After COVID-19 put a lockdown on our fun for many months, a two-night getaway in Brisbane – Queensland’s subtropical capital of excitement – was the breath of fresh air we needed.

We chose to stay at the Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley’s James Street: a chic and shady retail and lifestyle precinct. What a lovely hotel, and the perfect location for our city break.

The Calile buzzes all day long – a place to see and be seen as Australia’s first “urban resort”.

Within the 175-room, architecturally designed hotel are a variety of accommodation styles but we opted for the City View. The drawcard was the Juliet balcony with stunning vistas over the city skyline and “the Valley”, as it is affectionately known, where inner-city grunge meets sophistication as heritage-listed properties proudly stand among eye-catching modern buildings.

Our room was clean, comfortable and contemporary in style, of course, with free Wi-Fi and UHD television with Chromecast and sound bar. But The Calile rooms are so much more than somewhere to lay your head (though the hotel pillow menu even has that covered, too, as a nice touch).

The 35sqm space included a living area with dining table plus custom-crafted oak furnishings to help guests feel embraced by the lap of luxury.

Marble surfaces, brushed brass accents and a large rainfall shower head, Grown Alchemist bath products (the pamper products are important!), linen bathrobes and slippers made us all want to linger longer in the bathroom (with 3 girls in our family that’s easy enough to do).

The locally sourced snacks included a lovely assortment of nuts and pretzels – one of the most impressive selection of in-room goodies I have seen.

Making the room even harder to leave was a fridge packed with juices, beer, wine and martini mixes as well as a liquor cabinet with a variety of spirits, not to mention a cold filtered-water system near the elevators to refill your bottles on every floor.

The hotel amenities are ideal for a city retreat.

Peruse the spa menu for everything from medical cosmetic treatments, corrective enhancements and intravenous vitamin therapy to massages, body wraps and facials, accompanied by an infrared sauna.

So many treats, so little time.

Alas, I decided to forgo the spa this time because anyone who knows me knows that I love my exercise. Whenever I travel, a good gymnasium is most appreciated and The Calile lived up to my expectations with one of the best I have seen: spacious, with a variety of  modern equipment and personal fitness trainers on call.

As this was a family weekend, our children weren’t left out of the excitement stakes, either.

They have travelled to many hotels around the globe and love trying out all the amenities, giving Mom their feedback and rating them on the fun-o-meter.

The large heated swimming pool received their tick of approval and ours, too, as hubby and I relaxed in one of the poolside cabanas, enjoying margaritas, halloumi wraps, pita bread and dips from Hellenika’s authentic Greek fare.

Shop ’til you drop:

The hotel is surrounded by a wonderful array of boutique shops and bespoke outlets to wander and browse, with many great sales at various times of the year. With so many choices, some of my stylish favorites included:

  • Conscious.Kin – the entire shop is filled with natural and mostly local skin products.
  • Libertine Parfumerie – the most aromatic, offering an exquisite selection of perfumes from around the world (I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of Frapin + Cie’s IF).
  • Love Stories – a quality feminine lingerie brand that appeals to women looking for that all-important comfort.
  • Museum of Small Things – this is the hotel’s boutique store, nestled in the lobby, and it’s just adorable. If you are looking for a gift for that special someone who has almost everything (that might even be yourself!), it offers an elegantly curated selection of objects sourced from around Australia and some exclusive to The Calile. I particularly loved the incense sticks from Byron Bay, the candles and essential oils.
  • Sass & Bide – this long-established Australian designer label has an impressive selection of cashmere sweaters (and a good sale at the time of our visit).
  • Zimmermann – the Australian fashion designer can dress you from head to toe, including the accessories, but I can especially recommend the unique shirts on display.
  • Calexico – You’ll find sought-after international luxury designers here from spirited Californian labels to Parisian charm but I simply liked the variety of fashionable sneakers available under one roof.
  • Bassike – great for clean, contemporary items in womenswear, menswear, denim, shoes and accessories.

A dining smorgasbord:

Apart from The Calile Hotel’s bars and dining, our picks for eating out are:

  • Harveys Bar + Bistro – for breakfast (best soy capucinno ever!).
  • Gelato Messina – a good assortment of ice creams, gelatos and double thick shakes.
  • Sprouts – delicious baked pastries (our fave was the cinnamon roll).
  • The Nut Market – for freshly ground almond + dark chocolate spread.
  • The Standard Market Company – such a great selection of interesting chocolate slabs, cheeses, fine cakes (I will be back for my birthday!), plus freshly baked breads.
  • Nodo – unique health-conscious breakfasts, but also the best donut on Earth for the sweet tooths (but be prepared to stand in line because this place is in demand).

My takeaway:

  • Now more than ever, dining reservations must be made well in advance to ensure you make the cut of COVID-19 restrictions on venue numbers.
  • Check the credit card and bank balances beforehand or bring extra $$$ because the temptations to shop are everywhere.
  • And go on, tack on that day to just relax by the pool with no agenda planned.
  • Location, location, location – check
  • Spending a weekend in Brisbane this is the place to rest your head
  • I will be back and next time I have no doubt I will be equally impressed.

To find out about other locations around Australia where to go or stay call our office AUS: 617-54554243/ USA 1800-405-9463