The Johnson, Brisbane, Queensland © The Johnson
Where to stay in Brisbane
Find the best lodgings in the heart of Queensland’s vibrant capital or in one of its fascinating inner-city neighbourhoods.
By Katrina Lobley & Lana Bogunovich
Move over Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane is putting its own spin on the hotel scene with options that range from luxe to cutting-edge. Splash around in rooftop pools, get your art vibe on or just swing in your own hammock. Here are some of our favourites.
Where: 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane
Inspired by acclaimed Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo, The Fantauzzo is bold in character and colour. The spacious room and suites have been appointed with functional luxury in mind, and feature original artworks and fine giclée prints throughout. Positioned beneath the iconic Story Bridge, the hotel overlooks Brisbane River and Howard Smith Wharves. Dine on Italian at Polepetta, sip wine to glistening river views from the terrace at Fiume bar, and take a dip in the rooftop pool.
The Calile Hotel
Where: 48 James Street, Fortitude Valley
Touted as Australia's very first urban resort, the Calile Hotel fully embraces Queensland's tropical flair. With a design aesthetic that wouldn't look out of place in Palm Springs, with palm trees galore, alfresco dining, cabanas, and a lot of pink. While you're there, be sure to make a reservation for Hellenika, the hotel's poolside modern Greek restaurant. It's won awards, and for good reason.
Where: 33 Caxton Street, Petrie Terrace
It may be considered a small hotel, but Gambaro Hotel packs a punch when it comes to offering the finer things in life. Comfort and luxury can be felt in the extra little touches, from the valet parking and daily newspapers to the rainfall showerheads, oversized bathtubs and plush bathrobes. Boutique in look and feel, the hotel’s rooms are elegantly furnished in a warm palette for a homely feel, and most feature their own private balcony overlooking the hilly streets of Paddington.
Where: 477 Boundary Street, Spring Hill
Brisbane's cutting-edge Art Series hotel is another one in the collection that is enhancing hotel experiences around Australia (there are four in Melbourne and one in Adelaide). This one, The Johnson, showcases the work of celebrated Sydney abstract artist Michael Johnson, who is strongly influenced by nature. The boutique hotel, in Spring Hill on the fringes of the city centre, features 96 suites, two penthouses, a stunning Olympic-size outdoor pool and art libraries for those who prefer to exercise the mind.
Hyatt Regency Brisbane
Where: 72 Queen Street, Brisbane
The Hyatt Regency Brisbane is located in the Queen Street Mall, the heart of Brisbane’s city centre. The high-tech concept hotel, where guests can check in using their smartphone as a key, channels a Miami vibe with its 21-metre (69-foot) rooftop infinity pool offering views over the mall and across to South Bank entertainment complex – home to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Guests can book QPAC tickets at the hotel.
Spicers Balfour Hotel
Where: 37 Balfour Street, New Farm
Spicers Balfour Hotel, in inner-city New Farm, is a boutique luxury hotel. The original property, cleverly fashioned from a Queenslander-style home, features nine suites but another eight larger suites were added to the nearby black-and-white Art Deco building. The first building features a cosy rooftop bar with a gorgeous view of the Story Bridge.
Where: 14-20 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley
With an arresting portrait covering its façade, The Constance doesn’t look like your typical hotel. The 65-room street art hotel embraces its gritty neighbourhood by showcasing works by famous street artists such as Beastman and Numskull. Its in-room dining is also something else, coming from renowned chef Warren Turnbull, whose Chur eatery is located at street level. Turnbull's vision is also on display at the hotel's stylish rooftop bar Up on Constance.
Sofitel Brisbane Central
Where: 249 Turbot Street, Brisbane
Five-star luxury is on tap at the Sofitel Brisbane Central, located directly above the city’s main train station. The 433-room hotel is home to Queensland’s largest Club Lounge (premium accommodation on levels 26 to 29), four bars and restaurants and a drawcard day spa. It also serves high tea in two venues. A palette of neutrals, charcoal and chocolate gives rooms a serene and elegant air.
Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street
Where: 40 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
The budget 367-room ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street is just a block from the Queen Street Mall. While prices might be reasonable, there’s no skimping on interior design features. There’s a fun vibe to the rooms, which have a pop-art sensibility thanks to their bright feature walls. Some rooms contain glorious views of the Brisbane River.
Where: 142 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley
It's small – just 21 rooms – but Fortitude Valley’s Limes Hotel, with its striking cut-out façade, is perfectly formed. The compact rooftop bar draws quite a crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the hotel runs a rooftop cinema (some patrons can enjoy the film from the two circular plunge pools). Courtyard rooms come with a hammock.
The Inchcolm by Ovolo
Where: 73 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill
The Inchcolm by Ovolo in Spring Hill, has a fascinating history. The 1920s-era building originally housed medical specialists, while today the boutique hotel channels an eclectic yet sophisticated take on rock n' roll. There are just 50 rooms, several of which are contemporary double-storey, loft-style suites. Stay for a meal at Salon de Co for share dishes that reflect the funky Art Deco surrounds.
Where: 81 North Quay, Brisbane
At first look, you may think W Brisbane’s curved structure and contemporary design are all for show, but they also tell a story. Everything about W Brisbane serves to mirror the winding rivers and stunning landscapes of Queensland. Located in the heart of the city and sitting on the edge of the Brisbane River, W Brisbane is convenient and accessible, but you might find yourself staying in to enjoy the glam Living Room Bar, the incredibly Instagrammable WET® Deck pool area, or the gourmet menu at Three Blue Ducks.