Celeste Mitchell checks into the Inchcolm Hotel V 2.0…
After spending last night feeling the dankness seep through our BYO sheets at a holiday house (with questionable cleaning standards), stepping into the New Inchcolm Hotel feels like sitting at the grown-up table. In the formal dining room.
“New York… in Brissy”
The Art Deco building is on the outskirts of Brisbane’s CBD in Spring Hill – though as I walk through the bar and restaurant into its opulent yet cosy reception, I realise it doesn’t matter where I am geographically. This is New York in Brissy.
The Inchcolm has roots dating back to the 1880s when scientist, astrologer, psychologist and pioneering photographer Dr John Thomson chose the site for his personal residence. The original homestead (named after Inchcolm Island in Scotland) was demolished in the 1920s to make way for the current Art Deco meets Neo-Georgian incarnation.
It got the update it needed
A boutique hotel since 1998, the heritage-listed digs were well loved but clearly in need of a major update. A 12-month refurbishment in 2014 saw it reopen under Accor’s M Gallery portfolio with an increase in room numbers from 26 to 50.
As I’ve booked a base-rate hotel room, I’m delighted to hear the words, “complimentary upgrade” on check-in, meaning it’s straight to a superior suite for tonight.
I’m enamoured with the silky oak-lined elevator – with its beautiful, original features kept amongst a mechanical upgrade and the addition of glass doors. All that’s missing is my elevator operator!
My suite is the type of room I imagine Brigitte Bardot lookalikes lounging around in, wearing silk pyjamas while flicking through Vogue and sipping Antipodes sparkling water. You know, because it’s that much more posh than normal water. Luckily, I find both items within reach. (The smoky eyeliner I’ll have to work on.)
The space is a layer-cake of textiles in shades from black to grey to gold and pewter. A Mad Hatter-esque teacup and teapot lamp-stand captures my eye straight up in the spacious suite, while the king-size bed sits beneath a towering gold pillowed headboard surrounded by textured wallpaper.
The selection of décor and considered book selection surrounding the enormous flat screen makes it feel anything but chain-brand. While opulence and style is clearly the number-one priority, quirky touches in the manner of a sexy welcome note on the (mirrored) shower wall, and cheeky copywriting on the ‘do not disturb’ sign and room key envelopes give a relaxed vibe.
An iPad has replaced the standard hotel compendium – pre-loaded with a bespoke Inchcolm app, city guide, PressReader app (no more print newspapers, darling) and iTunes radio stations – the bathroom products are Appelles Black Label and the mini bar (called a maxibar here) includes local Newstead Brewery beers and New Farm Confectionery sweets.
Eating and sleeping
I contemplate dining in-house at Thomson’s Reserve but there’s not a soul to be seen so I choose to eat out with friends, where there’s a little more atmosphere on the menu.
Sleep is bliss in the pillowy bed but the included continental breakfast leaves me a little flat. I don’t find any serving utensils for the selection of pastries, meats and cheeses, and what I grab thinking is yoghurt is actually a sweet pannacotta. I’m left unsure if there is actually a breakfast menu on offer. Nonetheless, the coffee is decent and made on Merlo Coffee beans (another nod to local business).
While the floor leading to reception is polished, I think it’s safe to say no tile was left unturned in this makeover. Accor’s M Gallery portfolio is branded M for ‘memorable’ and this stay has proved to be just that. Hopefully the quietness I experienced was just Sunday night blues.
The Details: The New Inchcolm, Brisbane
The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites 73 Wickham Tce, Spring Hill, QLD
The verdict: I’ll return for its blend of luxury, comfort and style.
The score: 15/20; great
We rated: The boutique aesthetic and vintage touches, pleasant staff, complimentary wi-fi and Nespresso coffee.
We hated: Spring Hill on a Sunday night and breakfast.
Notes: There’s no pool on- site, but passes to a nearby Fitness First are provided. Try the Spring Hills Baths, built in 1886, if you want a dip ($5.10 entry). We paid $299 for a hotel room with complimentary upgrade to a superior suite.
All AT reviews are conducted anonymously and our writers pay their own way – so we experience exactly what you would.