Find the best lodgings in the heart of Queensland’s vibrant capital or in one of its fascinating inner-city neighbourhoods.
By Katrina Lobley
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.
Brisbane's cutting-edge Art Series hotel is another one in the collection that is enhancing hotel experiences around Australia (there are five 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.
Next Hotel is located in the Queen Street Mall, the heart of Brisbane’s city centre. The high-tech concept hotel, where guests can hang out in a sleep pod before or after their stay, and 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.
Tryp Fortitude Valley Hotel
With an arresting portrait covering its façade, Tryp Fortitude Valley Hotel 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
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
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.
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.
Ovolo Inchcolm 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.
Spicers Balfour Hotel
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. In October and November, visit nearby New Farm Park to see purple jacaranda trees in bloom.
Novotel Brisbane Airport
Think airport hotels are boring? Check in to Novotel Brisbane Airport and head up to its rooftop swimming pool for a new perspective. The panoramic lap pool comes with glass panels that allow you to see the surrounding area through the walls. The 157-room hotel is walking distance to a factory outlet centre and runs shuttles to the domestic and international terminals.
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.