Hotel Review: Adina Apartment Darwin Waterfront

Over the years Darwin has left behind it’s old school reputation and has carved out a new persona. It is the gateway to some of Australia’s most stunning National Parks (Kakadu & Litchfield), it’s markets (Mindil and Nightcliff), wildlife (hello saltwater crocs) and South East Asian food. When it comes to boutique or luxury hotels, Darwin falls short. However, all my research pointed to one place…Adina Apartment Darwin Waterfront. My partner, Mr G and I check it out. We do the taste testing so you don’t have to!

The Arrival –Our flight from Sydney lands in just under five hours. I have been enjoying Top Gun:Maverick on inflight entertainment. Suddenly this takes on a new meaning as the Captain shares that we will be held on the runway due to training by the Royal Australian Air Force. It’s the best welcoming party on earth. Over the next 10 minutes we are all captivated as fighter jet, after fighter jet, takes off before our eyes in ‘Exercise Pitch Black’. Darwin welcomes 2500 military and 100 planes from all over the world. A billion dollars is taking off in front of us, the sound is rumbles through our bodies and we have front row seats. My UK childhood memories of being taken to airshows now pales in comparison. The whole plane is all captivated and we break out in applause after the show. Hello Darwin! 

The Hotel Reception – A short 15 minute taxi ride and we pull up at the Adina Waterfront. A divine perfume circulates the reception area making me want to skip around the sofas with the hope these whafts will make my hair smell like a princess. Warm smiles greet us and it doesn’t go unnoticed that Adina have consciously made an effort to recruit and train people from indigenous backgrounds, not simply for back of house roles but in customer facing ones too. We are escorted up into our room ahead of the official check in time which is SUCH a treat. 

Location –The Darwin Waterfront is iconically picture perfect. Our apartment at Adina Waterfront overlooks it all. The oh-so-green grass areas (which after the summer’s heat is a remarkable feat of gardening), pedestrian walkways swirl like rivers through the lawns. To our left is the famous Wave Lagoon. We hear a faint siren in the distance. Like human water ants, the pool is quickly heaving with rubber rings, noodles and big as small and big humans are in position waiting for the waves to begin. It’s an enchanting dance which entertains over the coming days! 

Wave Lagoon

Beyond the Lagoon are the soft curves of the convention centre that leads to historic Stokes Hill Wharf and the Skyline Ferris Wheel.  To our right is a man made beach. Groups of teenagers are playing an impressive game of volleyball on hot sands, whilst others are lounging on deck chairs under the shade of large trees, wading in the shallow waters or swimming out into the sea. Now, at this point I have one thought OMG crocodiles! Aren’t they risking being chomped by Chris the croc? Mr G reminds me that this stretch of water is behind a seawall which separates Darwin Harbour. Thanks to fine mesh screens it allows salt water in, but keeps the pesky crocs out.

Further out into deeper water is an amusing set of inflatables called the ‘Aqua Park Challenge’. It looks like the set of Ninja Warrior. Mr G is determined to give this a go and I am equally determined not to! 

Just a few metres from the hotel and a lift takes us to an elevated walkway which transitions us from waterfront oasis into the city in a matter of minutes. We take advantage of the pay as you go Neuron electric scooters (just download the app) which are scattered around the city, they are both terrifying and great fun. Getting up to speeds of 15km makes it so easy to get around a relatively flat city especially when the heat can make even a short walk feel taxing. 

There is the gentle buzz of happiness in the air, birds tweeting, kids playing, people exercising, and the gentle clink of diners eating and drinking. It is the soundtrack to our holiday.

The Apartment. 432 One Bedroom Apartment with views

One Bedroom Apartment

Adina is known for spacious, apartment style hotels that offer a sense of belonging. The hotel is coming up to 13 years old and you can see this in the design of our lounge, kitchen and bathroom. Apartment 432 is on the top (fourth floor) which conveniently has an internal doorway to the car park, which is handy if you hire a car.

The apartment is compact but has character. The rectangular living area is open plan with the kitchen to our right and the balcony towards the end of the room. It is a decent size kitchen and it is well kitted out (which for an hotel chain isn’t always the case), with pots, pans, kettle and a decent amount of glassware. We have tea/coffee provided with a small carton of milk in the fridge.

The dining room table to the left captures our attention, with an artistic fruit plate and the cheese platter – which is smashed in a matter of nanoseconds. A bottle of bubbles is chilling in the wine cooler. The only thing missing are the champagne glasses. However, we make do with white wine glasses (first world problems we know…). A three seater sofa faces the TV, which has the advantage of balcony views. The interior design really celebrates the region with white walls using earthy dark brown and orange tones for feature walls. Stunning red and black aboriginal prints and artwork dot the space and vibrant striped cushions create a modern but culturally sympathetic feel. 

The drawcard for staying at Adina is its prime position on the waterfront so the balcony really is the place you want to be. It’s a small space just big enough for two chairs and an occasional table. I imagine what you could do with this space if planning approval had accommodated a balcony three times the size, it would become another room which would really transform how we would use the space. Regardless, the views just scream tropical oasis. 

The separate bedroom has a queen bed which passes the ‘dive’ test. It’s supportive and has the right amount of hugs to our curves! The large windows are blissfully dark at night thanks to black out curtains, by day sheer netting can give you privacy or you can pull them all back and strut your stuff!   

Now, the bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom! The shower is over the bath, which talks to its history and Asian clientele who historically have preferred that design approach. These days most of us expect to have our own shower cubicle and a bath is a bonus. It also conveniently houses a washer/dryer which given the humidity and heat can be very helpful if you decide to only bring hand luggage. It all adds up to a home from home feeling. 

Sleeping – The air con isn’t something you can control in individual rooms, so if you like a really cold bedroom and warmer living areas you will have to find a compromise. A good night’s sleep in our opinion is a sign of luxury and design. This is a quiet hotel, which is both marvellous and surprising. We couldn’t hear our apartment neighbours, no noise from outside penetrated the room. The corridors are carpeted which again means zzzz’s. Our first night was a bit sleepless only due to how noisy the aircon was but by the morning the magical man with a screwdriver had been able to work his powers and our next nights were wonderfully quiet. 

The Pool 

Ground level pool

With so many watery options around to swim, catch a wave or feel the sand on your toes, the pool is never over packed. Situated on the ground floor next to Curve Restaurant & Bar, it has the benefit of a lot of shade thanks to its positioning under the main belly of the hotel and the sculptured screens which separate you from the main promenade of bars and restaurants. We grab a cocktail and enjoy a short dip before scooting over to the Wave Lagoon.

Gym –It’s next to the pool and it has running machines, bikes and enough weights and mats for a good work out. 

Curve Restaurant & Bar 

Inside and outside area

We arrive for dinner just after 6.30pm. The sun sets at 6.43pm and we take our seats in the outside area looking out onto the lawns, water and wharf. Some people are lounging on the sofas drinking cocktails, others are sitting up at the high chairs which makes any pretty young things easy to be seen! Our server greets us warmly as we chat about the menu. We have already heard good things about the ‘Sticky licky chicken wings’ with good reason. With a La Gioiosa Prosecco and cold beer in hand a bowl of golden wings arrives. It’s bang on the winner of the night, each wing is coated in a shimmering asian sauce, decorated with sesame seeds which has us licking our fingers in a way that KFC never has.

Three arancini balls are stuffed with prosciutto and brie, and the Szechuan salt calamari rounds out our starters. Its hard to go past BBQ back ribs ($48) for a half kilo. It’s a stack affair. Chips on the bottom layer with a bridge of ribs over the top, all glossy with house made secret sauce, a single corn on the cob stands upright like a lamppost, dusted with Mexican spices. For our first night in Darwin it’s impossible to go past the NT Humpty Doo barramundi legendary for its clean flavour. It lives up to the promise with a silky coconut pumpkin purée, caramelised fennel,soft charred leek and lemon myrtle beurre blanc sauce. It’s everything in a dish which screams Darwin!

Service – Throughout our stay the staff are friendly and accomodating. One of the most impressive moments was that the log on of hotel wifi prompted a feedback questionaire. I mentioned it would be nice to have some champagne glasses and a few extra cushions for the sofa and outside chairs. Like Mary Poppins these magically appeared within hours. It’s here that Sid Bhatia the GM really is also stand out. We were chating about things to do and he mentioned his fav restaurant was Crusteanans on The Wharf. We were sold and he immediately handled all the reservations for us including getting a special corner table so we could enjoy the sunset

What we are addicted to: The location is simply superb. With bars and restaurants all within a few toe taps, but Vibe also delivers a really homely stay and a chance to cook up produce from the local area if you want to. We loved how quiet the rooms were.

To get us more addicted: A bigger balcony (not an easy fix!), seperate shower and a kingsize bed!

Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront, 7 Kitchener Dr, Darwin City NT
Curve Restaurant & Bar
Luxury Guide to Darwin Coming Soon!!!

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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