Elegant, exciting and enigmatic. The oversized stylised ‘E’ adorning the front of the Emporium Hotel South Bank gives a tantalising hint of what lies within.
Sweep into the porte-cochère in a chauffeur-driven Maserati Levante, courtesy of your penthouse suite booking, and the scene is already set for an unforgettable stay in Brisbane’s most enchanting hotel.
Whisked discretely into a private elevator, you’re soon ensconced in the expansive Parklands Suite, overlooking the wide sweep of the Brisbane River, the city skyline and the verdant riverfront gardens of South Bank Parklands. You’ll be drawn to the terrace, with its 270-degree views, the private infinity pool off to the side.
Explore the 786 square metres of your penthouse, with room for family and friends. The suite has two lounge rooms – one with a 1.5-metre gas fireplace, perfect for crisp winter evenings – three dining spaces, two kitchens, a small study, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a powder room for guests.
A baby grand piano perches in a corner, and well-chosen works by Australian artists adorn the walls. Everything here is about space, and the luxury touches keep coming, from fresh flowers to the bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac in your private bar.
A generous en suite off the master bedroom has double rain-showers and sinks but the lure is a wonderful freestanding bathtub positioned to overlook the river and a 15-metre private infinity pool, linked to the bathroom by a connecting terrace. Slip on your robe and slippers, grab a towel and immerse yourself in the water and the views. Forgotten your pyjamas? No problem, they’ve thought of everything here (and you’ll love the frangipani design).
Your personal Emporium “ambassador” (or if you prefer, butler) is on hand to ensure you have everything you need, from Champagne to restaurant bookings or whatever you may have forgotten to bring with you.
Elsewhere in the hotel, four dining choices await. Eclairs, delectable little cakes, quiches and tasty sandwiches arrive on tiers for high tea at Belle Époque, the hotel’s French-style patisserie, intimate and lush with hanging ferns, smoked mirrors and a Champagne bar.
Cocktails are best enjoyed at The Terrace, a hub of style with the best views in town (equal to those of the Parkland Suite). A ‘green wall’, glass roof and signature frangipani motifs make the rooftop terrace the place to be for sunset drinks with stunning city views. It is not a bad breakfast and snack spot either.
For pre-dinner drinks, or a nightcap, the Piano Bar is full of 1920s-style glamour and oozes sophistication. On weekends, groove to the sounds of smooth jazz while your mixologist prepares your favourite cocktail or introduces you to something new.
Fine dining is offered at the hatted Signature restaurant, where executive chef Chris Norman oversees a seasonally changing menu. Take a seat under a chandelier of glass ‘Champagne bubbles’ and select from an extensive wine list while admiring the 6000-bottle collection on display; the collection has been curated by Emporium’s owner Anthony John over the past 20 years or so.
If the Parklands Suite is beyond your budget, rest assured another 143 rooms and suites over 21 levels offer similarly memorable experiences, with all that the Emporium has to offer open to all guests. Your door opens to a larger-than-usual guest room, electronic blinds opening on arrive to reveal the view.
Inside, surprises await. An over-sized gilt-framed mirror turns out to also be the television, a mirrored feature wall expands the visual, and the wine fridge is well-stocked. Bathrooms have double marble vanities and double shower heads and a ‘magic’ glass wall gives privacy from the bedroom at the touch of a button.
For those who come to unwind, the lure of the Japanese day spa is strong. The Healing Stone, on the penthouse level near the pool deck and The Terrace, also offers surprises. The ganbanyoku chamber, where the floor is lava rock overlaid with pink Himalayan rock salt, complements a relaxing massage. Similar to a sauna, the treatment room is infused with negative ions to detoxify and reduce stiffness. And there’s also another sauna, steam room and gym.
Otherwise, take a self-guided walk around South Bank or see if a yoga or pilates session can be organised. Here, location is everything: you are right in the heart of the South Bank leisure and arts precinct, with the Queensland Cultural Centre’s theatres, galleries and museums just down the street.
Book a Taste of Emporium package to immerse yourself in the Emporium experience. Stay in a River City King Suite, with breakfast for two, and enjoy a progressive dinner that takes you both from sunset cocktails at the Emporium Terrace to Signature restaurant for a three-course dinner and ends with dessert and a nightcap in the Piano Bar. Valet parking is included. The package is priced from $349.50 per person twin share and is available from Wednesday to Saturday.
The Parklands Suite is available from $8,500 per night.