildlife paradise offers several enchanting sites to behold.

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Couran Cove Island Resort

If you want to appreciate slow-paced island life and unwind in something truly luxurious, then Couran Cove Island Resort is certain to meet your needs, with a range of apartments and villas surrounded by beaches and forest.

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For some added privacy, book one of the two-bedroom, self-catering eco cabins which are immersed in the heart of the Banksia forest. Although still close to all the action, these cabins give guests an up-close-and-personal experience with nature.

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To explore the scenic region, make use of the resort’s bike rental service and cycle through the island’s natural beauty. Alternatively, if your idea of a holiday involves something more relaxing, make use of the resort’s private patrolled beach on the eastern side of the island.

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Southport

If you were wondering where the heart of the Gold Coast was, the best response would be the downtown district of Southport. Considered by some to be the Gold Coast’s birthplace, Southport boasts a number of historic landmarks as well as several multicultural eateries. The newly re-developed Chinatown is a fantastic place to absorb international culture and grab some tasty food along the way.

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For something a little closer to the beach, head to nearby Broadwater Parklands and stroll beside the pristine waters of the Southport Broadwater. Alternatively, jump on a bike and take a ride through The Spit and discover some local secret swimming spots or sample the nearby café culture and boutique shops along Tedder Avenue.

Brighton on Broadwater Shores

Centrally-located, Southport makes for a fantastic base from which to explore the rest of this region. So for a night’s stay, head to Brighton on Broadwater Shores.

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Set in a high-rise building – we are talking the Gold Coast after all – these modern, serviced apartments offer full-kitchens, flat-screen TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows. And the best part? Each comes with its own private balcony, so you can be guaranteed to catch a few spectacular Gold Coast sunsets.

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For some relaxation, head to the complex’s sauna, or make use of either the outdoor pool or heated lap pool. If you’d rather experience the buzzing energy of downtown Surfers Paradise, the new light rail system is a convenient option with the Broadwater Parklands Station right outside your door. All sounds pretty ideal, right?

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Surfers Paradise

Calling all party animals! If you’re the kind of traveller who likes to dance the night away until the wee hours of the morning amidst vibrant bars and discos, Surfers Paradise has your name written all over it. Cavill Avenue and Orchard Avenue are the main nightlife thoroughfares, with each offering a mix of dynamic haunts to incite the party spirit.

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For something a little different, have a drink at Howl at the Moon, where you’ll see dueling pianos, live performances, tasty cocktails, all topped off with a view over the calm waters of the Nerang River.

Paradise Centre Apartments

If you want to stay at a place where you can pretty much roll back into bed, Paradise Centre Apartments is your ideal solution. Situated a mere 20 metres from the beach, these ocean-front apartments boast spectacular, uninterrupted panoramic views.

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Apartments vary from one to three bedrooms, with each coming with a kitchen, a separate living room, and a TV. For some in-house relaxation, head to the sauna, and then freshen up in one of the two outdoor heated pools.

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If things get a little chilly, lounge in one of the hot tubs and rest your tired legs after last night’s dancing! Located amidst all the action of Surfers Paradise, these apartments are also within easy reach of restaurants and cafes if at-home cooking is not your thing.

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Broadbeach

You don’t have to go to Venice to experience a trip down a canal! The Gold Coast suburb of Broadbeach is home to a scenic labyrinth of waterways, making it the Venice of the south! If fashion is your preferred holiday penchant, the suburb also has a fine line-up of shopping strips and the redeveloped Pacific Fair, all housing big-name brands as well as several independent labels.

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After all, half the fun of shopping on holiday is being able to flaunt your new frocks, right? Broadbeach is also home to Jupiters Casino, so score a royal flush in the dazzling surrounds, and take your comrades out for a night on the town.

Ocean Pacific

Once all the fun-filled action has come to an end, settle in at one of the region’s top hotel award winners,  Ocean Pacific. Offering a range of different apartment types, guests can be guaranteed to find their ideal accommodation.

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Modern, elegant, and well-appointed are three adjectives that best resonate with Ocean Pacific. For people travelling in numbers, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom family apartment is a spacious choice, coming with a designer kitchen, ducted air-conditioning, and a flat-screen TV to keep the young ones entertained. All apartments are tastefully decorated in a contemporary style and feature state-of-the-art facilities.

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To unwind after an eventful day on the town, head to the outdoor heated pool, or otherwise unleash your inner child and take on a video game battle in the resort’s private games room.

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Burleigh Heads

If the humming energy of downtown Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach are a little too frenetic for comfort, take solace in the laid-back atmosphere of Burleigh Heads. Whether you’re travelling solo, in numbers, or with your special +1, the area features several natural sites to appreciate at your own pace. Spectate the dramatic surf break at headlands, locally referred to as “the point”, or stroll through the lush rainforest of Burleigh Heads National Park.

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For some tasty grub after all the walking, head to James Street and choose from an eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants. There you will find popular Canteen which is allegedly the region’s best coffee locale as well as a great breakfast and lunch spot. And of course, like most areas of the Gold Coast, there is a picturesque beach where you can soak up some sun.

Swell Resorts Serviced Apartments

For a sojourn in Burleigh, Swell Resort Serviced Apartments is a scenic and comfortable place to shack up in. Located a short seven-minute walk from the beach, the resort is set amidst a lush landscaped garden and outdoor pool.

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Contemporary, stylish furnishings adorn each of the fully self-contained apartments, and all come with either a private balcony or courtyard. For a special getaway with your beloved, the one-bedroom apartment is ideal, coming with a king-sized bed, a separate lounge room, and a very glitzy ensuite.

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As well as boasting a mix of well-appointed rooms, the resort also offers guests a relaxing heated pool and spa, and a gym for all those weight-lifting junkies out there.

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Coolangatta

If you’ve just stepped off the plane at the Gold Coast Airport, and you’re looking to settle in without too much travelling about, the nearby coastal suburb of Coolangatta might be your best location. Known as the Gold Coast’s most southerly stretch of sand, Coolangatta is close to the New South Wales border and the scenic Tweed coastal villages. All you need to do is go to Point Danger to play hop-scotch across the state border!

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Get a taste of the authentic Gold Coast as it was, and marvel at the cluster of weatherboard beach shacks which still have a dominant impact on the suburb’s landscape. Otherwise head to the spectacular surfing meccas of Duranbah and Snapper Rocks, and appreciate the distant skyline view of Surfers Paradise.

La Costa Motel

For those who have arrived late on the Gold Coast, and are in need of some convenient accommodation close to the airport, a night at La Costa Motel is the best place around. However, this uber-retro motel offers so much more than just convenient accommodation.

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Thanks to La Costa’s proximity to Bilinga beach, the inspiration for owners John and Diane was to recreate the magic of the 1950s beach shack. Recently refurbished, all rooms are tastefully embellished with contemporary furnishings and a crisp colour scheme.

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Standard rooms come with a queen-sized bed and ensuite, but if you’re travelling in numbers, go for the deluxe room which offers a queen-sized bed and a king single.

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Mantra Coolangatta Beach

If you’d prefer to be right in the thick of the vibrant energy of downtown Coolangatta, Mantra Coolangatta Beach is conveniently positioned within easy reach of notable sites and attractions.

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Overlooking the azure waters of Coolangatta’s main beach and close to local favourite, The Coolangatta Hotel, these self-contained suites come in different occupancy types, and all feature air-conditioning and private balconies.

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To burn some carbs during your stay, head to the exercise room and tennis court and unveil your inner Federer. Then of course chill out in the outdoor heated pool and spa and unwind after your hard tournament.

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Cover Image by Steve Austin (CC BY 2.0)