The Royal Hawaiian hotel in Honolulu is often referred to as The Pink Palace, but the moniker could easily be applied to The Calile in Brisbane. Although, in the latter’s case, the pink in question is nowhere as brash. The Calile’s pink is pale, like the palest of rosés, and you’ll see it everywhere – on the walls of the guestrooms that have a distinct Palm Springs feel; on the marble tables in the Lobby Bar, which offers excellent breakfast and front-row seats to Fortitude Valley people-watching; on the drapes at the poolside Hellenika restaurant, which serves up sensational Greek fare; and on the uniforms at the onsite spa. It’s the sort of pink that grows on you while you’re at the hotel and stays with you after you check out.
The Calile is located in the heart of one of Brisbane’s most happening neighbourhoods, Fortitude Valley. The posh boutiques of James Street are at the hotel’s doorstep, the CBD is about a 15-minute drive away, while the airport is about 25 minutes away.
Local firm Richards and Spence has designed a hotel that tends to take you to a different place (Palm Springs) and a different time (mid 20th century), yet seems to fit perfectly in the heart of contemporary Brisbane. Rooms with arched hallways, travertine floors, cork-panelled bedheads and liberal strokes of blush create an otherworldly lair, while ensuites with pink-marble benchtops and brass taps add to the appeal. The only reminder you’re still in Brisbane is the party unfolding at the poolside Hellenika below. Ask for a higher-level room as far from the restaurant as possible if you’re a light sleeper.
Food and drinks
Spanakopita and Greek salad are not the sort of everyday staples you order when dining out at a renowned Greek eatery. But at Hellenika you must. The Gold Coast icon’s Brisbane outpost does incredible things with complex dishes like eggplant moussaka and wagyu beef pastitso, but it’s the deft touch that it gives to simple salads and filos that truly speak of its genius.
For business travellers
The hotel offers a spate of small and large spaces for indoor meetings or corporate events outdoors by the pool.
For wellness travellers
There’s a bright, airy, spacious gym, but it’s the onsite Kailo Wellness Medispa where you want to spend some quality time. Enjoy a facial developed specifically for your skin, or sign up for a calming, relaxing body ritual. The sugar exfoliation featuring a rub made of shiraz grapes, strawberry, vanilla, blackcurrent and grapefruit is the pick of the bunch.
The fab factor
It is not the longest in Australia, nor the swankiest, but the Calile’s swimming pool is definitely one of the most photogenic, particularly when seen from the balcony of your guestroom. Must be those pistachio-and-white parasols.
Image credit: Sean Fennessy
Best for: Romantic couples, party set and design-savvy travellers
Number of rooms: 175 rooms; 9 suites
From: $259 per night
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Parking: Self-parking is $25 per night; valet parking is $45 per night
Address: 48 James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
Telephone: +61 7 3607 5888