The Adina Brisbane is close to anywhere you’d want to go in that city: should you skip the plentiful bike, rideshare and public transport options, the cultural precinct and Southbank are a 15-minute walk across Victoria Bridge. Rooms are chic and comfy and frankly it would be wonderful to live here but the main beauty of this hotel is, well, its beauty. It occupies a restored Heritage-listed sandstone building from 1922 that first housed the Queensland Government Savings Bank; its lobby – with original timber panelling and ornate, eight-metre-high ceilings – was once a banking chamber.
About 20 minutes from the airport, the hotel sits inside Brisbane’s CBD on the corner of George and Elizabeth streets. The Myer Centre is diagonally across the road from one side, the Treasury Casino from the other and the Queen Street Mall a four-minute walk away, tops.
There are 220 studio, one-, two- and three-bedrooms here, with the smallest 28-square-metre ones offering a kitchenette and the 140-square-metre three-bedroom penthouse apartment considerably more: two kitchens, two dining/living areas and three bathrooms. Then there are those floor-to-ceiling windows. The modern, homey Premier Three-Bedroom Apartment with Balcony overlooks everything great about this city: Heritage buildings and the Brisbane River below, and beyond to the Gallery of Modern Art, illuminated each night.
Food and drink
Jason Margaritis (formerly head chef at Melbourne’s Spice Temple) leads the kitchen at Donna Chang with vibrant, well-reviewed, inventive Chinese (think roasted half duck with Davidson plum and five-spice). It’s a transporting interior, with the 1920s grandeur of a sweeping staircase and a cold section of birds and pigs in the open kitchen. Downstairs – where the vaults used to be – is the Boom Boom Room cocktail bar, which reopens in April, bringing with it in-room dining. Tucked into a lobby vestibule is Frisky Goat Espresso, offering mueslis, baked goods and excellent Reuben Hills coffee.
For business travellers
Wi-fi is, as it should be, free. There are no conference facilities at this Adina but Donna Chang has three private dining rooms on the mezzanine level and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre is six minutes away by car, 12 on foot.
For wellness travellers
Apart from the immaculately maintained gym – machines are by Technogym – there’s a heated 12-metre pool that begs for backstroke; look up between 12 storeys of stone and brick walls to the open Brisbane sky above. If the outdoors call, it’s a 13-minute walk down George Street to the City Botanical Gardens, where there’s a separate riverside pathway for cyclists.
The fab factor
Some of the bathrooms in the hotel, including the one in room 218, retain a bank vault with its original door; walls are a privacy-guaranteeing 40cm thick.
Best for: Family escape
Number of rooms: 220, including 83 studios, 126 one-bedroom-, 10 two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments
Rates from: $135 per night
Wi-fi: Free. Higher speed upgrade costs $10 per day
Parking: $30 per night on a first-in, first-served basis
Address: 171 George Street, Brisbane
Telephone: +617 3155 1000 (reservations: 138 642)