Brisbane is an odd city for hotels. It is one of the very few places where there are not enough rooms for the demand almost year round. (As an aside the best deals for Brisbane hotels is January) So the imminent opening of the Emporium Hotel is being excitedly watched by travellers and local industry alike. Located in Brisbane’s booming design and art precinct Fortitude Valley, the hotel is aiming to lead Brisbane’s claim to the new centre for Australian style. (It has some way to go but ‘the valley’ is starting to unearth some exceptional Australian design and style talent – more than its counterparts further south).

Boutique means stylish
While claiming to be a boutique hotel, at 106 suites you have to say more likely boutique style, and it certainly is gearing up to be stylish. The foyer exudes style. The amazing roof chandelier has got to be the creation of glass artist Chihuly, but the Director of Sales tells me it is in fact the creation of local outfit the Urban Arts Project.

The rest of the foyer contains exquisite pieces that turn the claims of boutique into a reality. And the red glass wall with brass work in front make for a spectacular evening show case to the restaurants opposite.

More than a foyer
The great frustration of hotel guests worldwide is when the effort that makes the foyer (and online pictures) something spectacular is not matched in the rooms. The Emporium’s rooms, not finished during our inspection, are single suite studios with spa bath, beautiful king size beds, marble in the kitchenette and bathrooms and a MASSIVE flat screen TVs. The BOSE sound system and Molton Brown amenities ensure that the style is far more than skin deep.

And the staff encourage you to keep your Molton Brown amenities (just like Business Class on British Airways) and monogrammed slippers (unlike BA). Chihuly inspired chandeliers aside, there is one more item worth noting. (Ok there are several including the huge brass sculptured reception desk and locally hand crafted wooden table). Emporium Hotel owner Fran John has found and imported an antique stained glass wall. Originally a Paris shopfront, the wall ended up in a private villa in Buenos Aires before Fran brought it to her hotel. AT is looking into the story, cause there has to be one.

The AT Verdict: It is perfect for the business traveller who views staying at a cool and stylish place with brag factor as the reward for the absence from family and friends. (It has wireless internet throughout – even on the roof top pool/sauna/gym). It also suits the romantic ‘cool’ city escape for couples. It does not suit families or the budget conscience.
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