Brisbane Travel Guide
Australia's third-largest city was at one time considered a "big-country town", but that nickname might be ancient history with Brisbane welcoming three new hotels over the next few months. And the transformation couldn't come at a more perfect time with the G20 Summit taking place in the city this November.
Previously, Brisbane was rather barren when it came to edgy hotels. But soon the city will have a lot to show when it comes to cool destination hotels.
Already welcoming guests, Gambaro Hotel will attract those who want a slice of design within Brisbane's liveliest entertainment districts. Located on Caxton Street, Gambaro offers up sleek decor and luxury amenities like APPELLES Apothecary amenities and Sealy signature beds. Best of all, it has a rooftop with extraordinary views.
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Our stay wasn't perfect. When we highlighted our minor issues, it caused quite a stir amongst our readers. We later opted to let the property know, via an email survey, what we usually expect from Starwood Hotels and other international hotel chains and why this stay fell short.
Since then, we've been in contact with the Four Points' general manager (who also saw our story on HotelChatter.) In true form of a good hotelier, he not only took the feedback on to ensure it doesn't happen again, but also explained why we experienced the hiccups. Here are the responses:
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Last week, Brisbane scored their first new international hotel in 16 years with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton. Because we're not ones to miss the chance to check-out a new hotel, we booked a stay and checked-in only five days after opening day.
Here's the set-up: the 32-story building is in the heart of Brisbane, overlooking the cityscape on one side and the namesake river on the other. Each of the 246 rooms offer sleek, downtown-inspired decor with a nod to utility and productivity along with simple, yet effective amenities. The entire property aims to be as sustainable as possible with energy-saving lights in the hallways and reflective glass to reflect the hot sub-tropical sun; a nice touch.
Catering to a corporate guest, the property offers a second floor bar for drinks and a marketplace-style restaurant for fueling before and after meetings. A rooftop gym is surrounded by a 180-degree outdoor terrace which is perfect for private parties and or simply for chilling out after a long day. In true Four Points form, there's also plenty of meeting space for... well, meetings.
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What was once a big-country town, Brisbane has really started to come of age as far as its hotel scene goes. From trendy boutique The Emporium Hotel, that regularly takes home top awards, to the first Tryp and a newly re-branded Pullman, Australia's third largest city is making a name for itself as one of the country's epicenter for cool hotels. So picking Brisbane to launch a new hotel brand, called NEXT Hotels, makes total sense.
The brand NEXT is new, but the folks calling all of the shots are not new to running hotels; the Singaporean hotelier, SilverNeedle has acquired the Constellation Group, who've been welcoming guests for decades not only in Australia, but in New Zealand, Thailand and Laos. SilverNeedle will now overhaul Constellation's Brisbane property, Chifley at Lennons, to the tune of $35 million.
Not only will NEXT Hotel double the amount of rooms from 150 to 300 at the property, but it will offer out-of-town guests and locals a hip hot spot overlooking the Queen Street outdoor-shopping mall. By adding a luxury retail section on the ground floor and a hot new pool deck a la The Standard Highline or Gansevoort for sipping cocktails, NEXT will once again be the city's hottest address.
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The Brisbane Pullman has completed a full renovation and re-branding from the city's former Sebel hotel. Sporting 2 different towers, Accor has split up the hotel making one side a Mercure and the other, a Pullman. While both towers share a lobby, guests of each brand can get comfy with the typical Pullman design using rich aquas and cerulean furniture and rugs at first impression.
As expected, the rooms on the Pullman side have that sleek touch that is both warm and modern. Textured walls and over-sized headboards are married with geometrics in charcoal, black and pearl. Each of the rooms feature cream colored leather chairs and glass desks to appeal to their latest market, the bliesure traveler (just like in London!)
Step inside the iron gates of Diamant Hotel in Brisbane as they unveil newly renovated rooms of their 84 room boutique property in the CBD. Where the city is lacking in edgy and on-style accommodation, this 8 Hotels property fills the void for trendy digs.
Housed in a modern building in the city's Springhill inner-suburb, the building kept some elements we thought were reminiscent of times gone-by. Reception is behind iron gates that you'd normally think Addams Family-esque, all to then walk in to a modern, yet sleek lobby. To brighten up the dark colors, fresh Gerbera daisies and pops of metallic hues helped lift us up. Each floor has a similar, yet different design theme with the fresh flowers and a few magazines in case the elevator takes too long.
The rooms are heavily, but not negatively, monochromatic with a textured wallpaper to accent smaller details. The Diamant Suite had a muted lavender that was very calming and nice touch with an awesome bathroom featuring a double sinks, a full tub and a glass enclosed shower. The attention to detail from the metallic elements in the rest of the hotel were brought in with a wall tile that we would love to walk into our own bathroom and experience.
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We had the opportunity to have a first-hand look at the fresh new rooms that Sofitel Brisbane offers guests starting this week. The sexy spaces have just been completed and we were the first to have a glimpse of the new fabrics, unique details and comfy living areas each room sports.
Working heavily on the theme of a Parisian apartment, these rooms mimic a pied-à-terre that would suit any jetsetter on their routine visit to Europe, except all in the perfect weather of Australia. A wanderlust play on location with images of both Paris and Brisbane showcase Sofitel roots and local flair; use of luxurious velvets and woven Damasks, we could spend an extended stay here and feel right at home.
Color is the name of the game here with a subdued, yet eye-catching use of accent pops that are used throughout the room and even into the hallways. A rich peacock blue for the Superior rooms, plum for the Club level rooms and robin's egg blue accents for the Junior suites (at around $548 a night) all create a chic European feel.
Late last year, the folks in France at Accor Hotels signed a big check for Australian hotel chain, Mirvac Hotels. In May of this year, the brands were completely integrated and Accor was ready to start slapping their name on a few buildings across Australia.
Their latest re-branding is taking place in Brisbane with their upscale Pullman property. Housed in the former Sebel, the new hotel is centrally located across from city hall and in walking distance to many of the city's attractions and will feature plenty of perks for guests that don't want to leave.
Looking to spend about 7 million AUD on a complete overhaul of the 40 year old building, the property will be transformed into a sophisticated 5-star hotel. Each of the 210 rooms, half of which are already completed, will be renovated with a contemporary and modern, yet comfy decor. Thankfully, the new owners will keep the rooftop pool and recreation deck with panoramic city views since it is one of the only of its kind in the city.
We gave you on a sneak peak to Brisbane's newest hotel, Traders Hotel Brisbane. Along with the free WiFi, CBD location, and affordable prices, the hotel is offering a Samsung Galaxy Tab with every room. Don't be afraid to pack the tablet in your suitcase, since it's yours to keep long after check-out.
A few months back, the mid-range brother of Shangri-La opened up their first Australian property and are enticing guests to check them out. From now until December 31st, during check-in for at least one night's stay, you will be presented with a shiny new, 16G tablet to surf the internet or Skype with family and say g'day!
If you're in the market for a new tablet computer, be sure to book the Stay Connected package on the website in one of the hotel's deluxe rooms. You only need to book one night, but the option to stay longer at regular rates. This is only the beginning of the hotel's Stay Connected initiative allowing guests the ability to work while on the road or just Tweet the heck out of your in-room bubble bath.
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A few weeks ago we told you about a Traders Hotel opening its first property in Brisbane, Australia. Now, after an opportunity to see what everyone was talking about, we can bring you our thoughts on the mid-range cousin of the Shangri-La brand.
The official handover from Holiday Inn to Traders took place early August and the transformation has been non-stop since then. Although not 100% complete, the major renovations have been finished and we have to say, they're pretty nice. Designed for most any type of traveler, the decor is comfortable, yet still stylish, sleek and clean.
The room hues and furnishings were carefully considered with fresh colors and design that will still look good in a few years, so no tired decor here. Fairly monochromatic, each room has an accent color of spring green which is nice and modern. We were told that it was chosen for its energetic qualities to revive weary travelers.
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Traders Hotels is looking to gain some traction in the highly lucrative AustralAsia tourism market with their first property in Brisbane inside a former Holiday Inn. The official handover was completed earlier this month but aside from a new name slapped on the outside, the property has gotten a complete brand overhaul.
If you're not familiar, the Traders brand is an offshoot of the high-end luxury brand, Shangri-La Hotels. Traders hotels offer a mid-market price point yet caters more to the savvy business traveler who likes a little design with their hotel stay. We not talking uber-luxury, but an affordable option with great customer service and quality on-property amenities.
Usually, when a 25th birthday is in order, there is no talk about a make-over or a face-lift. At least, we hope not. But when it came to celebrating their 25th anniversary, The Hilton in Brisbane has gone all out to spruce themselves up.
Overall, the property is in a great location and has seen heaps of people come and go. Including the Aussie celeb set, socialites and locals alike. With all of these visitors, the hotel started to look a little run-down and was in need of a major modernization. And that's just what Hilton did to the tune of $37 million.