Known for its lively buzz, youthful zeal, alfresco lifestyle, progressive ideals and affinity for the great outdoors. Brisbane – the capital of Queensland – has recently experienced a burgeoning population of restaurants, cafes, and bars amidst a brand-new hip arts district, as well as gorgeous green spaces, and multi-million-dollar shopping centres.
With a pretty river running through the heart of the city, and a backyard of mountain peaks, millions of visitors are attracted and fall in love with this sunny metropolis all year round.
Its hotels are pretty special too, from quirky boutiques to high-rise buildings brimming with grandeur, here are my best cool and unusual hotels in Brisbane, Australia (in no particular order)...
Originally built in 1880 and named after Scotland’s Inchcolm Island, this neo-Georgian four-storey building has lovingly restored many of its original features, including the ornate wood-panelled entrance and a heritage-listed lift. Subtle colours embellish the hotel’s character, from the handmade wallpapers to the floral uniforms worn by the staff. The guestrooms at The Inchcolm by Ovolo come in all shapes and sizes and are complemented by their own unique theme. All have workstations, mini iPads, docking stations, Nespresso machines, and lavish queen or king-sized beds. Just off the lobby, Salon de Co bar is a vibrant space with happy hour drinks, featuring a ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ which displays trinkets and artefacts relating to 1980s rock music. Seasonal menu with local organic produce Set in a 1920’s era building On-site restaurant and bar Stunning Insta-worthy design Wi-Fi can be a little slow at times Parking is a bit tricky No bath tub in some rooms
The Inchcolm by Ovolo
Originally built in 1880 and named after Scotland’s Inchcolm Island, this neo-Georgian four-storey building has lovingly restored many of its original features, including the ornate wood-panelled entrance and a heritage-listed lift.
Subtle colours embellish the hotel’s character, from the handmade wallpapers to the floral uniforms worn by the staff. The guestrooms at The Inchcolm by Ovolo come in all shapes and sizes and are complemented by their own unique theme.
All have workstations, mini iPads, docking stations, Nespresso machines, and lavish queen or king-sized beds. Just off the lobby, Salon de Co bar is a vibrant space with happy hour drinks, featuring a ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ which displays trinkets and artefacts relating to 1980s rock music.
Seasonal menu with local organic produce
Set in a 1920’s era building
On-site restaurant and bar
Stunning Insta-worthy design
Wi-Fi can be a little slow at times
Parking is a bit tricky
No bath tub in some rooms
Integrated with an environmentally-friendly conscience, the bold, brave, and energetic Crystalbrook Vincent is a lively extravaganza of dynamic designs and sustainable amenities.
The hotel showcases over 500 prints by acclaimed Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo, alongside radical entertainment events and dining experiences.
Guests are invited to be free, inspire passion, and experience innovative breakthroughs, at the three meeting spaces which feature epic river and skyline views, hosting up to 200 guests.
A dining discovery awaits at the hotel’s restaurant, whilst the Fiume rooftop pool and bar is the perfect spot to fill your cups and plates with laneway-inspired food and drink.
Modern upscale vibe
Three meeting spaces
Fiume rooftop pool and bar
River and skyline views
Bar is usually booked for private events
Some noise on weekends
Can get booked up
Taking its design cue from the Brisbane River and Queensland icons, guests at W Brisbane are greeted by giant glitzy pineapples, and plenty of indigenous, Australian art featuring native birds and wildlife.
The river design motifs and earthy tones spread from the reed-like poles surrounding the welcome desks, to the rooms which boast quirky carpets and walls.
The rooms are largely commodious, and comfortable, and retain vivid color schemes and other objets d’art which make the W fun, engaging, and glamorous.
The Three Blue Ducks, Brisbane’s first outlet for this celebrated restaurant chain, features an open kitchen with wood-fired ovens overlooking the buffet, and serves a delectable menu of artisan fare.
Vibrant partying ambiance
An open-kitchen restaurant
Complimentary luxe amenities
Dining closes early
Lively vibe might not be for everyone
The Constance Fortitude Valley
A quintessentially Brisbane vibe showcases itself in this 65-room boutique hotel, which offers the ultimate urban accommodation experience.
At the Constance Fortitude Valley, comfort and style are combined with the distinct and vibrant décor of Brisbane’s only street art hotel.
Bounded by works of art, this chic hotel has the additional advantage of flexible meeting spaces, a gym, a quirky rooftop bar, and free entry to the Valley Pool & Gym.
The Constance Fortitude Valley embodies modern sophistication and includes a courtyard, internal spas, and artsy-themed rooms.
Whether traveling for work or pleasure, the Constance is ideally situated in the beating heart of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, with major entertainment opportunities right on your doorstep.
Colorful artsy interior
A quirky rooftop bar
On-site gym and spa
Close to main attractions
Some rooms can be small
Some noise from neighbouring spots
Limited restaurant menu
FV by Peppers
Comprising of three 30-story towers, this newly developed hotel is a reimagined version of New York’s flatiron building.
Featuring 986 one- and two-bedroom apartments housing travelers and permanent residents, the monochrome décor oozes functionality and modern sophistication.
Set in the heart of Brisbane’s colourful entertainment precinct ‘The Valley’, this landmark building fuses sustainability with luxe amenities, which include a u-shaped skyline pool, moonlit cinema, gymnasium, and a bar offering a sumptuous dining experience.
All apartments feature a full kitchen and balcony, complemented by all the signature Peppers touches in a refined sanctuary. In-room amenities include a TV with popular movies, complimentary Wi-Fi, and state-of-the-art toiletries.
Ultra-modern sleek design
A moonlit cinema
U-shaped skyline pool
Pricey valet parking
No on-site ice machine
No towels by the pool
Amora Hotel Brisbane
Guests at Amora Hotel Brisbane are welcomed into a sleek, modern lobby brimming with natural light, where a warm and engaging service truly elevates their hospitality experience.
Throughout the hotel’s 296 spacious rooms and suites which are ideal for both business and leisure stays, contemporary comfort is a key feature, as are private balconies overlooking the Brisbane cityscape.
The Pantry restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine for breakfast and dinner, whilst the lobby bar is an inviting gathering spot to unwind with a cocktail in hand. The onsite ‘Two Donkeys café’ is a popular hub for casual meals or grab-and-go items.
Sleek modern hotel
Balconies with cityscape views
Authentic Australian cuisine
300 meters from Central Station
Bar has limited beer options
Pricey room service
No in-room microwaves
Kennigo Hotel Brisbane
Situated within the leafy outskirts of Fortitude Valley, steps from Brisbane’s CBD, the perfect balance of understated elegance and cosmopolitan flair attracts guests to the remarkable Kennigo Hotel.
The Kennigo Espresso bar is the perfect place to kickstart your day on a great note, and the soon-to-open Italian-inspired dining experience is located within a lovingly restored Queenslander house next door.
An alluring destination for every occasion, the sweeping city views and sun-filled spaces at this stunning hotel are complemented by plenty of small luxuries. When called by the allure of the seaside, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast can be reached in just over an hour.
An elegant modern interior
Kennigo Espresso bar
Glass bathroom walls
Art Series – The Johnson
Named after Australian abstract artist Michael Johnson, the redevelopment of this heritage-listed former government office has seen its walls lined with Johnson’s colorful works, featuring both originals and prints.
A large sculpture named ‘The Red Cube’ stands tall at the hotel’s entrance, commissioned to commemorate the opening of Brisbane’s gateway bridge in 1986.
The 97 self-contained, spacious open-plan suites at Art Series – The Johnson boast a nice balcony and kitchenette, as well as iPod docking stations, TVs, and comfortable Art Series Hotel Beds.
Arty touches and accessories adorn the walls, and the exposed concrete ceilings contrast the sleek modern décor, adding some industrial chic.
Contemporary all-suite hotel
Artwork by Michael Johnson
An outdoor swimming pool
Pool is not heated
Tight car parking
Capri by Fraser Brisbane
This elegant hotel grabs your attention upon arrival. With lobby walls decorated in homage to the bookstore that held this space in the Brisbane streetscape for many years, to real books embedded into the 3D wallpaper designs, a great and stylish effect is created.
The guestrooms are ornated with stylized koalas and kookaburras, adding a splash of effervescence to the interiors. Fully-equipped kitchenettes and super-comfy king sized beds make for a blissful spot of respite, complemented by a small desk and a large-screen television.
Asana restaurant, designed by celebrity chef Pete Evans, features his signature paleo-inspired food. A casual café vibe is reflected in the open, street-front café bar.
Chef Pete Evans’ Asana Restaurant with organic food
Street-front café bar
Real books embedded into walls
No drinking water in rooms
Hotel X Brisbane Fortitude Valley, Vignette Collection
A sensational luxury experience awaits guests in the heart of Fortitude Valley, evoking decadence, diversity, and a care-free vigour.
Hotel X Brisbane Fortitude Vly, Vignette Collection is all about the unexpected, the uninhibited, and the undeniable indulgent, which manifests itself through iconic art, to avant-garde lighting, to irresistible textures. The rooftop pool and ‘Iris Bar and Restaurant’ offer a vibrant haven to soak up the vitamin D.
Keen on taking responsibility, Hotel X has partnered with a local school to support the next generation who wish to pursue hospitality careers, and empowers the youth with invaluable on-the-job learning. A cocktail of thrills is on offer here.
Luxurious stylish design
Iris Bar and Restaurant
A rooftop pool
Located in heart of Brisbane
Can get booked up easily
Soaring 90 stories above the heart of the CBD, an upmarket accommodation amidst breathtaking views is offered at Brisbane Skytower, Australia’s largest residential/serviced apartment building.
The building has been designed with three separate areas of living, where refined comfort and opulence await: Uptown and Downtown, Skycity, and Skyrise. Each of these boasts its own lobbies, recreation decks, BBQ areas, and social spaces.
A five-star hospitality experience is combined with first-class amenities, making the Skytower the new leader in Brisbane luxury accommodation. A plethora of experiences, events, and spectacular beaches for sailing and boating are offered in close proximity to this stunning hotel.
Contemporary sleek interiors
Stunning city views
Located in the middle of the CBD
No in-room coffee machines
No towel hangers
With the old-world opulence of a five-star hotel, the non-stop excitement of a 24-hour casino, the thrill of live entertainment, and the tantalizing taste of amazing restaurants and bars, Treasury Brisbane welcomes returning visitors year after year.
Its refined elegance is bolstered by a contemporary service and unique interiors. With 125 unique rooms of unmatched splendor and high-end amenities, unparalleled luxury awaits guests right in the heart of Brisbane’s bustling CBD.
Within the arm’s reach of varied dining options and the most extravagant nightlife of this global city, the hotel’s charm and elegance are matched only by its atmosphere of frivolity and fun.
Variety of dining options
Housekeeping twice a day
Average room service food
Can get booked up
Casino might not be for everyone
The Calile Hotel
The Calile Hotel (pronounced Kal-isle) combines its remarkable Lebanese heritage with a slight 1950s Miami feel. Breezy open-air corridors fuse with white brick arches and breezeblock features, to form an opulent experience characterized by palm trees and pastel colors.
Almost unnoticed along the streetscape, guests enter through an arcade into the large lobby, however, the glass walls around the reception area bring the outside world back in, before leading to a back laneway of boutiques and cafés.
Guests can choose from 175 blue, green, or pink rooms. The colors add a softness to the marble surfaces, cork floors, sisal matting, and oak and brass trims.
A trendy hip hotel
Four on-site restaurants
Spa with skin and aesthetic facilities
City and pool views
Not for the budget-friendly crowd
voco Brisbane City Centre, an IHG Hotel
Embedded right in the center of the buzzing, sun-drenched Queensland capital, the charming, playful voco Brisbane City Centre, an IHG Hotel delivers a premium yet unstuffy accommodation experience, equipped for the leisure-seeker and business traveler alike.
The 194 premium rooms are more than just a place to rest, and feature vibrant artwork, smart in-room technology, and bathroom amenities that melt the stress of any day away.
Guests can kick-start their day with a proper barista coffee, and find out the best gems to visit from the warm and attentive staff.
Much like the hotel’s fun-loving Flamingo mascot, there are many opportunities for ‘play’ at Voco. The rooftop pool offers fun in the sun and the lobby dining space serves up craft brews in an atmospheric setting.
A charming upscale hotel
A rooftop pool and sauna
A 24-hour reception
Hotel Grand Chancellor Brisbane
Overlooking the picturesque Roma Street Parklands is this 4.5-star Brisbane accommodation, which affords commanding views of the surrounding mountains, Brisbane River, and the city skyline.
Hotel Grand Chancellor Brisbane welcomes guests to an idyllic, family-friendly experience, where an engaging blend of contemporary design, gracious hospitality, and modern amenities delight your senses.
Ideal for a relaxing corporate trip, a family holiday, or a weekend getaway, at this exquisite hotel it is easy to stay connected, with the high-speed complimentary Wi-Fi.
The hotel also features a dedicated concierge service, which is a godsend when diving into a vibrant city and wanting to pack your itinerary with great memories.
Modern à la carte dining and extensive buffets for breakfast
Views of Brisbane River
Roadside rooms are noisy
Mantra South Bank Brisbane
Welcoming guests through a glass-fronted lobby brightened by potted palms and an interesting art installation hanging from the ceiling, this eye-catching hotel attracts all sorts of travellers.
Many of the stylish rooms boast glimpses of the river, and are packed with a plethora of entertainment choices. Spectacular dining opportunities are offered at the onsite restaurant, and further facilities include a 20-metre heated lap pool, a spa, and a fully equipped gymnasium.
Situated idyllically on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, this hotel puts you right in the city’s arts precinct, a mere block away from the lagoons, beaches, and weekend markets of South Bank Parklands.
Creative modern interior
A fully-equipped gym
20-metre heated lap pool
No on-site parking
Pool not heated
Limes Boutique Hotel
Conveniently located in Fortitude Valley, the hub of Brisbane’s nightlife, guests are warmly welcomed by a charming staff presence, comforted by ideally stylised guestrooms, and embraced by a world of wonder.
Limes offers an exceptional boutique experience in the form of a stunning yet simple urban retreat. An open-air rooftop bar and two rooftop plunge pools make this hotel incredibly popular amongst discerning travellers.
Whether staying for a night, a drink, or a dip, pleasure and business go hand in hand in this trendy vacation lodging.
The hotel features 21 rooms which opt to focus on guests’ primary travel requirements through a careful selection of state-of-the-art amenities.
A chic calming ambiance
An open-air rooftop bar
Two rooftop plunge pools
Dark shower area
No in-room minibars
Rooftop bar is sometimes closed
Manly Marina Cove Motel
Located where Brisbane meets the bay, close to the largest recreational boat harbor in the southern hemisphere, the many kilometers of walking, cycling, and jogging paths that surround the area make the Manly Marina Cove Motel a must-visit destination in itself.
The motel is a hidden gem and exudes a modern, 4-star boutique presence through a peaceful haven. Comfort and bliss are paramount to the motel’s ethos, and permeate the 39 modern rooms, which come with bay and garden views.
Each of the quirky rooms features a king-size bed and a large 55-inch smart TV with Foxtel. A mini bar fridge is also provided in each room.
Free on-site parking
A small plunge pool
Surrounded by jogging paths
Parking difficult at times
No on-site food options
Shower over bath
Sage Hotel James Street
With a design-on-a-dime approach, Sage Hotel James Street houses unfussy, contemporary interiors which attract a whole host of travelers.
A sense of tropical Queensland is conveyed by its vertical garden in the lobby atrium, and this theme carries through to every bedroom via plantings in window boxes or on balconies.
The homely ambiance of this boutique hotel is bolstered by locally inspired fabrics, and photographs sourced from retailers in the immediate area.
All of the hotel’s 93 guestrooms are dressed in stylish shades of black and grey, with monochrome photographs of local landmarks dressing the walls, and soft furnishings providing splashes of bold, bright color. Complimentary passes to a 24-hour gym and 50-metre outdoor pool are available from reception.
Quirky chic decor
Pass to a 24-hour gym
Pass to a 50-meter outdoor pool
Walking distance from main attractions
No drinking water in rooms
Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre, an IHG Hotel
The Hotel Indigo brand has paved its way across the globe as a forerunner in the boutique and lifestyle category, one of the fastest-growing hospitality segments.
Hotel Indigo Brisbane maintains design elements which include six-metre-high red doors at the entrance, inspired by the fairy doors on Burnett Lange, and black & white murals in the reception area.
Peppered with hand-painted artworks, the hotel’s 212 rooms are elegantly appointed and offer an experience steeped in richness and glamour, bound by clues of Brisbane’s untold stories.
The hotel is inspired by the hidden artistic flair, transformative stories, and eclectic characters that have shaped Brisbane’s vibrant CBD.
A funky artistic interior
Daily buffet breakfast
24/7 takeaway menu
No in-room coffee
Top 20 Cool Hotels in Brisbane Compared
The table compares the top 20 cool and unusual hotels in Brisbane.
Hotel Name Location Price Range (per night) Fitness Facilities Distance to Attractions (km) Nearby Restaurants
The Inchcolm by Ovolo Wickham Terrace $206-$412 Yes 0.5 4
Crystalbrook Vincent Boundary Street $227-$271 Yes 0.2 9
W Brisbane North Quay $300-$650 Yes 0.5 5
The Constance Fortitude Valley Constance Street $178-$290
Yes 0.9 3
FV by Peppers Brunswick Street $174-$341 Yes 0.9 4
Amora Hotel Brisbane Creek Street $153-$285 Yes 0.6 4
Kennigo Hotel Brisbane Fortitude Valley $156-$354 Yes 0.9 5
Art Series Boundary Street $174-$332 Yes 0.5 6
Capri by Fraser Brisbane Albert Street $191-$277 Yes 0.8 5
Hotel X Brisbane Fortitude Vly Brunswick Street $233-$746 Yes 0.4 6
Brisbane Skytower Margaret Street $248-$520 Yes 0.8 4
Treasury Brisbane William St $172-$335 Yes 0.5 5
The Calile Hotel James Street $287-$682 Yes 0.9 7
Voco Brisbane City Centre North Quay $172-$261 Yes 0.5 6
Hotel Grand Chancellor Brisbane Leichhardt Street $182-$271 Yes 0.3 4
Mantra South Bank Brisbane Grey St $159-$395 Yes 0.5 6
Limes Boutique Hotel Fortitude Valley $122-$241 No 1.1 3
Manly Marina Cove Motel Davenport Drive $134-$153 Yes 0.2 2
Sage Hotel James Street James Street $169-$294 No 0.9 5
Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre Turbot St $229-$644 Yes 0.5 6
Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.