A swim-up bar is the best, most novelty way to feel like you are on a holiday and Port Douglas has long been the quintessential tropical resort destination in Australia.
As an added bonus, the Daintree and Atherton Tablelands are all day-trip distance away so you can get outdoors to see rainforest, cruise with crocodiles and stand beneath giant trees before returning to finish your day at the swim up bar.
If you are looking for accommodation near Port Douglas, here is a handy list of Port Douglas swim up bar resorts to get you started planning your trip!
Sheraton Grand Mirage
With not only a swim up bar but 5 ACRES of lagoon pools to swim in, the Sheraton Grand Mirage (see photos on booking.com) is a winner for the ultimate resort holiday. For hours of fun, you can try a pool crawl like we did, working our way across the resort drink in hand 😉
The Sheraton has a swim-up Pool Bar located on the rear of the ‘Lagoon House‘ a modern Australian restaurant near the main restaurant building that serves food and drink poolside.
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Located only 100 metres from the beach but still only a 15 minutes walk to Macrossan Street and the Marina brewery/bars, Mantra Portsea is one of few properties offering a resort experience with a swim-up bar close to both town and the beach. Most are either 3km+ from town or don’t have amenities like swim-up bars, so it is a great combination if you want to have all options.
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Mantras website says the Swim up pool bar is currently open seasonally from 12pm-5pm however when I emailed and asked what those seasonal dates are they said it’s actually open 7 days a week.
Oaks Port Douglas
Oaks is a vibrant tropical resort property with a large lagoon pool and shady palm trees and its decor retains some of the fun decor quirkiness from its former QT branding.
The swim-up pool bar is open 12-5 (and also continues as a non-swim up bar after this time) and you can even order drinks poolside from your phone!
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It’s a bit of a walk from the beach and like many of the resorts in Port Douglas Oaks is further out of town so this is a great choice if a swim-up bar and nice pool are high on your priority list, as it can often be a good value for money option compared to beachfront resorts.
It’s easy to get to town for a long lunch on a shuttle and many day trips will pick you up directly from your resort (and its still closer to town than many other resort).
Ramada Port Douglas
Ramada is a fun resort that depending on which direction you look has a quirky retro island feel or modern tropical vibe. At the heart of the resort is a pool with swim-up bar that feels like it’s suspended in an island treehouse. Its pool is also heated in winter for long pool bar swims.
You need to book in advance to get a room at Ramada Port Douglas. It’s a popular Club Wyndham property (timeshare resort) as well as generally being very reasonably priced so rooms are often hard to come by in peak season. This is because it can offer an affordable holiday with no compromises on pool or swim up bar without the price tag of the bigger resorts.
Alternative Options with a swim up bar near Port Douglas
Unfortunately, some popular branded resorts in Port Douglas such as Peppers and Sea Temple do not have swim-up bars (I called to check this was still correct) however, they are epic places to stay.
The Sea Temple Bar is only steps from the pool and Peppers told me you can order from their sun lounges then just wander into the water. Or you can book a swim out resort room instead and use your bedroom as your own private bar!
Alternatively there is accommodation near Port Douglas, you can stay in Palm Cove a small but fun resort town between Port Douglas and Cairns or even stay in Cairns itself.
Peppers Beach Club Palm Cove
Peppers in Palm Cove has a swim-up bar in a beautiful lagoon pool so if you are flexible on the location and love the brand that’s a good choice. The last time I stayed the pool bar made their cocktails in front of you with fresh ingredients.
Peppers Palm Cove is also just over the road from the beach so you can have breakfast and dinner with views of the water and it’s walking distance from all the other restaurants in town.
The Novotel Cairns feels like a proper resort oasis with a swim up pool bar while still being walking distance from everything in Cairns and the marina for reef trips. This makes it the perfect option for a long weekend away as there no travel time from the airport and you can still access reef trips and restaurants in the Cairns CBD.
I had a really fun time staying at this resort, I loved that I was so close to everything while getting a relaxed resort experience (although I’m not going to pretend I made it anywhere other than drunk at the pool bar with fun randoms on that particular trip lol).
It’s a good choice for lots of different groups, with the shallow end popular for families while adults hang out at the bar.
Now that you have some ideas for accommodation don’t forget that there are so many amazing places to get outdoors in Tropical North Queensland.
Make sure you make plans to visit the Daintree, Cruise to see Crocodiles (opens on Viator) and head to the Atherton Tablelands to see giant ancient fig trees.
Not ready to book? Pin this post to refer to later!