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Laid back luxury at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas

It doesn’t matter if your teens prefer an adventure packed holiday or simply lazing by the pool, the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas is the perfect choice for a Tropical North Queensland holiday.

In fact, the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort put the sleepy fishing town of Port Douglas firmly on the map when it opened in 1987. There was a grand piano in the soaring marble lobby, movie stars at the bar and too much pink was never enough when it came to the hotel decor.

These days the opulent atmosphere of a resort for the rich and famous remains but you’re more likely to find a couple of kids with inflatable crocodiles in the lagoon pool than George Clooney and John Travolta. If you’re after a laid back yet luxurious Tropical North Queensland getaway, your family should jump in and join the fun. 

Read more: Top 15 tropical destinations for families – the complete list

the pool lagoon and bridge at Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas
Water this blue and you can’t help but want to jump in. Credit: Shutterstock

Our family of two adults and a teen discovered there is a lot to be said for staying in an iconic, renovated resort when you’re travelling with kids. Everything was bigger in the 80s, including hotel rooms.

We opted for the most affordable King Garden View category and our accommodation was the size of a suite at some other hotels.

The resort underwent a $43 million renovation in 2016. The pastel excesses of the 80s has been replaced with a tasteful colour scheme featuring neutral tones with splashes of aqua blue.

hotel rooms overlooking the central lagoon at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas
Rooms with a view at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas. Credit: Supplied

Our 16 year old doesn’t recognise the tell-tale signs of our bathroom’s original era. Instead he is dazzled by its vast expanse of Italian marble.

Only the promise of dinner at Harrison’s by Spencer Patrick, the most nationally awarded restaurant in Port Douglas, gets him out of the tub.

Read more: 15 Instagram-worthy destinations in Australia for teens

Food at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas

The sparkling chandelier and Roman statues give an affectionate nod to the hotel’s past but everything else about Harrison’s is contemporary, including the service. You won’t find the stuffy “Yes Sir; Certainly Madam” of fine dining’s days of by here and this appealing restaurant is all the better for it.

view of Harrisons restaurant at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort from the pool
Harrisons restaurant overlooks the pool. Credit: supplied

While the décor and atmosphere are fancier inside, the pick of the tables is on the terrace where the tropical breeze smells like summer. Roasted duck breast served with sweet radicchio and a burnt honey and lavender sauce is the perfect introduction to the delicious world of fine dining for younger palettes.

Harrison’s was named after Spencer Patrick’s first born son. The restaurant welcomes younger kids are with open arms and and there’s a good kid’s menu.

It’s not every day your child gets to have their dinner cooked by an award winning Michelin starred chef. Whether this inspires them to eat their vegetables remains to be seen. But with food this good you’re in with an excellent chance. 

Read more: Aussie eats for foodie families

Whether you are dining at Harrison’s or strolling around the 147 hectares of lush tropical grounds, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from the famous 20,000sqm lagoon. The sparkling turquoise water and ‘keyhole’ platform with lounge seating that extends into the pool is a sight to behold.

sunset over the man-made beach within the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas
Sunset at the ‘beach’ makes for great Insta pics. Credit: supplied

Get in early if you want to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at this highly coveted spot. If not, there’s the option of a seat at the swim up bar at the Lagoon House instead.

Activities at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas

Divided into 16 separate sections there is a swimming spot to suit every guest at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Toddlers play on a sandy beach in one area. There is space to swim laps in another.

A lucky few can slip into the water from lagoon access rooms which have ladders leading into the pool. Early one morning we spot a father swimming laps outside his room. Bobbing contently in the early morning light before his children wake up and beg to join him. 

You’ll also find one of the region’s major attractions, Four Mile Beach, just a few steps from the hotel. This pristine beach isn’t patrolled but its rainforest fringed sand lined with palm trees. Having played a starring role in so many tourism commercials, it’s immediately recognisable.

Beautiful view over Four Mile beach in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
The beautiful and slightly wild Four Mile Beach. Credit: Shutterstock

Perhaps surprisingly, Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort isn’t in Port Douglas itself. However, town is an easy 30 minute stroll along Four Mile Beach or a few minutes away by car.

We are content to spend our days splashing around in the pool and revelling in the resort’s relaxed vibe. This hotel might have been built more than 30 years ago but the joy of a family holiday here never goes out of style. 

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