Cairns, Australia - The Shangri-La: The joys of indulgence

by Julie Royce / Apr 17, 2010 /
Julie Royce's picture

Bob and I arrived back at the Shangri- La on our last night in Cairns in time to relax with appetizers and drinks in the Horizon Club Lounge. I placed a glass of champagne on the table as Bob asked, “Do we have any plans for later tonight?”


Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns, Australia

The sleeping area of our luxurious room.


I wiggled my fingers to pantomime typing on the computer.  As I got animated, my little finger snagged the glass of champagne and it tumbled, drenching my jeans. It looked like I hadn’t made it timely to the Ladies’ Room. In that sorry condition I walked the full length of the hospitality suite. It wasn't a pretty thing. Bob gallantly walked in front of me, trying his best to shield my condition from curious eyes.
Before leaving Cairns, I want to describe the Shangri La. Normally I don’t rave for a few hundred words about a hotel. I appreciate it if it’s clean, bedbug free, has reasonable amenities and is close to things we want to explore. Anything beyond that is a bonus.  But this hotel/resort deserves a few words dedicated solely to it because it sweetened our Cairns experience as much any of our other wonderful adventures.   
We realized our first day as we entered the contemporary glass lobby that we were about to be treated like royalty. Three glistening pools, a health club, eight restaurants, upscale shopping, and a lounge for those who arrive early (before rooms are prepared) or leave late (after checkout) were but a few of the amenities.


Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns, Australia

Looking beyond the living area to our balcony.


I dream of staying in five-star resorts for all of my travels. It doesn’t always work out that way, but this was my chance to bask in luxury. In Australia, where rooms are known to be smallish, this one was anything but, with its elegant furnishings and ultra modern décor. The king size bed, topped by a silk bedspread, dominated the sleeping area, but the smart couch, tables and office area provided living space as well. A full bar with drawers full of premium liquor and glasses (champagne, wine, water), as well as a silver ice bucket, coffee machine, and robes and slippers insured we lacked for none of the accoutrements of relaxation. The closets would have accommodated our entire wardrobe, not just the contents of a couple of suitcases.  A safe offered to protect all of the valuables we did not bring.
The floors were an amazing mix of various-shaded hardwoods with not a dust bunny or speck of dirt to be seen. It was definitely a place I’d apply the 10-second rule (if you drop food on the floor and pick it up within ten seconds it’s safe to eat).
The bathroom was behind the main room, but a large window overlooked the bedroom and beyond, to the balcony, the marina and finally the mountains that guarded the city’s beauty and kept it from escaping.  For the faint of heart there was a retractable screen that offered privacy as you bathed in the oversized tub. The basket of soaps, shampoos and body wash looked like a shopping spree at Bath and Body Works. There were even free shoe shines and suit pressing. These latter weren't perks I used since I mainly wore sandals and sundresses. 


Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns, Australia

Our spa-like bathroom.


Our Horizon Club membership afforded us continental breakfast, soft drinks, tea and coffee anytime, and then canapés and drinks from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00.  By the way, the drinks included that wonderful champagne I spilled on myself.
During our stay I kept asking myself, “What did I do to deserve this?”  I have to admit, it is wonderful to treat yourself like royalty every once in a while. The hotel restaurants and shops are on a par with its other amenities. North Food and Wine on the Marina Dining Promenade got the attention of my tastebuds with a Spiced Duck Salad with Asian herbs, cashews, citrus and tamarind dressing. I couldn’t resist stealing a bite of Bob’s Seared Wild Barramundi served with white bean puree and salsa romesco. I found it as delicious as my salad.


Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns, Australia

A graciously appointed room.


Some of the best shopping in Cairns is in the hotels.  Many of the shops along the town thoroughfare are ticky-tacky little souvenir shops that charge a fortune for shot glasses etched with the word Cairns, but exclusive hotel shops offer the finest dresses, handbags and designer labels with prices to match.  Although I temporarily felt like Cinderella, my Prince Charming might have frowned on huge extravagances so I contented myself with a few lesser indulgences.
I was sorry to leave Cairns, but we crammed a month’s worth of adventure into just a few short days.


Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns, Australia

A beautiful harbor surrounded by mountains.



To read other parts of Julie's Cairns adventures, please see: 

Cairns, Australia - A Sun-Lover's Paradise

The Cairns Tropical Zoo: Meeting Buster, Demon, and
their friends

Cairns: Tropical Rainforest


Julie Albrecht Royce, Travel Adventures Editor, is the
author of Traveling
Michigan's Sunset Coast
and Traveling
Michigan's Thumb
, both published by Thunder Bay Press. She
writes a monthly column for Wandering Educators.


All photos courtesy and copyright of Bob and Julie Royce.


 Disclaimer: We received discounted rates at the Shangri-La Hotel.