We stayed at the Breakfree Amphora from 6th-13th August and all I can say is WOW.
We had a top floor 2 bedroom apartment (which was a hotel style room, interconnected with a 1 bedroom apartment) overlooking the pool, and with glimpses of the Coral Sea. It was incredibly spacious with air con in all rooms. Bathrooms were enormous, with spa in one of the rooms, separated from the bedroom by sliding wooden shutters (see photo).
We had a few trivial problems with the room (a light was blown and the microwave stopped working after a few days), but all were fixed within minutes of being reported.
The reception staff were excellent - very helpful and completely courteous. This seems to be the norm for everywhere we went in Cairns - I guess tourism is their life blood up there, so you should get top notch service from just about everyone you meet (we certainly did).
Things to consider - these did not worry us, but could be concerns for others. As with many 3 storey resorts in the area, there are no elevators, or porters. So if you get a top floor, you'll need to lug your luggage up the stairs yourself. The hotel reception is only open from 8am to 6pm, so if you're arriving outside those times, you'll need to call ahead. The spa and bath tubs are very deep - requiring a lot of water to fill. Living in Sydney, I'm very water conscious due to the water restrictions in place, and couldn't justify the amount of water required to fill them. Besides, the spa outside beats the indoor one hands down. On the other hand, the wash basins in the room, were a bit too shallow for my liking, making it a tad difficult so shave. The lighting on the mirrors however, made up for this, as the lights were set up to reflect off the mirror in to your face, so you could actually see what you were doing.
The apartments have a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, oven, fridge, stove and microwave - so there's no trouble if you want to cook at home. Plenty of cutlery and utensils in the drawers. Also enough tea and coffee, plus a few other sundries for a few days.
However, since most apartments only get serviced once every 7 days (you'll need to stay in the hotel rooms if you want daily service), you'll probably need to visit a supermarket to stock up on a few things.
Either that, or you can order you room be serviced if required - which was about $35 on request.
Since it's only serviced weekly, you won't get a change of towels, so make sure you hang them up to dry - or use the tumble dryer and washer if you really need to.
The pool is beautifully landscaped and plenty of space to relax, although it was hard at times to find a deck chair to relax in (plenty of room on the beach in that case, which is only 10m from the door). There's no swim up bar, but there is a large hot tub/spa at one end, and the pool had been designed for use by both kids and adults, with plenty of shallow and deep sections. Plenty of shade around the pool too, if you tend to burn easily.
The beach at Palm Cove was a delight. The resorts are all limited to 3 stories, so can not be seen over the top of the palm trees, giving a very secluded relaxed feel to the place.
The jetty is a short walk down the end of the beach, and two reef tours operate from here. One to the outer reef and one to Green Island. However, you may find cheaper deals if you're willing to leave from Cairns or Port Douglas (most reef cruises have buses to pick you up).
There's a good selection of restaurants to choose from, including a new one just opened at the Amphora (we didn't try this one, but it looked good - due to it being brand new) and as with most of the restaurants in the area, has fantastic views across the Coral Sea and over to Double Island and the aptly named "Scout's Hat" island. For cheaper meals head towards the north end of the beach. The Surf Club has some great daily deals ($10 for steak, salad and chips on Tues night), while Stingers has delicious fish and chips ($9) and other casual dining food. Most of the other restaurants are in the range $20-$30 for a meal, with a few in the over $30 price range.
If you want to do it really on the cheap, then there's a couple of free BBQs for use along the beach foreshore - with some of the best views in the world :)
If you do stay at Palm Cove, I would suggest a hire car - it's a great place for relaxing, but if you want to get out and explore the surrounds, a hire car is well worth it. Check out the Atherton table lands, the crater lakes, Millaa Millaa Falls, Mossman gorge, Daintree Village and Cape Tribulation. All can be experienced by tours, but it's much more fun (and cheaper) to do it yourself with a hire car.
Don't forget some insect repellant - we didn't see any, but we still got bitten a few times and that was in the winter month's.
Weather was great 25C-27C during the day and around 18C during the night. You'll be glad the rooms have air conditioning, even during winter :)
Anything else you want to know about the place, feel free to email me.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mantra Amphora Resort is located on the spectacular waterfront of Palm Cove's palm-fringed beach at one of Tropical North Queensland's most sought-after destinations. Enjoy an early morning dip in the tranquil Coral Sea directly opposite the resort or bask in the tropical warmth beside the lagoon swimming pool with its many coves and nooks shaded by towering palm trees. Accommodation at Mantra Amphora Resort ranges from hotel rooms to self-contained one, two and three bedroom apartments all with quality finishes and most featuring an indulgent spa bath, all have private balconies with garden or ocean views providing the perfect space to kick back and relax. Wander the stretch of Palm Cove Esplanade to discover a chic range of restaurants and cocktail bars that will satisfy both discerning palates and family appetites, or dine at Vivo Bar and Brill which sits just next to the Mantra Amphora Resort and offers delicious Italian with subtle tropical flavours. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mantra Amphora Palm Cove
- Mantra Amphora Hotel Palm Cove