Brisbane is a city that offers a unique combination of tropical weather and effortless cool as you enjoy the sizzling sun and the refined yet sophisticated charm of this laid-back Aussie metropolis.
This is the Queensland capital, Australia’s third-largest city, and a destination that’s consistently ranked among the best and most livable cities in the world. Find out what all the fuss is about as you stroll along the Brisbane River, dine out at award-winning restaurants, or take in the city’s buzzing nightlife.
There’s a lot to do in Brisbane, but it’s the diversity that will really draw you in. You’ll love how you can explore cultured museums and galleries in the morning, delving into Queensland’s history before perusing modern works of art. Then, in the afternoon, you can sit out on the South Bank with a cold schooner of beer or lounge around the public lagoon (yes, Brisbane has a free, open-air swimming pool) to escape the humidity.
Better yet, book a place to stay at one of the best 5-star hotels in Brisbane, and you’ll have your own private swimming pool (rooftop, if you book the best boutique hotels!) where you can order refreshing cocktails and platters of fresh fruit while you laze away the day in the glorious Australian sunshine. If you’re planning a trip to Queensland, then keep reading as we explain where to stay in Brisbane.
Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 12 Best Luxury Hotels in Brisbane
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Where to stay in Brisbane
As Queensland’s capital and largest city, you might be surprised to find that Brisbane is surprisingly compact and easy to traverse. Then again, it is one of the most livable cities in the world!
Brisbane is built on the banks of the Brisbane River (creative naming, we know), with the Central Business District (CBD) being found on a bend on the north bank of the river next to Gardens Point. The CBD is the center of Brisbane, where you’ll find the city’s oldest buildings and most historic hotels. It’s also home to many of the best and most well-established 5-star hotels in Brisbane, making this the perfect place for first-time visitors.
But the CBD is far from your only choice. Across the Brisbane River, you’ll find South Bank, home to riverside boutique hotels with rooftop swimming pools and fine dining restaurants. Over in Fortitude Valley – the trendiest part of Brisbane – you’ll escape the bustle of the CBD while enjoying the refreshing comforts and luxuries of quirky boutique hotels and gourmet eateries.
To help you choose the best 5-star hotel or luxury boutique retreat for your Queensland getaway, here’s our pick of the best places to stay in Brisbane!
The 12 Best Hotels in Brisbane
From the rooftop terrace of the Emporium Hotel South Bank, you’ll not only have sweeping views over the Brisbane River and across the water to Gardens Point and the CBD, but you’ll feel like you’ve really made it in the world!
The Emporium Hotel South Bank was the first 5-star hotel to grace the shores of South Bank, and the luxury favorite has since become somewhat of an icon on the skyline of Brisbane and in high-end social circles.
The moment you walk through the glass-paneled lobby of the Emporium Hotel South Bank, you’ll feel the luxury around you. The 143 luxurious suites have been meticulously designed and boast high-tech features, including Bose sound systems and 55-inch mirror-finished TVs.
Sealy Dynasty Beds and an Exquisite Sleeps Pillow Menu ensure an uninterrupted night of sleep, while bathrooms feature marbled flooring and luxury Molton Brown toiletries. Upgrade to a Premier Suite, and you’ll not only have more space and comfort, but you can take advantage of complimentary Maserati transfers around Brisbane!
The gym, on level 21 of the hotel, offers supreme views of Brisbane as you work out, while the sauna and steam rooms provide relaxed surroundings after a day of sightseeing. Nothing can quite beat the infinity pool, which awaits you on the rooftop of the Emporium Hotel South Bank.
High up on the rooftop, you’ll also find The Terrace, a bar and restaurant where Brisbane’s socialites love to wine and dine. Downstairs, you can enjoy patisseries at Belle Epoque, fine dining at Signature, and martinis and live jazz at the Piano Bar.
One of the best 5-star hotels in Brisbane is The Calile Hotel, an opulent beauty that’s located in the city’s buzzing Fortitude Valley area.
The Calile Hotel is all about the sensory experiences, and you’ll feel weights lifted from your shoulders as you walk across the pleasant cork floor of your hotel room. You’ll love the look and feel of the custom-made oak furnishings, while automated blackout blinds and sumptuous bedding with super-high thread counts are all most welcome to weary travelers.
Move into the bathroom, and you’ll find that the cork turns to marble, while Grown Alchemist toiletries are there to rejuvenate you. You’ll love the soft linen bathrobes and slippers, and you can sit back and relax on your terrace or balcony as you enjoy the hand-selected delights of the locally sourced minibar.
Take relaxation up a step with a massage at the Kailo Medispa, or soak up the Queensland Sun as you order cocktails and fruit platters around The Calile Hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. Around the pool, you can also order from the Greek Taverna-style menu of Hellenika, while the hotel also features the SK Steak & Oyster restaurant, Bianca Italian Restaurant, Same Same, and the Lobby Bar.
The Westin Brisbane is stylish, it’s sophisticated, it’s luxurious, and perhaps best of all, it’s located right in the heart of the CBD. So whether you’re in Queensland’s capital for business, work, leisure, or pleasure, this is one of the best Brisbane hotels to book!
This 5-star luxury hotel is where the laid-back style that Aussies are so famous for meets the more refined designs of Brisbane’s urban elite. Rooms are super spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows seriously opening up the world of the surrounding CBD and letting the light flood in.
Stylish carpets, plush sofas, comfy chairs, Westin Heavenly Beds, and unique artwork all bring your hotel room to life while adding comfort, and we know you’re going to adore the marbled bathrooms and luxury toiletries.
If you need to relax and unwind, we can’t recommend the Heavenly Spa enough. Enjoy a massage, a full-body wrap, or simply take time out in the relaxation pods. You can work up a sweat in the Westin Workout gym or cool down, swim a few lengths, and take in the sunshine at the outdoor Nautilus Pool.
Order drinks at the swim-up Nautilus Pool Bar, or you can dress up for a more refined selection of cocktails and fine wines at The Charles’. The Charles’ is a unique, aviation-themed bar and restaurant that evokes the spirit of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm, two of Australia’s pioneering aviators. You can sink a martini and enjoy live jazz music while perusing the delectable menu.
Serious foodies will want to check into the Gambaro Hotel, a beautiful boutique stay that plays host to two of the best fine dining restaurants in Brisbane!
This is one for the steak and seafood lovers out there, but you’ll need to book both your room and a table at the restaurants in advance because demand is always bound to be high on Caxton Street.
Start with the Gambaro Restaurant, the hotel’s signature eatery, where seafood specialties have been served since 1953. This multi-award-winning establishment is famous for its mud crab, lobster, and oysters, all of which are sourced from Australian waters.
The next evening, reserve a space at the Black Hide Steakhouse by Gambaro (if you’re a meat-eater, of course), where you can enjoy award-winning cuts of beef and quality wines.
Luckily, the rooms at the Gambaro Hotel are perfect for unwinding after a large seafood or steak dinner. These 5-star rooms are elegantly designed with comfort in mind. You’ll love the soft carpets, the floor-to-ceiling windows, marbled bathrooms, panoramic balconies, and the soft feather-down duvets.
One of the most unique hotels in Brisbane is the Treasury Casino & Hotel, which just so happens to be located within one of the city’s most historic buildings.
If you love old-world grandeur in a tropical setting, this is the hotel for you because the Treasury Casino & Hotel provides both in abundance. This 5-star hotel is found in Queensland’s old treasury building, which, perhaps ironically, is now also home to a 24-hour casino and entertainment venue, as well as a luxury boutique hotel.
The rooms at the Treasury Casino & Hotel are straight out of the 19th century, with 18-foot high vaulted ceilings, elegant marble bathrooms, and antique furnishings. If it wasn’t for the high-speed Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, you’d think you’ve literally been thrown back to the late Victorian era!
The Treasury Casino & Hotel boasts an unbeatable central location in Brisbane, but with a total of six restaurants, a casino, and five bars on-site, you might never need to leave.
The Crystalbrook Vincent is one of the coolest 5-star Brisbane hotels. This colorful boutique hotel is inspired by the Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo, who’s quite famous for his vibrant portraits of celebrities – including Heath Ledger and Baz Luhrmann – and politicians, including Aussie prime ministers.
Around this luxurious retreat you’ll find hundreds of original works of art by Fantauzzo, including many of his famed portraits. There were 500 works of art at the last count, so that means that each of 166 individually styled rooms has at least one of Fantauzzo’s works hanging on the wall!
Fantauzzo’s unique and colorful style is emulated in the hotel’s broader design. You’ll love the multicolored (and comfortable!) pillows and throws, as well as the bright sofas and chairs that are found in every room.
The rooms are artistic, but they are sustainable, too. There’s no single-use plastic, bathrooms are 100% waste-free, and all of the furnishings have been upcycled.
The Crystalbrook Vincent’s location is as unique as its ethos, and you’ll find that the hotel offers fantastic views of Story Bridge, right on the banks of the Brisbane River. For the best view, take a seat at Fiume, where classy cocktails are served next to the hotel’s rooftop swimming pool.
If you’re feeling hungry, satisfy those pangs with lunch or dinner at Polpetta, where Italian-inspired dishes from the streets of Rome are served with an Aussie twist.
If you’re searching for a home away from home, look no further than the excellent Adina Apartment Hotel. At this unique Brisbane hotel, you have all the homey comforts of a residential apartment, mixed with the service and luxury of a high-end, 5-star resort!
Located in the CBD, your luxury apartment offers views over central Brisbane, Queens Gardens, or the Brisbane River, with magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic terraces designed to impress.
Apartments have one, two, or three bedrooms, and you’ll find everything you need – including fully equipped kitchens, sofas, dining areas, and more – for a plush stay in Brisbane. Add in a swimming pool, gym, and on-site Chinese and Japanese restaurants, and you’ll be wondering when you can move in permanently!
The amenities and apartments might be modern, but the building you’re staying in is historic. Built in 1922, this was once the headquarters of the Queensland Government Savings Bank. This heritage has been preserved in the lobby, with the Art Deco details adding a unique sense of charm when you arrive and depart the Adina Apartment Hotel.
8. W Brisbane
A spa, swimming pool, choice of three dining and drinking experiences, and undisputed luxury await you at the W Brisbane. This classic Brisbane hotel is always a 5-star favorite, and we know you’re going to love the style, the cocktails, and the prestige during your stay!
The W Brisbane occupies a prime position overlooking the Brisbane River, with an unbeatable location on North Quay, right next to both South Bank and the CBD. The rooftop swimming pool offers views over the river, but you might be too distracted by the WET Deck, the hotel’s poolside cocktail bar. Unwind with cocktails, or book a session at the AWAY Spa, where you can indulge in a range of treatments, including massages and manicures.
Your room is brightly colored, spacious, and equipped with beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows that let Queensland’s endless sunshine into your abode. Furnishings are quirky, cool, and sophisticated, but you’ll love the plush comfort and practicality of the decor as much as you’ll love the style.
Start your evening with cocktails and nibbles at the Living Room Bar, then head to the Three Blue Ducks, the W Brisbane’s signature restaurant. On the menu, you’ll find local ingredients served with panache, including Kangaroo Tartare to start, Kingfish for main, and classic cheesecake for dessert.
If you’d love to experience the cool culture and exciting nightlife of Fortitude Valley, then Ovolo The Valley is one of the best hotels to book in Brisbane.
Located right in the middle of the Fortitude Valley district – where you’ll find sophisticated bars, pubs, cafes, and galleries – this 5-star boutique hotel isn’t afraid to draw on and embellish its surroundings in order to create a unique atmosphere for its guests.
Start with a dip in the rooftop pool, where you can escape the Queensland heat while enjoying fine views over “The Valley.” There’s a sauna and a 24-hour gym for you to use, too. And, rather unusually for a 5-star hotel (but we love the Aussie practicality of it!), there’s a self-service laundry area where you can freshen up your wardrobe.
Enjoy more views of The Valley from the comfort of your luxury hotel room’s private balcony, where you might want to indulge in a beverage from the in-room minibar.
Your room is high-tech, with voice-activated speakers and Chromecast, but it’s also artistic, with original artwork by local artists adorning the walls. Rooms are packed with comfortable velvet furnishings – including plush velvet chairs and headboards – while the bathrooms are decadently covered in marble.
At the KazBa cocktail bar, you can enjoy handcrafted drinks inspired by the nightlife of Tel Aviv. KazBa serves up late-night vegetarian snacks cooked over charcoal fires, but we suggest dining at the ZaZaTa restaurant first. ZaZaTa is a vegetarian and vegan-only restaurant with dishes inspired by the colors and flavors of the Middle East.
The Inchcolm by Ovolo offers guests a suave mix of heritage and modernity, and we know you’re going to love the quirky and cool charms of this Brisbane boutique hotel.
This 5-star hotel is the height of boutique, providing plush accommodation in a historic building in the CBD that dates back to the 1920s. This former townhouse harkens back to Brisbane’s booming interwar years, and inside, you’ll find a curious collection of antiques and artwork that add a serious sense of authenticity to proceedings.
Your luxury room is wonderfully spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows adding a modern touch that makes use of the exceptionally tall, vaulted ceilings that were a favorite among Brisbanites in the 1920s. Open the blinds, and the sun floods into your room, bouncing off the bright, light colors and tones of the wallpaper and furnishings.
Super comfy beds and plush chairs, chaises, or loungers add a sense of hominess to the room, while vibrant artwork adds a contrasting sense of boutique style. The historic look and feel of the hotel are balanced by the in-room amenities, which include flat-screen televisions with Apple streaming and automated electric blinds.
Once a day, the refined Inchcolm Bar hosts its renowned Martini Hour. From 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm, hotel guests can enjoy complimentary martinis, with a choice of five signature martini cocktails available. After an hour of slinging back martinis, take your table in the bistro, where you can enjoy creamy mushroom ragu and potato gnocchi.
Spicers Balfour Hotel is one of the best boutique hotels in Brisbane. This laid-back, low-key, yet luxurious hotel is located in the quiet district of New Farm, where you can escape the bustle of the CBD yet still enjoy all that Brisbane has to offer.
You’ll quickly fall in love with the classic Queenslander style found throughout, including the green garden and open-air verandah. The outside look is more of a country home than a city hotel, but step inside your boutique room, and you’ll find yourself far removed from the setting. The rooms at Spicers Balfour Hotel are bright and breezy, with BOSE sound systems, Nespresso machines, and designer antique furnishings.
You can enjoy wonderful views with a cold cocktail in hand when you head upstairs to the Rooftop Bar. The highlight, though, is always going to be a dining experience at the award-winning Balfour Kitchen.
Once a month (yes, just once a month), they serve up a decadent High Tea on the verandah, but every day of the week, the chefs are crafting delectable Vietnamese food prepared using locally sourced Aussie ingredients.
12. Hotel X
Hotel X offers a decadent escape from the conformity of city life. This is one of the most unique hotels in Brisbane, and you’ll quickly fall for the dark tones and post-industrial vibes that are found throughout this 5-star establishment.
Rooms at Hotel X are luxurious but deliberately understated. You’ll love the space and the style, and in particular, we know you’ll enjoy the contrasting light and dark colors, where vibrant purple throws and dark turquoise sofas stand out against a white backdrop.
Each of the rooms features unique artwork and avant-garde lighting that adds unbeatable character to the surroundings. Stream movies from the comfort of your plush king-size bed while you wait for the Lavazza coffee to brew, or indulge in the boutique mini-bar offerings before enjoying the luxury Karl Lagerfeld amenities found in every room.
Head to the rooftop for panoramic views from the swimming pool, then keep the cocktails and nibbles flowing at Iris, the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant. Dinner is served at Bisou Bisou, a sleek and suave eatery specializing in French cuisine, prepared using fresh and local ingredients.
That completes our list of the 12 best Brisbane hotels! Did we miss any cool 5-star hotels in Brisbane? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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