Making the most of its riverside location with a chic infinity pool and rooftop cocktails, Emporium Hotel South Bank easily embodies Brisbane’s vibrant energy and sunny optimism. Read on for the full review.
This hot little hotel pulses with life in all the right places. From the wall of devil’s ivy spilling over chalk-white orchids behind the check-in desk to the neon animations in the lift and the palpable buzz of the rooftop bar, there’s a constant sense that you’re in amongst it all — in the best way possible. Rooms balance this out with just the right amount of respite, however, thanks to neutral colour palette, a pillow menu and Molton Brown bathroom goodies. It’s a case of choosing your own adventure: this property has everything for both downtime or dancing depending on your mood.
Where is The Emporium Hotel South Bank?
Adjacent to South Bank train station, which takes you to Brisbane Airport in about half an hour, or 20 minutes by car. The hotel is across the Brisbane River from the CBD, which is a 20-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride.
What’s near The Emporium Hotel South Bank?
Culture seekers will appreciate the quick 15-minute stroll to the fabulous Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), with its impressive roster of exhibitions, plus the Queensland Centre of Performing Arts and Queensland Museum next door. Also close by is South Bank Parklands and Streets Beach, a gorgeous urban lagoon with river view and a treat for lazing around on hot afternoons.
All 143 suites have the same subtle, luxurious touches that elevate this hotel into a high tier of tropically tinged glamour: Bose audio systems, a king Sealy Dynasty bed, an invisible TV hidden in a gilt mirror frame, bronze wet bars and blackout curtains that glide open as you walk through the door. All Vista suites, which peer out to Mount Coot-Tha and the surrounding hinterland, make the most of the riverside location with floor-to-ceiling windows. If you want to pretend you’re higher up in Queensland’s tropics, book a Poolside Cabana, which opens out metres from the infinity pool.
Restaurants and bars
Start in the lobby’s lively Piano Bar and work your way up. Live jazz beckons you into this beautiful 1920s-style speakeasy, where the perennial theme is cocktail glamour. Opting for a cocktail is a no-brainer but you’ll need a fair bit of time to make your way through the list; it covers the classics as well as a handful of rich in-house creations. (The One Night in Bangkok is a tropical, tongue-tingling dream with green chilli-infused vodka with a basil and coconut finish.) Above it is Signature Restaurant, a fine-dining experience which showcases the best of Queensland produce — Longreach organic lamb, Brisbane Valley Quail — as you perch on plush salmon and russett-coloured velvet chairs with brass finishings.
On level 21 is The Terrace, a Palm Springs-style bright, white diner with near bird’s-eye Brissie views and an Asian fusion menu. It’s clearly the place to be: on weekends, 20-somethings queue out the door, cloying for entry.
Travel for work
All rooms have a chic leather office chair and lamp at the end of the mahogany console, as well as fast and free wi-fi.
Spa and gym
The infinity pool offers what must be one of the best pool views in Brisbane, looking directly out onto the river with the city beyond. Add table service and sun loungers (plus three cabanas), visiting native birds flitting around the palm trees, a small sauna and spa and it’s very easy to kill a day here. The gym is well equipped with the checklist machines and also boasts the same incredible views. Level 21 also hosts The Healing Stone, a Japanese-themed day spa offering massages and a ganbanyoku, a hot stone sauna.
What you need to know
The bar heats up in the afternoon: if you’re keen for sundowner, the pool offers a generous menu of snacks and cocktails with its own waiter. The pool is only accessible to guests (you’ll know you’re there when you hear the excellent chillhouse soundtrack).
Best for: Pleasure seekers
Design: Tropical luxe
Number of rooms: 143 suites
Rates: From $331.55
Wi-fi: Free or $19.95 per day for a premium option
Parking: Casual valet parking is $45 per day.
Address: 267 Grey Street, South Brisbane, Queensland
Telephone: +61 07 3556 3333
Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 when you book your next stay at qantas.com/hotels