Brisbane’s first urban resort feels like a glamorous trip to Palm Springs. Take a peek at Australia’s first urban resort.
Celebrating the region’s sub-tropical climate and love for the outdoors, life at The Calile Hotel in Brisbane is as relaxed and refined as you’d imagine it to be. Pronounced ‘kal-isle’, a visit to this glamorous oasis gives you all the Hollywood resort vibes.
Located in the hip precinct of James Street, I pass laneways unfurling with glossy greenery, high-end retail stores, and brutalist concrete facades. Indeed, walking into the hotel lobby, I feel as if I could be in Palm Springs or Miami.
The Calile gives off Hollywood vibes.
The adjoining Lobby Bar of The Calile — with its rich-veined rose marble counters, smooth concrete columns, bell-shaped brass pendants, and blond timber flooring — is humming with tanned, long-legged beauties on this Saturday afternoon.
It would be easy for a pasty Melburnian like me to feel out of place, but the welcome I receive from the breezy, linen-clad front desk staff is attentive and warm.
Expect an attentive and warm welcome at The Calile.
Style of the rooms
The sense of being in a tropical oasis continues as I go up to my room. Unlike traditional hotels in warm-weather cities where the air conditioning dial is turned to frigid, The Calile embraces the elements; hallways feature curved breezeblocks, open-air corridors, and archways that offer alluring views of the glittering pool below.
There are 175 guestrooms with nine different suite types and two premier suites. Having seen social media shots of the azure 28-metre pool, framed by palm trees and plush cabanas with mint green cushions, I’m thrilled to have scored a poolside suite.
The pool is cleverly revealed as I open the door to my room, my entry triggering a motion-detecting blind that scrolls upwards, flooding the suite with light.
The walls carry a hint of pink, which is accentuated by blushing, speckled marble and brushed brass fixtures. The sisal matting, golden oak cabinetry, and linen robes all speak to a relaxed, natural but sophisticated vibe.
The lush rooms are to die for.
There’s a long, nude leather daybed by the window and I make a mental note that it would be an ideal spot to recline once I acquaint myself with a few items from the locally sourced minibar (hello Dello Mano brownies and cocktails from the Everleigh Bottling Co.).
The bathroom has dusky pink tiles, an arched shower recess, and gorgeous Grown Alchemist toiletries — but I find the self-closing toilet door that automatically shuts more annoying than convenient. Still, it’s a small gripe in the context of a hotel room that manages to be tech-savvy (the air-conditioning system has motion sensors that turn off and on when you leave and enter your room) while retaining a strong sense of style.
The walls carry a hint of pink.
The ambience of the rooms
It would be easy with all the angular concrete, marble, and brass for The Calile to feel cold and masculine, but out on my balcony, looking down at the pool (the beauties now seem to have migrated from the Lobby Bar over to the pool deck), I realise just how curvaceous The Calile is.
Wherever I look, there are arches bending over doorways in wide sweeps, half-moons, and semicircles, all of which lend a distinctly feminine feel to the property.
While I’m tempted to stay in and alternate between people-watching from my balcony and chaise lounge, or trying out the huge selection of free movies, there’s exploring to be done.
There are arches bending over doorways in wide sweeps, half-moons, and semicircles.
Of course, the 28-metre pool with its mint green cabanas and sun lounges (recline, relax and repeat) are the shining stars at The Calile, but the hotel’s other facilities are more than capable of adding a luxurious touch to your stay.
Starting with the gymnasium, it’s filled with a host of sophisticated equipment and personal training methods in a boutique space.
Work out in the on-site gym.
Or for a sensory escape, head to Kailo Medispa — a calming space with ochre tiles, white walls, and sheer pink curtains separating the wellness pods. The treatments range from utterly relaxing (such as the Moroccan rose hand treatment) to more interventionist (anti-wrinkle fillers and injectables are discreetly administered by an onsite cosmetic physician).
If you want to look after your mind and body, you can while away a good chunk of time browsing magazines, obscure cycling and Greek architecture books, and travelogues at the small library.
You can even shop at The Calile on the ground floor retail stretch with a phenomenal 11 stores to browse. M.O.S.T (Museum of Small Things) is particularly interesting with its elegantly curated selection of beautiful objects sourced from around Australia.
For a sensory escape, head to Kailo Medispa.
Restaurants and food available
What makes The Calile a destination even for those not staying there is Hellenika: the second edition of the acclaimed eatery on the Gold Coast.
This really is modern Greek food at its best, and it would be a crime to leave without ordering the crisp kolokithia (zucchini chips), the htapodi (tender-grilled octopus with a perfectly charred crust), or the kritharaki (orzo pasta with Fraser Coast spanner crab). The seafood is certified sustainable and is flown in from all over Australia each day.
Dine at The Calile for Greek food at its best.
Other dining options on-site and in The Calile vicinity include SK Steak & Oyster (sip martinis at the Piano Bar), Sushi Room (refined Japanese fine dining), Same Same (Brisbane’s elegant take on street-inspired Thai food), and Bianca (simple, classic Italian dishes), as well as a range of exquisite bars and restaurants within walking distance on James Street and surrounding suburbs. Or if you fancy a night in, room service is available between 7 am and 10 pm.
The next morning, I felt quite downcast about checking out — although a wholesome breakfast in the Lobby Bar (house-made granola with yoghurt parfait and berry coulis) paired with a long, cool grapefruit and pineapple juice does comfort me.
As I go back to my room to pack my things, I go out onto my balcony for one last look at the pool. I watch a couple of guests gliding through the water, swimming their early morning laps. Now that’s my idea of a lazy Sunday.
Take your pick from the many dining options at The Calile.
Price of a room
Depending on the day of the week, time of the year, and your room type, room prices at The Calile range from $359 to $719 per night. If you want to explore the hotel’s facilities but don’t need to stay overnight, you can choose a day package that includes the use of an Urban Room for eight hours.
Not able to stay overnight? You can choose a day package at the Calile instead.
A fabulous urban retreat for a sun-soaked city break. As they say themselves, this is the best of resort-style living, cherry-picked and planted in James Street.
We rated: The filtered water taps on every floor.
We’d change: Rooms overlooking the pool are a wonderful place to sit and people-watch but can get noisy in the evening.
Notes: Poolside suites start at $329 per night or $354 per night with breakfast included.
Where: The Calile Hotel, 48 James Street, Fortitude Valley
Additional updates written by Jemma Fletcher