Emporium South Bank, Brisbane: A Hotel Like No Other

The Emporium Hotel, Brisbane: a hotel like no other.
Brisbane’s Emporium South Bank is a hotel like no other.

When you step into the lift at Emporium South Bank, you quickly realize this is a hotel like no other. The moving images in the lift range from zebras and koalas to snow-covered slopes and a map of Brisbane, to name just a few of the designs. The constantly changing images cover not just the entire back wall of the lift but right across the floor as well.

If you don’t like talking to strangers in a lift, all you need to do is focus your attention on the images and no-one will think you’re rude because they’ll all be in awe of the lift too. It’s quirky, it’s unique to the hotel, and it’s fun. It also shows that this is a hotel that thinks outside the box.

Overlooking the Brisbane River and city skyline, Emporium South Bank has one of the best views of any hotel in Brisbane. Upper-level rooms on the city side have the best views. If you really want to splurge, there are extra luxurious premier suites which include complimentary chauffeur service in the inner city in a luxurious Maserati.

The view from our River City King Suite on the 17th floor.

Our Premium River City King Suite on the 17th floor has a 180-degree view and a shallow Juliet balcony that allows us to step outside and appreciate the view without glass. Blockout curtains and sheers are operated at the flick of a switch. A glass wall between the bedroom and bathroom also frosts over at the flick of a switch, for added privacy.

This is a hotel that’s full of surprises and one of the first surprises on walking into our room is where the TV is. What appears to be a gilt-edged mirror turns out to be the screen of a 55” LG television.

The other surprise is that there are two fridges: one a regular hotel mini-bar, the other a state-of-the-art EuroCave multi-temperature wine fridge stocked with red, white and Rosé wines. Pretty china cups are provided along with quality teas and a Nespresso coffee machine.

Emporium South Bank gilded mirror
Where’s the television? Framed by a gilded mirror.
The spacious bathroom has a double vanity and generously proportioned tub.
The spacious bathroom has a double vanity and generously proportioned tub.

Nowhere to put suitcases is one of my biggest bugbears about hotel rooms. Here, there is a good wide bench to put suitcases on. Two pairs of zebra-patterned slippers are in the wardrobe, tucked away but not for long. This is most definitely a hotel where you want to take the slippers home! The zebra theme continues with a toy zebra available for purchase, raising money for the Starlight Foundation.

Our room is very spacious with a chaise lounge, a small occasional table, and a long desk placed so that you can admire the view while you work. The king-sized bed offers a perfect level of comfort, being not too soft and not too hard.

The bathroom is spacious too, with the luxury of a very generously proportioned tub (bath salts provided), double vanity, well-illuminated make-up mirror, toilet with its own door, and a shower cubicle with rain shower and hand-held shower with massage pressure. Touch panels control many of the room features, from the lighting to the blinds, to the air-conditioning and the do not disturb sign.

Pool with a view: the 23-metre infinity pool on the hotel rooftop.
Pool with a view: the 23-metre infinity pool on the hotel rooftop.
Emporium South Bank hotel corridors
Everything about the hotel is cool, including the corridors.

First impressions always count and after taking stock of the gigantic moving images in the porte-cochère, we’re greeted with a warm welcome. Settling in to enjoy the facilities, we note that the view from the 23-metre infinity pool on the hotel rooftop is one of the city’s best views. A gym, sauna, steam room, and plunge pool are also on the rooftop (level 21), along with The Healing Stone, a Japanese-inspired spa which offers ganbanyoku (hot stone spa), shiatsu, oil massage, and reflexology, among other treatments.

Emporium South Bank has one of the city’s coolest bars in the ground-level Reserve Wine Bar with its plush lounge chairs and long resin bar. Signature Restaurant on level one is equally stylish with plush furnishings, a wall of wine, an amazing glass sculpture hanging overhead, and an outlook over palm plantings on Grey Street.

Signature Restaurant with its impressive wall of wine.
Signature Restaurant with its impressive wall of wine.
Indulging at Belle Époque patisserie + brasserie.
Indulging at Belle Époque patisserie + brasserie.

Downstairs and just outside the front door is Belle Époque patisserie + brasserie, which evokes all the ambience of late 18th century/early 19th century Paris. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream with filigree palm chandeliers, signs promoting Perrier-Jouet Champagne, and gorgeous pastries decorated with gold leaf.

Finally, there’s another surprise. Guests have access to electric bikes, so you can reduce your carbon footprint as you zip around the city without having to slog at it.

Emporium South Bank zebra slippers

If you go:

Emporium Hotel South Bank
267 Grey Street
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Tel: +61 (0)7 3556 3333

With thanks to Emporium South Bank for hosting Food Wine Travel for two nights. We stayed in Room 1701.

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