If there was ever a sign that the city of Brisbane is all grown up, the opening of The Calile Hotel was it. Sydney might have its photogenic harbour and Melbourne its edgy laneway bars, but there's no other capital down under where you'll find a glamorous, poolside resort in the heart of the metropolis, just a stone's throw away from the best shopping, dining and nightlife. With its pose-worthy pool, Instagrammable interiors and enviable location, the hotel all but threw down a challenge to every other CBD hotel in Australia: just try to be cooler than us, we dare you.
Taking in the brutalist, concrete exterior from the street, you'd never guess that inside is all 50s-inspired pastel hues, sleek marble and, in the lobby, a tinkle of laughter and clinking glasses from the nearby bar. The ground floor of the seven-storey building is almost entirely given over to designer boutiques - many of which are local pop-ups - so it's unsurprising that the hotel is as much a social rendezvous for the well-heeled of the surrounding suburbs as it is a luxe spot to bed down for the night.
There just isn't a word to describe the design of these pastel-pink and pistachio-green suites. They're a buffet of textures: cork panels, exposed-concrete ceilings and, in the bathrooms, sky-blue tiles accented by brass. Throw in marble tabletops, chunky jute rugs and arched doorways and you've got a place that looks as if it belongs in an architectural magazine.
All rooms nail the Instagram-worthy aesthetic, but some will have you swooning more than others. Plan on spending some time in your suite? Opt for one with a balcony that has a bird's-eye view of the pool below. For those keen to splurge, the Junior and Deluxe suites feature round, freestanding bathtubs for long soaks with a glass of rosé in hand. The Ada and Calile suites are the true MVPs though - so exclusive you need to contact the hotel team to book. Both come with a private rooftop terrace and separate living and dining area.
Bathroom supplies are all from Grown Alchemist, a cult-followed Melbourne beauty brand, while the mini bar is full of locally sourced goodies. Custom linen robes are just what you need for the balmy Queensland summers. Just flick down those motorised blackout blinds when it's time for some shut-eye.
What's for breakfast?
That Lobby Bar that we mentioned earlier isn't just for pre-dinner cocktails. It's also a sleek breakfast spot where you can subtly people-watch business types cramming in their early meetings while you linger over spicy shakshuka or cheesy croque monsieur. If you want to get the resort vibes going early, you can also head to Hellenika, the poolside Greek restaurant just upstairs where options include breakfast spanakopita and fancy sardines on toast.
How about lunch and dinner?
That Greek spot by the pool? It happens to be one of Brisbane's top restaurants, so you should definitely book in for a long lunch during your stay. Better yet, nab yourself one of the pastel-green cabanas and take advantage of its poolside menu of cocktails and snacks. Don't lock yourself into dining at Hellenika for your entire stay though. Just outside along James Street (and within a two-minute Uber trip of the hotel) are the rest of the city's top 10 eateries. Hit Same Same next door for flavoursome Thai, Gerard's Bistro for Middle Eastern feasts, Hôntô in Fortitude Valley for inventive Japanese or Howard Smith Wharves for dinner with a view.
Is there a bar?
As much a meeting point for the well-heeled as it is a spot for a holiday sip, the Lobby Bar is is all pink marble with chrome accents, and has an equally glam cocktail menu. Stay late and order snacks from the short-but-sweet dining menu if you get peckish.
Down on level one you'll find Kailo Wellness Medispa. Not just a relaxing oasis for massages, facials and full body wraps, it's one to book for a jet-lag (or hangover) banishing vitamin-therapy treatment, intensive skin treatments (like the signature vampire facial) and medical skin-needling. Even cosmetic procedures from its qualified doctors. If your preferred method of body beautifying involves sweating it out, there's also a fully equipped gym with personal trainers on hand to put you through your paces.
What about its green credentials?
Rather than try to force Queensland's humidity into submission by turning up the air conditioning, the designers of The Calile decided to let Brisbane's river breezes do it for them. Open corridors link all the suites while, inside, room sensors detect when they're not occupied, turning the air conditioning and lights to sleep mode and closing the black out blinds to eliminate energy waste. The cork used in the rooms isn't just for aesthetic value either. Because it's made from bark and doesn't require the felling of the trees, cork is one of the most sustainable building products around - far more eco-friendly than carpet. Finally, every level of the hotel has a filtered water fountain to refill both the glass water bottles in the room and guests' water bottles. No awkwardly trying to fit your metal bottle under the bathroom tap here.
Within a short walk I can find…
Just outside, James Street is Brisbane's designer playground, a leafy strip of boutiques, bars, cafés, bakeries, restaurants and even a cinema, so you'll have no trouble keeping yourself entertained. Further afield, Fortitude Valley is the city's buzzing nightlife zone, with every kind of bar and club imaginable (and even a few you can't; a Kill Bill-inspired cocktail bar is the latest addition to the area). Be sure to venture down every laneway and up to every rooftop bar.