Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns – Picture Review

A perfectly acceptable stay given extra benefits but worth exploring alternatives

How to get the biggest returns from your hotel bookings

Upgrades, free breakfast, hotel credits with Amex FHR + Platinum Charge

Earn Amex Membership Rewards points with Amex Travel

Earn Rewards credits plus cashback with CashRewards

Earn cashback on accommodation bookings via Cashrewards

Get the 4th night free with the Citi Prestige Visa

Credit cards that earn bonus points on all travel spend

Get a $400 Travel Credit each year with Amex Explorer

As part of an extensive trip to Far North Queensland, we needed a single night in Cairns before heading out to Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest. I leaned on my American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits and secured a room at the Shangri-La.

Research & Booking

With two small-ish kids and just a one-night stay, I was keen to find accommodation that would be convenient, in the city to allow us to see Cairns briefly, and not break the bank.

While the fully-flexible nightly rate of $430 for the One Bedroom Suite was not cheap, it was cheaper than two hotel rooms and allowed us to spread out. Combined with the ~$130 hotel credit and full included buffet breakfast, paying for the Shangri-La through American Express’ Fine Hotels and Resorts program made sense to me. Access to the program is provided by holding an elite American Express card, like the American Express Platinum Charge.

For this stay, we received the following benefits:

  • 12pm early check-in
  • $100 USD food and beverage credit
  • Full buffet breakfast for two
  • Room upgrade
  • 4pm late checkout (guaranteed)

The Shangri-La, The Marina Cairns is ranked #14 out of 63 hotels in the area on TripAdvisor. This is a decent spot for the property considering the number of excellent resorts in the area.

The room: One Bedroom Suite

Our room was configured as a large bedroom with king-sized bed, plus a living space with a large bed which can be used to sleep on.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

We ended up requesting daybeds for the kids rather than using the couch but there was plenty of space for them and the blackout curtains worked well in both rooms.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

A small balcony with an ocean view kept us interested in the outside world, with a number of reef sightseeing helicopter tours heading off from the helipad just outside.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

The hotel

The hotel is very much geared to the international traveller, with a slightly homogenous feel but everything was clean and tidy with kind and genuine service from the staff we spoke to.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Horizon Club

The Horizon Club is where guests with club access can enjoy breakfast or evening drinks and snacks.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

There was no trouble finding a seat.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

The food was not anything special but did the job and we were happy to have access to the club.

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Shangri-la The Marina Cairns

Around the hotel

The hotel is within a several minutes’ walk of the main part of Cairns if you want to strike out, and right next to the waterfront if you prefer to enjoy the ocean. Otherwise, it is not exactly immediately next door to anything much but its proximity to the city means this is not a problem.

Other Shangri-La Hotel reviews

Summing up

This hotel stay was acceptable, with the Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits just tipping us over the edge to stay there.

Without them, I would have probably opted for somewhere more unique or budget-friendly but for a one-night stay, we enjoyed the large (if a little cold) pool, comfortable room and included extras.

Supplementary images courtesy Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns

Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns – Picture Review was last modified: May 22nd, 2019 by Keith


  1. Keith C.

    Room has a large bed to sleep on really?, what else would one use a bed for) its not close to anything really, except a plethora of waterfront restaurants like Dundees and Red Ochure, a great renovated pub and where all the reef tours leave from.

  2. Zain B

    I’ve stayed here twice before – once while attending a conference and the second time on a family vacation. I have stayed in other Shangri-La hotels (Sydney, Singapore and Kota Kinabalu) and I feel like the Cairns Shangri-La does not do the chain any justice. It was very outdated, the furniture was old and scratched, and the service was less than perfect. The location is convenient and if you’re heading out to the GBR very close to the Marina. Also very close to Cairns city and great restaurants; but in my honest opinion it doesn’t feel like a five star resort at all. I had a look around at the other hotels within the same class – very similar. If we are lucky enough to have another holiday in tropical North Queensland, we will skip Cairns all together due to a paucity of nice resorts and will go directly to Port Douglas.

Leave a Reply