Hotel Indigo, Brisbane: Big On Personality

Hotel Indigo red doors
Giant red doors, inspired by Brisbane’s fairy doors.

Brisbane’s Hotel Indigo is a small(ish) hotel with an intimate feel but a big personality. It’s a hotel that speaks – absolutely and without question – to its location. Sitting on the reception desk at check-in is a well-worn copy of Boy Swallows Universe, the book that Trent Dalton penned about his youth in the suburbs of Brisbane.

A huge painting of the book’s signature blue wren gazes out over the ground floor lift lobby, while the hero artwork is a 16-storey high mural, also featuring a blue wren, painted by Queensland artist Blends on the hotel’s exterior. A myriad of installations and artworks in and around the building reference the city’s history, people, and streetscapes.

The stories begin even before you enter the building, with the mural in the porte-cochère inspired by Brisbane seamstress, trade union activist and suffragette Emma Miller. Once inside the lobby, there’s a graffiti-covered Tuk Nook coffee cart where you can grab a cuppa and a muffin or pastry.

The entrance with mural inspired by Brisbane seamstress, trade union activist and suffragette Emma Miller.
The entrance with mural inspired by Brisbane seamstress, trade union activist and suffragette Emma Miller.

Your eyes will immediately be drawn to two 6-metre-high doors in fire engine red, inspired by the fairy doors that have been popping up all over Brisbane. Just like street artist Mace Robertson’s red fairy door in Burnett Lane, these gigantic doors spark our curiosity, beckoning guests to come inside and see what awaits.

Opened in July 2022, Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre is the second Hotel Indigo to grace Australia’s shores (Adelaide was first). Located at the riverside end of Turbot Street, just up from North Quay, it’s in the heart of the CBD, just a few minutes’ walk from Queen Street Mall and Roma Street Station. It’s also within easy reach of Southbank Parklands and the cultural precinct across the river.

The brand’s boast is that no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same, anywhere in the world. It was that unique neighbourhood feel – not to mention a sense of fun and creativity – that had us hooked immediately on arrival.

Hotel Indigo Ground floor
Installations and artworks in and around the building reference the city’s history, people, and streetscapes.
Butterfly motifs are everywhere, including the hotel corridors.
Butterfly motifs are everywhere, including the hotel corridors.
Add a butterfly with your name and date of stay.

Butterfly motifs are everywhere, a nod to the magnificent Blue Emperor (Ulysses) butterfly that is indigenous to Queensland (there’s a fine specimen in a frame on the reception desk). Butterflies are painted on the walls of the hotel corridors, and there’s a lovely display which you can add to with a paper butterfly bearing your name and date of stay. Even the lights behind our bed reflect a pattern of little butterflies. These joyous displays brighten our day.

The reception area, one floor up from the lobby, references the nearby law courts, with all eyes drawn to a feature behind the reception desk where key case numbers are illuminated over a historical map of Brisbane. The desk itself looks like legal filing cabinets. There’s so much detail here we’re barely scratching the surface.

Hotel Indigo Reception
Numbers of key legal cases reference the nearby law courts, while a specimen of the Blue Emperor butterfly and a copy of Boy Swallows Universe sit on the desk.
Bird near red door
The blue wren from Boy Swallows Universe gazes out over the lobby.

Across from the reception desk, one of the murals, by Queensland artist Fuzeillear, was inspired by the story of Jimmy the Bengal Tiger. In 1888, the unfortunate tiger escaped from a tent at the corner of George and Turbot Streets where it was being exhibited in Charles Higgins’ Great Menagerie of Wild Performing Animals (you can read the whole pitiful story here).

The hotel has two food and beverage options: Izakaya Publico and Bar 1608. The speakeasy-style bar has an extensive list of beer, wine, sake, whiskey and cocktails. It’s a great spot for a pre-dinner drink before heading down the grand staircase to Izakaya Publico. You can read more about the hotel’s signature Japanese restaurant in a separate post, but let’s just say its soaring ceilings, huge leather booths and vibrant murals make a striking first impression. A buffet breakfast is served daily in this same space.

The design focus is dialled up a notch in the 212 guest rooms, where there are bold splashes of colour on the walls, modern art works, industrial lighting, and a somewhat retro vibe – in its coolest iteration, of course.

The lounge in our King bedroom suite.
The lounge in our King bedroom suite.
Hotel Indigo king bedroom
Spot the butterflies reflected on the wall behind the bed.
Hotel Indigo bathroom in the king bedroom suite
The King bathroom suite has a luxurious tub and rain shower.

Our King bedroom suite was cleverly designed with a nifty two-way walk-in wardrobe dividing the bedroom from the lounge, and a flat-screen TV on either side. The lounge had a large comfy sofa and a work desk with seating for two.

The bathroom was very sleek, with a luxurious bathtub and rain shower/hand-held shower. With no screen around the shower, it looked amazing (if a lot of work for housekeeping). Toiletries included Biology shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in large refillable bottles. The toilet was completely separate with its own door.

Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre has 24-hour reception, and the staff can organize car rentals, laundry services and sightseeing. Parking is at a nearby parking garage with no reservation needed.

We loved our stay at this quirky and colourful hotel. It’s certainly a hotel like no other.

If you go:

Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre
27-35 Turbot Street
Brisbane Qld 4000

With thanks to Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre for hosting our one-night stay. We stayed in Room 1520. We were also generously hosted for dinner at Izakaya Publico, which you can read about in this separate post.

Leave a Reply