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Oaks Elan Darwin is one of the newest accommodation options in town with upmarket hotel suites and 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. The hotel wasn’t quite finished when I was there but it should be by the time you read this review. Oaks Elan Darwin is certainly slick with a modern, minimalist design and bold red, grey and black colour scheme. It is within walking distance of most major Darwin tourist attractions such as Crocosaurus Cove, the Waterfront Precinct and Smith Street.

There is also a Coles Supermarket about 5 minutes walk away along with liquor stores, cafes and small shops if you want to stock up on supplies. Check in was friendly and efficient and our room was ready when we arrived at around 1.15pm. On-site parking costs $15 per day but you can park for free on Darwin’s CBD streets after 5pm on Friday and right through the weekend. We never had trouble finding a park within a block of the hotel during our weekend stay.

Self contained kitchen
Self contained kitchen
Study nook and main bedroom
Study nook and main bedroom

In fact, most times we managed to score a spot right outside the front door. We stayed in a 2 bedroom unit which was spacious and had everything you might need for a long term stay. It would have been nice to have a Nespresso machine rather than packets of instant coffee given the upmarket nature of the hotel however everything else about Oaks Elan Darwin was suitably chic. We especially liked the convenience of the washer/dryer and the open plan design in the living area which made the accommodation feel very spacious. There is a nice view of the harbour from rooms on the higher floors.

Lounge room
Lounge room
Second bedroom
Second bedroom
Both bathrooms had twin sinks
Both bathrooms had twin sinks

We were keen to check out the lap pool on level 6 but it was closed during our visit. With the hotel pool out of action we decided to walk down to the Wave Lagoon at the waterfront precinct instead. This took just over 5 minutes and provided plenty of entertainment. Entry to the lagoon includes the use of boogie boards and water tubes. Older children (and their parents) can take on waves ranging up to 1.7 metres high while youngsters paddle in the shallow zone. Admission only costs a few dollars but you can swim for free at the nearby recreation area.

Darwin's wave lagoon
Darwin’s wave lagoon
Seoul Food restaurant
Seoul Food restaurant

We didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel as we had our own kitchen but it is available at the Seoul Food restaurant located in the lobby. Seoul Food dishes up a mix of modern Korean and Australian cuisine. Judging by the crowds on Friday and Saturday night, the food must be good. If you enjoy the freedom of self-catering and being able to walk pretty much anywhere you need to go in the CBD, this hotel is hard to beat. If you time your stay at Oaks Elan Darwin for a weekend, you can can take advantage of the free street parking.

Disclosure: The writer stayed at Oaks Elan Darwin as a guest of Tourism NT.

If you are looking for some more information about Darwin, check out our review of the Hilton Darwin, the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre and what to expect on The Ghan if you’re travelling to Darwin to board this iconic train.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.