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Where to Stay in Brisbane: Best Areas & Hotels

Written by Carri Wilbanks
Nov 19, 2019

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, from families to couples, will want to stay. 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, 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.

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Where to Stay in Brisbane for Luxury

Brisbane skyline

Brisbane skyline

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.

Set in a 1920s building in Brisbane's CBD, Ovolo Inchcolm is a luxury boutique hotel with interior design that pays homage to the Art Deco era. The look is eclectic, sophisticated, and meant to feel like the inside of Gertrude Stein's Parisian Salon a century ago. The rooms and suites have a vintage-meets-contemporary rock 'n roll vibe, with modern art on the walls and lots of color pops. Amenities include free breakfast at the on-site restaurant and a workout room.

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 in Brisbane for the Best Value

Artificial beach in South Bank neighborhood

Artificial beach in the South Bank neighborhood

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 Park Hotel Brisbane is a good-value stylish boutique hotel. It sits just opposite the green, open space of Roma Street Parkland. The Park Hotel is about a 10-minute walk to the CBD. Rooms are spacious, and most offer views of the park or historic Spring Hill. A buffet breakfast is included with certain rates, and there is an outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers. The staff is very accommodating.

Where to Stay in Brisbane on a Budget

Brisbane CBD

Brisbane CBD

For a budget hotel within walking distance of the CBD, try the Best Western 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, near Fortitude Valley, the Bowen Terrace Accommodation 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 in Brisbane for Romance

Arched walkway in spring through South Bank

Arched walkway in spring through South Bank

In trendy Fortitude Valley, Ovolo The Valley is a romantic boutique pick with an art- and music-focused vibe. It features an open-floor plan and design-forward rooms that are elegant and comfortable. Expect modern art on the walls and plenty of color and texture. Amenities include a rooftop swimming pool and a restaurant with an on-site barista who does excellent coffee.

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 Hotel, 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.

Where to Stay in Brisbane for Families

The Wheel of Brisbane at sunset

Alcyone Hotel Residences is a great family choice on the Brisbane River and next to the Portside Wharf, where cruise ships dock and restaurants abound. It offers apartment-style lodging in an ultra modern building with a digital art display on its exterior. The one- and two-bedroom apartments are bright and airy, thanks to many windows, and come with fully equipped kitchens with stainless steel appliances. Decor is contemporary, and many come with views of the city and the Brisbane River. Amenities include a lovely outdoor swimming pool with plenty of sun-loungers, as well as a gym and a concierge to help with activities and dinner reservations. There is no on-site restaurant, but room service is available.

Also right near the river, The Point Brisbane Hotel is another great family hotel a short drive from the CBD in the Kangaroo Point neighborhood. It features mid-range rooms and suites, many with Brisbane River views, that are clean and comfortable. Families will appreciate the variety of room layouts, including junior and full-sized suites with separate living areas, convenient for parents who want to stay up watching TV after the kids go to sleep. Public spaces here are elegant, with marble accents and fresh flowers. On-site amenities include a heated swimming pool fringed by palm trees and surrounded by sun-loungers, as well as an excellent Australian restaurant.

Families can also try the Art Series - The Johnson on the edge of Brisbane's CBD in the Spring Hill neighborhood for a luxury, boutique sleep. The hotel is appealing because it offers all suites lodging, and these come in a number of floor plans - larger families will like the two-bedroom deluxe suites with indoor and outdoor places to play. Regardless of what style room you choose, expect ultra contemporary decor, top tech amenities, and lots of modern art. They also come with kitchenettes and high-end coffee machines.

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