Queensland’s biggest city, Brisbane, is often overlooked in favour of the endless stretches of beaches offered by nearby Gold Coast. Yet, the city that flanks its namesake river has seen a buzzy revival in the past decade, with boutique coffee shops to rival Melbourne and shopping to contend with Sydney’s Pitt Street. Not sure where to stay in Brisbane? We’ve detailed the best places to book into in this curated list.
W Hotels are known for their maximalist approach to decor, something that is wildly apparent at W Brisbane. When it opened in 2018, it was billed as the first five-star hotel to open in Brisbane for 20 years – luckily it’s lived up to the hype. Perfectly placed next to Brisbane River, the hotel takes its cue from Queensland culture. Expect timber reeds, outback-style corrugated-iron bathtubs and in-room retro cocktail bars.
Sitting pretty beneath Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge, The Fantauzzo is a hotel you can definitely judge by its facade. Inspired by Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo – it’s part of the Art Series Hotel collection – you’ll find hundreds of Fantauzzo’s original pieces and giclée prints line the walls. When you’re not lounging on your in-room emerald velvet sofa, make a beeline to the rooftop pool for glorious views of the river.
If Glossier and Aesop had a hotel baby, we think this would be the result. Think rose-coloured marble counters, towering concrete columns, blond timber flooring – and that’s just the hotel bar. Rooms are deliciously minimalist, arches and half-moon shapes add a soft feel, and it’s worth opting for one of the rooms with a luxe round tub if you can.
When the sandstone building that houses Treasury Brisbane was built in 1886, it was dubbed ‘the most splendid public edifice in the Australian colony’. It was refurbished into a hotel back in 1995 but kept many of its heritage features. Today, rooms boast lovely modern touches, like marble bathrooms, high ceilings and ornate decor. Next door its sister property, the Treasury Casino, houses the hotel’s multiple restaurants, bars and even a nightclub, so you won’t have to go far to enjoy a lavish evening or two.
One of Brisbane’s first design hotels, Limes is known for its buzzing al fresco rooftop bar. When there’s no revellers above, nursing tipples into the wee hours, there’s complimentary health and fitness classes taking place. Rooms are snug but large enough to fit king-sized beds and three of the rooms come with private gardens, complete with a comfy hammock.
Another member of Art Series Hotels, the Johnson is inspired by Australian artist Michael Johnson, with over 400 of his vibrant works lining the walls. The 96 apartment-style rooms are muted with pops of colour – courtesy of the art – and many have balconies overlooking Brisbane’s skyline. Hire one of the blue vintage Lekker bikes from the lobby to explore the surrounding area.
Wedged between art galleries, cafes and live music venues in Fortitude Valley, Ovolo is a delightful recent addition to the city hotel scene and a great place to stay in Brisbane. The unassuming facade makes way for a fun, eclectic vibe – you’ll be greeted by fuchsia-hued velvet sofas, plenty of greenery and custom wallpaper. Rooms continue the spirited palette, but it’s the rooftop pool, free minibar and complimentary sundowners that we love the most.
Planted window boxes scale up the side of Sage Hotel, adding a touch of greenery to every room. This design hotel is big on local, everything from its fabrics to staff uniforms and photography are sourced from the immediate area, plus minibars are stocked with ales from nearby Newstead Brewing Co. Rooms are inspired by inky hues – a contrast to the stark white bathrooms – and there’s a complimentary car service for those who don’t feel like walking into the city centre.
Tucked away in the exclusive Kangaroo Point area, the Point Brisbane boasts glimpses of the Brisbane River, Story Bridge and the city’s skyline from its 202 rooms. The palm-fringed pool is perfect for sticky Australian summers, while the in-house Lamberts Restaurant has a farm-to-table ethos. Kangaroo loin and Mooloolaba-caught local swordfish are menu highlights, followed by its signature Nutella martini, of course.
A Fortitude Valley stalwart, right next to Chinatown, Amelia Hotel is Brisbane boutique on a budget. Each room is individually designed – many with vibrant ceiling artworks – but provide all the comforts you need. Ask the friendly staff about arranging activities during your stay, whether you fancy visiting the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or want to check out the Mt Coot-tha Lookout.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.