Where to Stay in Brisbane: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018
Australia's third largest city and the capital of Queensland sits pretty, just inland from the coast on the Brisbane River, and features a mix of modern and historic buildings dating back to the city's 1820s beginning. Most of Brisbane's noteworthy attractions are found in the CBD, which winds along the river, and this is also where most visitors will want to stay - there are hotels for all budgets in this area. Here, you'll find the South Bank cultural precinct, which is home to the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, known for its interactive exhibits, and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, one of Australia's top contemporary art museums. The neighborhood also hosts galleries, shops, restaurants, and hotels. The CBD also hosts parklands, promenades, and the Queen Street Mall, which is a vibrant pedestrian shopping and lifestyle district. Just northeast of the CBD is Fortitude Valley, a trendy suburb that's home to its own set of restaurants, entertainment venues, and hotels.
Where to Stay for Luxury
Within walking distance of Queen Street Mall and South Bank, the Capri by Fraser, Brisbane is a luxury option that is also excellent value. The property features a sleek and modern design, with plenty of glass, in a high-rise building. Interior decor makes use of indigenous materials, and there is a vertical garden and earthy art in the lobby. Rooms are of the luxe studio and one-bedroom apartment variety, and all feature contemporary furnishings and extras, like Nespresso machines, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and kitchenettes. The on-site restaurant is excellent and helmed by a famous Aussie chef. There's also an indoor pool, sauna, and steam room.
The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites is a little farther out but still just a short walk from the city's top attractions. It wins us over with its extra comfy beds in well-appointed, modern, elegant rooms featuring Nespresso machines and designer toiletries. The service is excellent, as is the restaurant.
The Sofitel Brisbane Central is an elegant luxury choice right downtown by the Central Railway Station. The rooms and suites are well-appointed and modern, done up in neutral colors, and feature beyond comfortable beds as well as a full pillow menu. The spa and outdoor pool are other perks, and there is a restaurant that offers half-board packages.
Another chain hotel, but in a great location right on the Queen Street Mall and excellent value for a luxury property, is the Hilton Brisbane. The hotel features quiet and comfortable rooms, with sweeping city views from the ones on the higher floors. Service is efficient, and booking executive class gives you access to their special lounge. There are also suites. A breakfast buffet is served and there is an on-site restaurant.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
Families or anyone staying in Brisbane for longer than a few days will love Meriton Suites Herschel Street, which is located within walking distance of the Queen Street Mall and other downtown attractions. This good-value property features apartments with full kitchens, laundry rooms, and plenty of storage space. They also have comfy beds; towels are provided, and like hotel rooms, they are serviced daily. There's also a pool and a small gym.
The ibis Brisbane is another good-value option in a central location that is within walking distance from South Bank and the rest of the CBD. Rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable. Try for a higher floor, as these have the best city views.
A little farther out, but still only a 10-minute walk to the CBD, Punthill Brisbane is another best-value choice. Located near Central Station, it offers modern, bright, and spacious studio apartments with private balconies. Beds are comfortable, and the blackout curtains are a plus. The staff is friendly and attentive and there's an on-site restaurant and swimming pool.
The stylish, boutique Watermark Hotel Brisbane is another good-value option. It sits just opposite the green, open space of Roma Street Parkland. The Watermark is about a 10-minute walk to the CBD, and a frequent free shuttle service runs between the hotel and city center. Rooms are spacious, and most offer views of the park or historic Spring Hill. A buffet breakfast is included and there is an outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers. The staff is very accommodating.
Where to Stay on a Budget
For a budget hotel that is within walking distance of the CBD, try the Best Western Plus Gregory Terrace Brisbane. At the high end of the budget bracket, it offers clean and comfortable rooms with city views. There is an on-site restaurant, swimming pool, and free secure parking.
Just a few minutes from downtown by car, and near Fortitude Valley, the Bowen Terrace International in New Farm is a charming budget option if you're looking for a guesthouse vibe. In an old Queenslander home with plenty of character, it offers single rooms, dorm rooms, and family suites with kitchenettes. It also offers free Wi-Fi and has a swimming pool.
Kingsford Riverside Inn is another budget value bet that is located right on the Brisbane River and not far from the airport. It offers a number of different style rooms, the most affordable of which share bathrooms. While basic, rooms are clean, and air-conditioning keeps them cool in summer. Rates include breakfast.
Where to Stay for Romance
In trendy Fortitude Valley, the Emporium Hotel is a romantic boutique pick. It features luxe modern rooms with comfortable beds and all sorts of extras, including a washer/dryer/dishwasher/microwave combo machine, toiletries by Molton Brown in designer bathrooms, a pillow menu, and Bose sound systems. The rooftop pool is another plus.
Spicers Balfour Hotel is a romantic gem, which is luxurious yet comfortable. The boutique hotel features well-appointed, modern rooms with big windows in a quiet neighborhood that's still within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. The property has its own restaurant, and the food is excellent - don't skip the included breakfast. They also do a popular high tea.
For romantic, old-fashioned luxury try the Royal Albert, which features period furnishings in the elegant rooms. The location is excellent; it's right next to the Myer shopping center and a few minutes' walk from South Bank and the Queen Street Mall.