When people think of Brisbane, it may conjure up the image of a beachside city where inhabitants roam the streets in thongs and togs (flip flops and swimwear to you and me). Too few realise that this city is just as hip as Sydney and far sunnier than Melbourne.

The capital of Queensland, Brisbane lies in east Australia, about an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast or a one-and-a-half-hour flight from Sydney. Over the past few years a new wave of passionate restaurateurs, creatives and fashion designers have bucked against the belief that success is only found in the bigger Australian cities, injecting a much needed dose of cool into affectionately known ‘Brissie’. Today, the city is home to seriously enviable rooftop bars, great coffee, sun-kissed and sartorially savvy people, as well as perhaps the world’s most famous doughnuts. SUITCASE has rounded up what’s hot and happening in this lesser-explored city down under.

TO STAY

The Fantauzzo

With riverside bars and restaurants and great city views, Howard Smith Wharves is the place to be in Brisbane, which makes The Fantauzzo – located mere steps away – the best hotel from which to enjoy it. This boutique Art Series hotel is decked out with original artwork, a heated rooftop pool and cocktail bar overlooking that aforementioned view. Borrow one of its bikes or scooters to explore the river before heading to the hotel’s laid-back Italian restaurant, Polpetta.

  • +61 7 3515 0700
  • Go to Website
  • 5 Boundary Street
    Brisbane City
    QLD 4000

Ovolo Inchcolm

Situated in a heritage building that’s been given an eclectic but sophisticated makeover, Ovolo Inchcolm charms with its vintage pizzazz, from its art-deco exteriors to the original 20s (and still functioning) cage lift inside. Individually designed rooms are warm and cosy, while the bar downstairs has been imagined as a Parisian salon and looks like somewhere you would expect to find Hemingway lounging with a drink.

  • +61 7 3226 8888
  • Go to Website
  • 73 Wickham Terrace
    Spring Hill
    QLD 4000

Spicers Balfour

At this inner city retreat, the luxurious rooms are just the beginning. With an award-winning restaurant on the premises as well as a rooftop bar from which you can see Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge, you can just about never leave the hotel. If you do opt to explore the surrounds though, you’ll find yourself in one of the city’s leafiest suburbs, just a short walk away from endless cafes, bars, boutique shopping streets and stunning New Farm Park, the best picnic spot in town.

The Calile Hotel

You’ll find this subtropical retreat on James Street, Brisbane’s mecca for drinking, dining and designer shopping. Dripping in pastel-hued cool, The Calile blends brutalist architecture with dreamy interiors and a stunning rooftop pool. With a luxurious spa, boutique gym, lobby bar and on-site Greek restaurant Hellenika, The Calile puts everything you could possibly need during your stay right at your fingertips.

  • +61 7 3607 5888
  • Go to Website
  • 48 James Street
    Fortitude Valley
    QLD 4006

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