Tessa's On The Beach motel review, Gold Coast: Revamped '60s motel is just what the Gold Coast needed

Our rating

4.5 out of 5


Palm Springs meets the Gold Coast, that's what the website says. For decades, the only decent accommodation option on the Gold Coast were fancy high-rises built near the beach right up the other end of the Coast around Surfers Paradise. But Tessa's On The Beach is the epitome of the new southern Gold Coast accommodation style. A 1960s-era motel has been remodelled into a retro-but-modern new-age block of apartments and rooms set right on the beach. Palm Springs indeed, but with a mouth-watering ocean-front vantage point.


Convenience, convenience, convenience: you won't need a car. Less than two kilometres from the airport, and built right beside one of the Gold Coast's widest and quietest beaches (Bilinga), there's only a walking/biking path that separates you from a salty swim. Rent a bike (available on-site) and ride just down the road to Kirra, or north to Currumbin and Palm Beach.


You'll love the vibe of the pool area: grab a cocktail from the cafe/bar and relax on a sun-lounger between laps of the magnesium pool (that's if you can draw yourself away from the ocean beyond). Occasionally an acoustic performer plays songs on the faux-lawn beside the beach. You're so close to the beach that you'll make plenty of use of the outdoor shower by the entrance – it's my favourite feature. With its billion-dollar location, this feels like the ultimate Gold Coast beach hang-out. Just bring sunscreen.


There are several different types to choose between: but fork out for the beach view rooms along the front of Tessa's On The Beach. These views are to die-for. Gaze across sun-loungers set on the lawn to the glistening Pacific Ocean, with not even a road in the way (just a walking path). Other rooms offer views of the pool or the terrace. There's double, queen and king-sized rooms or deluxe and superior apartments, all with tropical print wallpaper to amp life up.


Order a gourmet boxed breakfast delivered to your room, or a cheese platter to enjoy overlooking the ocean. On-site Tony's Cafe & Bar serves great coffee and cocktails, and there are kitchenettes in the apartments, but for proper meals you'll have to step out. Relax, you won't have far to go.


Keep costs down and avoid a rental car. Hire a bike from reception and ride a few kilometres south to Kirra and Coolangatta where you'll have scores of restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from, including Siblings, the sleek, chic eatery that was built where the old Pizza Hut sat on Kirra Point for decades (now there's a view). Palm Beach is also a ride away (or splash out on an Uber). It's the hippest new 'burb for drinks and dinner on the whole Coast.


This is what the southern Gold Coast has been screaming out for; it captures everything that's so great about this part of the world. Bilinga's beach is still a local's secret and Tessa's On The Beach has the best location within it that money can buy. Life is easy here, wake up to whales breaching as you walk 100 metres for a swim in the sea. Then spend your day biking around the immediate area. Can life get sweeter?




Rooms from $300 a night. 281 Golden Four Drive, Bilinga. See tessasonthebeach.com.au



Nothing is ever far away. The ocean, 100 metres; a latte, 50 metres; the pool, 50 metres, the bike path to everywhere - 10 metres. This is the easiest holiday you'll have.


You're two kilometres from an airport. While it's surprisingly quiet for this part of the Gold Coast, planes are big and they do make noise.

Craig Tansley travelled courtesy of Destination Gold Coast.