Coolangatta’s best kept secrets: retro boutiques, cool hotels and more

Coolangatta has been a popular holiday spot since the mid-century and has always been known for its down-to-earth surfy vibes.

Today, Cooly (as the locals call it), still celebrates that laid-back charm of childhood holidays. You may even have fond memories of relaxed holidays there yourself.

While Coolangatta’s beautiful beaches have been luring visitors for generations, you’ll find Cooly’s best kept secrets just a couple of streets back.

The strip of boutiques on McLean Street is keeping the good old days alive with an eclectic mix of vintage and retro wares.

20th Century Antiques and Collectables is a shining, shimmering, splendid shop full of just about anything your heart could desire.

While next door, Retro Sheila focuses on all things mid-century – from ‘50s – ‘70s clothing, furniture, jewellery and collectables. Owner Greg Pead has seen a resurgence in the love for retro wares.

“I think it’s the sense of nostalgia – a lot of people want to go back to another time when life was simple, stress-free,” Pead said.

The most Instagrammable spot on the Gold Coast!

The '70s are well and truly alive in Coolangatta, with retro vibes on every corner 🌼 Whether you are looking to shop up a storm, grab a bite to eat or unwind in an entirely pink hotel, Cooly is the place for you! For more information, visit

Posted by The Great Day Out on Thursday, 28 March 2019

Local lassies Rose Madden and Vanessa Cave are certainly keeping the retro feels alive at Nine Lives Bazaar in McLean Street.

They’re self-confessed vintage-lovers, and their appreciation for the flower-power of the ‘70s inspired them to create their own fashion line. Their gorgeous garments look like they’re straight from a ‘70s fashion mag.

“I think it’s the boldness and the creative expression you can have when you wear it,” Cave said. “We’ve always been obsessed with the bright, bold, floral patterns and paisley that the ‘70s bring and it just makes you happy when you’re wearing it.”

The girls are always designing new, exciting pieces, so their boutique has become very popular with locals and visitors alike. They chose Coolangatta to set up shop because it was the only retro place on the coast. 

“We love the holiday vibes, and some of the retro buildings that still stand here today,” Cave explained. “It’s a sunshiny place where you always feel like you can have a good time.”

When it comes to sunshiny, good-time vibes, you can’t look past The Pink Hotel…it will have you doing a double take!

You may remember the old subtle–pink Coolangatta Ocean View Motel, on Griffith Street and Marine Parade…well, the late ‘50s building has been given a Hollywood-worthy makeover – taking inspiration from Miami Beach and Palm Springs, as well as local artists.

The entire hotel has been injected with colour and each of the 17 rooms has its own unique flair – from great views, to murals on the wall, a rooftop cocktail bar, guitars in the suites and vinyl record players provide the perfect soundtrack for your nostalgic weekend.

The managers are also the masterminds behind the popular dive-bar burger joint downstairs – Eddie’s Grub House – famous for burgers, whiskey, a cool atmosphere and live music.

While you could opt to get Eddie’s for room service, we couldn’t go past the idea of an old-fashioned malted milkshake and a stack of pancakes at a classic-style diner!

The Pancake Diner is the newest retro addition to the Strand at Coolangatta, and it stacks up in our books…in more ways than one. The pancake stacks range from sweet to savoury and gluten-free.

There’s also American-style main meals, hot dogs, burgers, crepes, waffles, classic milkshakes…but the highlight would have to be all-you-can-eat pancakes for $9.95…that’s right, people, you read correctly!

One more tip is to try the malted milkshake – it’s sure to take you back to your childhood.

So why not relive your own childhood memories or make some new ones on a visit to Coolangatta?