Brisbane has become the fastest growing city in Australia with sunshine that never says die and an ever-evolving urban scene which leaves out the deconstructed cold drip coffee of its snobbier cousins. It’s a place everyone should visit at some point in their life, whether it be Australians making a domestic getaway or international visitors jetting in to discover everything the Gold Coast has to offer.
Don’t expect just beaches, however, as Brisbane is home to a number of menswear shops, sneaker stores, cool bars and restaurants, making it an ideal place to go to just for a weekend if it’s all that time allows. It’s no surprise the area continues to drive Queensland’s profile up the ranks of liveability.
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious getaway in Cabarita Beach or a fashionable suburban oasis, here are the coolest hotels in Brisbane to get your thongs on for. Expect decadent poolside bars and lounges, impressive restaurant dining and rooms and suites that are to die for. The rooms, by the way, will tend to reflect Brisbane’s unique design aesthetic, something you can replicate in your own home by visiting any of the city’s coolest furniture stores.
Alternatively, for those who prefer their vacations self-catered, you’ll want to check out this list of the coolest Airbnb stays in the city and surrounding areas.
The Calile Hotel
The Calile Hotel is worthy of a visit for the architecture alone. Designed by local architects Richards & Spence, the hotel has been created to offer guests a resort-style stay but in a wholly urban setting. You’ll see this mantra reflected through the colour scheme, which is unmistakably tropical, using pastel hues of pink and green.
The Calile is simply cool and is somewhere you won’t regret booking into. It’s not a small boutique hotel, as there are 175 rooms to stay in, although each is generous in size and amenities. Most offer an individual balcony or terrace and all feature Chromecast, Bluetooth soundbar, automated blackout blinds, Grown Alchemist bathroom amenities, a locally curated mini-bar, 55 inch UHD television and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Address: 48 James Street, Fortitude Valley, 4006
Spicers Balfour Hotel
Spicers Balfour Hotel is an urban oasis for travellers who want the city feel without all the hustle. Located in the affluent suburb of New Farm, this 110-year-old traditional Australian building brings quaint and luxury together under one roof.
Each room sports a sleek, contemporary fit-out with eclectic vintage furnishings and high-end amenities. Spend your weekend getaway in the spacious 1940’s art deco style Balfour Suites with a private sun-soaked lounge before heading to The Balfour Kitchen for local tastes and an awesome brunch which attracts hungry natives.
For the adventurous at heart, head out for a night on the town before heading back to base to enjoy a nightcap on the 24-hour rooftop bar.
Address: 37 Balfour Street, New Farm, 4005
Art mavens and highbrow modernists call The Johnson home when staying in Brisbane. Australian born abstract painter Michael Johnson lead the interior design for this boutique hotel. From the lobby to the open planned suites, his works showcase the sensual beauty of unconventional realities.
Vibrant colours, altered aquatic landscapes, and symmetrical geometry offer an inspiring atmosphere for the artist within. This cool hotel in Brisbane sports a 50-metre pool designed by Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Klim which offers captivating views of the surrounding city. Hole up for Happy Hour in the chic Tumbling Stone Restaurant & Bar or just spend your days lounging in Brisbane’s beautiful weather with a refreshing cocktail in hand.
Address: 447 Boundary Street, Spring Hill, 4000
Located in the laid back coastal town of Cabarita – so ok, technically not Brisbane, but just over the border into NSW – the Halcyon House offers a peaceful getaway for city dwellers. Australian-born Anna Spiro took creative lead on this newly renovated surfers motel, revamping it into a whimsical, world-class stay. Each room captures the essence of a quintessential summer’s day with curated national artefacts and English fabric-upholstered walls.
Foodies can dine at the Paper Daisy for unparalleled local cuisine or relax on the suite balcony for a bout of sneaky sunset cocktails. Rugged gentlemen of the outdoor persuasion can also choose to explore the pristine coastal beauty of NSW’s little pocket of paradise. A precursor though – leaving the comfort of this humble home ends up being quite difficult.
Address: 21 Cypress Crescent, Cabarita Beach, 2488
QT Gold Coast
Back over the border from Halycon House brings you to QT, a hotel that offers a quirky and cool stay for those heading to the lively city of the Gold Coast. Cheery staff in vintage threads welcome guests as they enter the premise which also happens to tie in very well with the themed contemporary rooms. A classic fun-in-the-sun feel with a twist of industrial modernism designed by Nic Graham and Melbourne’s Spacecraft best describes the atmosphere.
The hotel even offers unique self-service dining at the Bazaar marketplace with endless options of worldwide cuisine, an organic cafe and local Japanese favourite, Teppanyaki Grill Yamagen. Once the belly is content, unwind at spaQ which is fancy speak for a designer spa or kick back with a cocktail at the tropical poolside refuge.
Address: 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 4217
Dive into the urban grind of Brisbane at Tryp in Fortitude Valley. It’s a creatively restored historical building in Brisbane’s CBD that lays claim to being the only street art hotel in the city. The original building was home to an international secret society known as the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, but nowadays it ditches the cult vibes and plays host to curious travellers seeking a truly unique stay.
Think heritage furnishings which contrast ultra-modern fit-outs while works of world-renowned artists like Fintan Magee and Numskull adorn the room’s edgy designs. Punters can also choose from a collection of themed King rooms offering private balconies, internal spas and secluded courtyards when booking at this cool Brisbane hotel.
Address: 14-20 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley, 4006
In the middle of Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall lies the popular NEXT Hotel. From its key CBD location to a thoughtful ‘Transit Zone’, this cool hotel is ideal for the modern businessman with little time. Minimalist travellers will also enjoy the simplicity of the hotel’s crash pad rooms designed for quick overnight stays.
The hotel features ‘More’ rooms that provide ample space and a bathroom fit for families, while all rooms enjoy a metropolitan fit-out with cool, neutral palettes. Honour the Queenslander’s legacy of Lennons Hotel by dining at the renowned Lennons Restaurant, a popular foodie spot known for its elegant atmosphere, edgy gastronomic ventures and the best fishtails in Brisbane.
Address: 72 Queen Street, Brisbane, 4000
The Hilton Brisbane sports a fashionable stay for business travellers, leisurely visitors and families alike. A simple trip down the glass lift connects you to the Queen Street Mall where good shopping, people watching and casual dining makes for an excellent way to kill time.
The spacious modern suites feature generous work areas and seriously comfortable beds accompanied by panoramic city views. Those in a celebratory mood can grab a beer and some canapés at the exclusive Executive Lounge on the 25th floor by night or enjoy a cocktail and innovative Australian plates at the Chef’s Hat awarded Vintaged Restaurant Bar & Grill.
Address: 190 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, 4000
Known as Queensland’s first luxury boutique hotel, Emporium Hotel provides an upscale stay in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. You’re welcomed by a flashy red foyer and a valiant copper and cast iron check-in desk, alongside an exotic atmosphere which expands into a hip cocktail bar where locals and guests can intermingle.
For the nostalgics, Emporium’s rooms offer a refined mix of new age and old Hollywood where frangipani patterns contrast striped walls and striking upholstered fabrics don’t go unnoticed. Staying at Emporium will surely have you question your own home’s interior design. Suites are equipped with oversized marble bathrooms and Queensland high-rise balconies for a relaxing stay in this boutique hotel.
Address: 07 3556 3333
Gambaro Hotel Brisbane
Located off the lively Caxton Street, Gambaro Hotel boasts a central location to Suncorp Stadium which makes this cool hotel in Brisbane an optimal spot for conferences and events. Famous hotel designer Hirsch Bedner deployed nine different room types into the Gambaro Hotel, encompassing single rooms with views of the Gambaro’s elaborate, fish-inspired atrium to luxurious multi-room suites.
The calming, warm tones of each bespoke room will make any luxury traveller feel right at home. Should you book at the Gambaro, don’t miss the award-winning Gambaro Seafood Restaurant for Hervey Bay scallops, signature mud crab and Moreton Bay Bugs.
Address: 33 Caxton Street, Petrie Terrace, 4000
Formerly owned by MGallery but since being acquired by the hotel wizards that are Ovolo, the Inchcolm has brushed off its 1920s Gatsby-style interior décor to be pulled into the modern day. While the building itself still reaints its heritage look and feel, inside it’s a completely different story.
There are 50 rooms on offer in this boutique hotel, and only seven are classed as standard rooms, as the rest are luxurious suites. All are individual, however, not only in shape and size, but by decoration too. What they do share is an in-room iPad coupled with Apple TV, high-quality furnisghins and best of all, a free minibar. But if the in-room drinks don’t tickle your fancy, you can pay a visit to the Salon de Co bar where you can savour a cocktail or two along with a charcuterie board to be shared with friends.
Address: 73 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill, 4000