If you’re looking for a place to stay in Brisbane while visiting the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) or Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), you’d be hard pressed to find a hotel more comfortable and convenient than Rydges South Bank.
It is literally just a few minutes’ walk from cafés, restaurants, and a whole host of things to do in Brisbane’s arts and entertainment precinct. South Bank Parklands and the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre are a stone’s throw away. Talk about location, location, location … Rydges South Bank has it in spades.
The hotel rises above Grey Street with balconies that snake around the front of the building in long curvy lines. Our enormous suite has a balcony wrapping around one end of the building. We love that it can be opened to the fresh air, although the view isn’t much by day when some very ordinary looking rooftops detract from the river and parkland views. At night, it’s much more impressive when the city lights twinkle and you can see Brisbane Wheel glowing like a beacon.
Inside, the hotel has an understated elegance, with marble floors, neutral tones and an enormous chandelier in the lobby. The elegance extends to the restaurant, Bacchus, where the look is more classic: gilded mirrors, oak furnishings, blue velvet chairs and brown leather armchairs. It’s the type of décor I’d expect to find in a gentleman’s club in London.
That’s not to say it’s stuffy. In fact, when we pop in for breakfast in the morning, the restaurant is light and bright, opening onto the podium-level swimming pool and outdoor lounge. Unfortunately, Bacchus was closed for dinner during our stay early in the week, but breakfast is mighty impressive, with a vast selection of hot and cold dishes, cold meats, smoked salmon, cereals, fruit and smoothies. (A shout out here for the ‘proper’ hash browns which taste like potato rather than deep-fried cardboard as found in many breakfast buffets.)
Bacchus has a new team at the helm, led by executive chef Matthew Wood who has an impressive resumé with experience at restaurants such as Stokehouse, Aria Brisbane, Urbane, Hilton Brisbane, and Vue de Monde in Melbourne.
Chef de cuisine Isaia Dal Fiume was mentored by former Bacchus executive chef Massimo Speroni, and shared his career pathway, starting at the two Michelin-starred restaurant San Domenico in Imola, Italy. Dal Fiume created the menu for the restaurant’s re-opening after a long Covid hiatus. As well as full à la carte, Bacchus offers two degustation experiences (one of them vegan), as well as high tea.
The menu champions Australian and especially Queensland produce, while the wine list has a staggering 600 offerings and more than 47 wines by the glass. There’s a fabulous cheese trolley as well.
The hotel offers valet parking and no sooner was our car whisked away than we were greeted warmly at reception and directed to our suite on the 7th floor. It’s one of 64 suites in the 304-room hotel. All suites have balconies and if ours is anything to go by, you could move in for the long haul and be perfectly comfortable.
It really is massive with an enormous sofa and wide-screen TV in the spacious lounge, a desk with 2 chairs and free wi-fi, a small dining table with two chairs, and a kitchenette with microwave, bar fridge, Nespresso coffee machine and milk frother.
The separate bedroom has a super-comfy king-size bed with blockout curtains and bedside lamps on either side – a welcome touch for those of us who like to read in bed. The big, ensuite bathroom has a deep tub and separate walk-in shower.
Rydges South Bank was the first hotel in South Bank, built at a time when the precinct had yet to blossom into the busy hub it is today. It has stood the test of time well, with a timeless elegance making it the perfect getaway for anyone wanting to explore Brisbane’s cultural attractions.
If you go:
Rydges South Bank (& Bacchus Restaurant)
9 Glenelg Street, South Brisbane Qld
Tel: +61 (0)7 3364 0800
With thanks to Rydges South Bank Brisbane for hosting our one-night stay. We stayed in room 728.