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Hilton Surfers Paradise

If you’re looking for a classy hotel in the heart of the action at Surfers Paradise (and a kebab or three), the Hilton Surfers Paradise is the place to stay. Located in Orchid Avenue, just off the Cavill Mall, the Hilton is a picture of gleaming blue glass that stretches up to 57 floors, taking in views of one of the world’s most famous beaches, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gold Coast hinterland.

Hilton Surfers Paradise

As we entered Cavill Avenue, I was assaulted with the lights, noise, and bustle of the party strip that is central Surfers Paradise. There were buskers, bars, night clubs and kebab shops. Lots and lots of kebab shops. I was beginning to wonder what I had got myself into until the Hilton Surfers Paradise appeared in front of me like a mirage for travellers seeking a luxurious haven from the chaos of the surrounding streets. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the craziness of Surfers Paradise. This part of the Gold Coast is big, brash, and loud, and offers some of the best people watching you’ll find anywhere in the world. The secret to enjoying the chaos of Surfers Paradise comes down to fully embracing it.

Surfers Paradise Beach
Surfers Paradise Beach

Arriving at the car park entrance on Orchid Avenue, I descended two levels and found a park right next to the lifts. Here’s where things can seem a bit tricky as there are two sets of lifts: one for the Hilton Surfers Paradise hotel and one for the Hilton Surfers Paradise Residences. Don’t overthink it as both sets of lifts will take you to the shared reception area. The shared foyer area for both properties is bright and modern with a long reception counter, plus large concierge desk for booking tours and to answer any questions you may have. There is also a cool café called The Food Store but sadly this was closed for my afternoon coffee hit, so we shelved our plans for a coffee and continued to reception to be greeted with a warm welcome.

Hilton Surfers Paradise reception desk

The hotel rooms are on levels four to fifteen and the residences go up from there to the floors in the high fifties. Both the hotel and the residences have multiples room and suite options. As the hotel rooms are on the lower floors, these rooms can be much noisier than those in the residences. Based on our level 30 two bedroom apartment, with its spacious surrounds and fabulous view, we would not hesitate to book one of the residences rather than a hotel room for a return visit. However, we almost didn’t make it to our accommodation due to the numbering system below.

Hilton Floor Numbering System
Hilton floor numbering system

When we saw the ‘23’ we assumed we had got out of the lift too early and were debating whether to go up to ‘level 30’ or back down to the ground floor to try again. Thankfully a proactive staff member in the hallway noticed our confusion and stepped in to help. On the way to our room he explained that each floor at the Hilton Surfers Paradise Residences has the number 1 or 2 to indicate the tower. Finding our room was worth the wait when we entered the large apartment to discover a stunning view of the Surfers Paradise beach and Pacific Ocean. Our two bedroom apartment had a separate living and dining areas, a fully equipped kitchen, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms with a king bed in the master bedroom and two singles in the second room.

Deluxe Ocean View Residence

Perhaps the best feature of the room was the stunning 180 degree views of the Gold Coast. On our first afternoon the balcony was a non-starter due to high winds and the fact it was a bracing 12 degrees. Luckily the sparkling clean windows offered the exact same view without the chilly winter wind. That night we decided to dine at Catch Restaurant located on level 3 of the hotel. This restaurant has a classic Modern Australian menu and an excellent dining special with two generous courses and a glass of wine available for $55. We were surprised this wasn’t advertised more throughout the hotel.

Catch Restaurant
Catch Restaurant

Dishes at Catch range from pasta and seafood to steak, plus multiple dessert options if you can fit them in (not easy as servings are generous). Our teen went with fish and chips which was so large he couldn’t quite finish them which doesn’t happen often. I chose an Instaworthy seared scallop starter featuring pork belly, sour apple jelly, and crunchy pork crackling, followed by a perfectly cooked Scotch fillet steak for mains. Tiana ordered braised lamb shoulder, with chilli jus and Israeli cous cous, plus a panna cotta for dessert. She let me share this but probably wishes she didn’t as there were duelling spoons and I emerged victorious. Do not attempt to share this terrific dessert. Service was excellent and provided by attentive and informed staff, who delivered each dish at just the right time. Catch Restaurant is also used for breakfast which consists of a comprehensive buffet of everything from made-to-order omelettes, to congee, tropical fruits and honey fresh from the honeycomb. Those with dietary requirements are well looked after with a separate gluten free section.

Seared Scallop Starter
Seared scallop starter
Panna cotta at Catch Restaurant
Catch Restaurant
Catch Restaurant

After breakfast Tiana indulged in a facial at the Eforea Spa on level 2 and returned fresh faced and feeling fabulous. The spa has a stand-alone reception and a separate area for the treatment rooms, which include a Vichy shower, which spa guests are buzzed into. This makes it feel very exclusive. Tiana’s only disappointment (and mine) was the fact she was unable to book me in for a massage that afternoon as a surprise. Book early as unlike some hotel spas, this one fills up fast, perhaps due to the tempting specials on offer. She had her eye on a 90 minute Winter Spa Special Package for me which included a foot exfoliation, body massage, facial, and head massage for $159. Great value for a high end spa.

Eforea Spa
Eforea Spa

Just outside the spa is the extensive deck which is designed to appeal to all types of guests. The main pool is large enough for fitness fanatics to swim laps, families with little one have a separate kids pool area, and there are plenty of deck chairs and loungers for sun worshippers. There is also a heated indoor pool, spa and sauna to enjoy in the cooler months so you can swim all year. The Deck Bar for drinks and snacks is located next to the pool and a sizeable outdoor patio area for outdoor relaxation and dining.

Hilton Surfers Paradise pool
Hilton Surfers Paradise pool

Our first day was spent exploring the heart of Surfers Paradise with an almost endless supply of entertainment and dining options. Our favourite activity was strolling along the beautiful beach while enjoying the excellent people-watching opportunities. Seeing newly arrived international guests marvelling at the length of the beach and trying to get the perfect selfie while not getting caught out and very wet from the breaking waves made us smile. Never turn your back on the ocean!

Hilton Surfers Paradise Room View
Hilton Surfers Paradise room view

For our second night we chose to dine in using the kitchen at the apartment to prepare a culinary feast with ingredients from the Woolworths supermarket located a few minute’s walk away. We finished our night with a glass of red wine on the balcony listening to the antics on Cavill Avenue. Overall, the Hilton Surfers Paradise is an excellent choice for guests wanting it all for their Gold Coast stay. Everything the coast has to offer and more is located directly downstairs from the hotel. While you might need earplugs if you’re a light sleeper staying on one of the lower floors, this is a small trade off for being right in the heart of the action in one of Australia’s most iconic destinations.

Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Hilton Surfers Paradise. He wasn’t tempted to indulge in a kebab, despite the extensive selection of choices on offer.

Looking for some more accommodation on the Gold Coast? Read our reviews of the Hilton Surfers Paradise, Oaks Calypso Plaza, the Surfers Paradise Marriott, The Star Gold Coast, voco Gold Coast and the retro La Costa Motel. Or you can check out this Gold Coast accommodation roundup.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.