From renovated Queenslanders-turned B&Bs to hipster apartments and heritage suites, Brisbane’s boutique hotels each offer their own je ne sais quoi. Here are the pick of the bunch
Heal House, New Farm
Impresario of Brisbane’s (sadly now defunct) Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane, Lindsay Bennett could see the glamour beyond the grime when he and partner Bryce Williams purchased a run-down boarding house in leafy New Farm.
What started as a small personal project turned into the development of a Queenslander-chic renovation of mass proportions, rebirthing as boutique luxury B&B, Heal House.
Upstairs, three suites and a cavernous lounge room provide the ultimate inner-city sanctuary. Continental breakfast is included in your stay (cooked, extra) as is the mini bar with non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.
There’s an honour bar system in the lounge, but from here you’re also well placed to head for a tipple in one of James Street’s many restaurants and bars.
A subtropical oasis in the thick of Brisbane city? Welcome to The Calile, the $100-million urban resort on Fortitude Valley’s famous James Street.
A destination in its own right, The Calile pool is the epicenter of the hotel, a place where the bustle disappears and sky-gazing from plush cabanas is king.
Leave the pool if you must, but there’s no reason to leave the resort. Create an in-room sanctuary with complimentary new-release movies and motorised block-out blinds, or satisfy any hunger, from breakfast through to dinner, at either The Lobby Bar or in-house restaurant Hellenika, the second chapter of a Gold Coast institution.
Plus, ground-level shopping precinct Ada Lane offers retail heavyweights such as Bassike and Dion Lee.
Ovolo The Valley
Still in Fortitude Valley, design-led hotel group Ovolo has also moved into the neighbourhood, further enhancing the suburb’s creative cred. Renowned for boundary-pushing boutique hotels, Ovolo celebrates the eclectic culture and rich history of its new inner-city home with a frenzy of colour and playful design.
Wild wallpaper, eccentric furniture and eye-catching art combine to tell the story of the Valley while plush rooms and suites, a rooftop swimming pool, gym, sauna and a unique meeting room make for a fabulous stay. And keep watching this space.
A bar and kitchen concept is in the making and slated for a mid-year opening. With collaborating chef Justin North and interiors firm Luchetti Krelle behind the project, it promises to be something special.
Punthill, Spring Hill
This hip hotel – the first for Melbourne brand Punthill – took what was a drab apartment block and rolled its proverbial chinos up a few inches, let it grow a moustache and it suddenly became Mr Popular on the boutique stays circuit.
A short five-minute walk from Central station, here you can take out one of the shiny Papillionaire bicycles lining the lobby to explore the city for free, or enjoy leisurely eats in adjoining jak+hill cafe.
Artwork by kids from the local primary school makes a quirky appearance on the walls, while comfy king beds, workstations and a small kitchen make longer stays easy.
There’s a pool and gym onsite, too.
Limes Hotel, Fortitude Valley
In the hippest pocket of the Valley, Limes provides a chic place to sleep and one of Brisbane’s original and best rooftop bars (head upstairs on Wednesday and Thursday nights for the rooftop cinema; watch from one of the spas if you don’t mind a bit of exhibitionism).
Owned by Damien Griffiths, the man pulling the strings on most of the Valley’s newest darlings – Doughnut Time, Kwan Brothers, and Les Bubbles to mention a few – Limes is a tight collection of 21 keys, with courtyard rooms complete with hammocks.
Amenities are by Appelles Apothecary, and breakfast is provided at sister venue Alfred & Constance.
One Thornbury, Spring Hill
Perched in a cute cottage on a corner in Spring Hill – dating back to 1886 – this seven-room boutique B&B is the antithesis of one-size-fits-all hotels.
Owner and host Geof keeps the place humming along, ensuring guests are kept happy with free wi-fi, Nespresso coffee and snacks throughout the day, and serves up legendary pancakes for breakfast.
Each room at One Thornbury is individually decorated and there is a great covered outdoor area for mingling with other guests.
Royal Albert, Brisbane CBD
For a city that can sometimes feel as though nothing is older than a Gen Y-er, the Royal Albert Hotel holds over 100 years of history in its demure facade. Originally called Perry House, this was the tallest building in Brisbane when it was built in 1913.
Sitting adjacent to Queen St Mall, the surrounding 21st-century towers might dwarf it now, but what it lacks in height it makes up for in its solid bones, 12-foot ceilings, Royal Albert fine china and elegant mahogany furniture.