Inspiration Destinations Australia Queensland Ardo Brings Luxury Accommodation to Townsville  

Ardo Brings Luxury Accommodation to Townsville  

Ardo has become the first five-star accommodation to grace the sun-drenched coast of Townsville - Luxury Escapes

Everything, and we mean everything, about Ardo is new and luxurious. Writer Madeleine Keck checks in to uncover this Townsville newcomer's gems.

Ardo has become the first five-star accommodation to grace the sun-drenched coast of Townsville, helping elevate the laidback town to a tourism destination capable of rivalling Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Opening in late 2023 after an A$88 million build, the hotel has attracted those from across the state, as well as Sydneysiders and Melburnians, enticed by the allure of two signature restaurants, a rooftop pool and promises of stop-you-in-your-tracks views.   

What’s the neighbourhood like?

Tucked away at the end of a winding lane, just beyond the SeaLink Ferry terminal – which stands ready to whisk adventurers to enchanting Magnetic Island – rests Ardo. I pass the comings and goings of Breakwater Marina and the adjacent Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre before arriving at Ardo’s Palm Springs-esque exterior and tree-lined driveway, which quite literally feels like a desert oasis against Queensland’s pumping sun. Townsville's main boulevard, The Strand, is a 10-minute walk away, while the dining hub of Palmer Street and vibrant nightlife are yours with a 20-minute walk.  

How was the check-in process?  

Inside, a polished terrazzo lobby opens directly onto a manicured lawn that gently meets the Coral Sea. The decor is refined, open and minimalistic, with both the reception staff and furniture in neutral tones of hemp and linen, the occasional splash of green supplied from rows of indoor plants. The style may be cool and subdued, but the service and hospitality exude easy-going Queensland charm, with young, smiley staff welcoming me in a way that is warm and informal. As if it wasn’t already clear that this is north Queensland, the lobby smells of passion flower and bamboo. 
The decision to opt for refined opulence by The Morris Group, also the proprietors of Orpheus Island Lodge, Mt Mulligan Lodge and Beechmont Estate, has paid off: I feel like I've entered an enormous seven-storey day spa. 

Ardo’s Palm Springs-esque exterior and tree-lined driveway. Source: Ardo.

Where am I sleeping?

Subtle styling extends to the Ocean Room (from A$465), where I stay for two nights. Emerging from a foundation of cork flooring and concrete ceilings is a petite balcony with two small chairs and a tiny table – the size does nothing to deter me from admiring the uninterrupted views of Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island. A single sepia-toned photograph of the sea hangs on one wall. There's a TV with Chromecast, a minibar with Australian-made Tiger Buck Jerky and bottles of Ardo trademarked gin and vodka. Sensor lighting is a welcome, luxury touch and much cherished after I waddle half-asleep to the bathroom in the early hours of the morning. An iPad that runs through in-room dining options and nearby experiences is likewise appreciated as I plan my next 48-hours of dining and unwinding.  
Seven other layouts can be found across the hotel’s 132 rooms, the Ocean Family Suite (interconnecting Corner Suites and Ocean Rooms) the most impressive, with 107 square metres of space across wrap-around balconies and light-filled living and dining areas. All rooms, including outdoor bath options, have bespoke joinery, dual showerheads and balconies or courtyards.  

The Ocean Room. Source: Ardo.

What's on the menu?

Hungry guests can make use of the hotel’s expansive Ardo Rooftop, the most casual of three onsite dining spaces, offering hot and cold tapas, flatbread pizza and an extensive cocktail menu. Both the signature Seafarer cocktail, of Bacardi and lime, orange and cranberry, as well as the Sunset Tango, are fitting in both name and taste (mango liquor, lime and grenadine just scream tropical oasis).  
On the same level is steak and seafood eatery Marmor, while on the ground floor is Terasu, where exceptional chefs lend their talents to Townsville’s classic coral trout, marinated in miso with kombu butter, and spicy tuna sushi with shichimi pepper. Sake-tasting paddles and signature orange and yuzu slushies are perfect accompaniments for those inclined. For me, with the warm sea breeze in my hair, I’m convinced it’s the most beautiful restaurant on Earth.  
On the first morning I take breakfast in-room, but on the second I head to The Palm House at The Ville, Ardo’s little sister property. Accessible via shared walkways, the coastal-cool space offers all expected buffet favourites. The churros were so good I go back for seconds. Ardo guests have full access to The Ville’s resort-style pool, swim-up bar, fitness centre and casino.   

Ardo's rooftop infinity pool. Source: Ardo.

What are the facilities like?

The most exceptional feature of the property is the guest-only rooftop infinity pool, which makes up for its smaller square footage with an outstanding 180-degree view that stretches from the imposing Bald Rock to the town’s North Ward district and out over the Coral Sea. The mojito I order via the QR code next to my terracotta sun lounger, delivered by neighbouring Ardo Rooftop, is delicious and I spend the first few hours of my stay splashing in the azure waters and feeling very lucky. Despite a constant stream of swimmers, it never feels overly busy – just vibey and relaxed.  

The Day Spa, with three treatment rooms and one relaxation room, likewise offers views of the horizon. A 30-minute superfacial peel with eco-luxury Medik8 products will set you back A$140: spa packages range from A$235 to A$455.   

Who will love Ardo?

Ideal for adults and couples, Ardo perfectly lends itself to the discerning traveller seeking a high-end stay. The highly anticipated hotel has set a new benchmark for luxury hospitality in the region, and a sojourn in its opulent halls promises to only elevate the Tropical North Queensland experience.

The writer was a guest of Ardo. 

About Madeleine Keck
Journalist and travel writing aficionado: Madeleine has visited six continents and worked throughout four. At home in Melbourne, you'll find her reminiscing on past solo backpacking journeys, dreaming of the next adventure and wishing she lived in a continuously warmer city.

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