HIGHLIGHT: The service. There aren't many staff around, but they're all intent on taking care of their guests – from the bar to the rooms.
LOWLIGHT: No cable television. Sure, some romantic retreats don't have a television at all. But this is the heart of Brisbane.
In the past few years, the airport end of Fortitude Valley has become a precinct of hipster hotels. Some are hanging their hat on trendy restaurants and rooftop bars, but Alpha Mosaic has taken a more traditional route, focusing on quality and harnessing a slightly more sophisticated edge. In June, it is celebrating 12 months of open doors. It hasn't positioned itself as a go-to nightspot, which probably means it's not bathing in the same word-of-mouth glory as its neighbours. But those who've found it couldn't be happier.
An arrangement with the nearby Valley pool might be, by hotel standards, a little unorthodox. But it works. As guests of the hotel, health nuts are able to go to the public pool and gym. Others are able to indulge in an inner-city rarity – a spacious hotel room balcony overlooking the Gateway Bridge. The lobby adjoins a seemingly under-utilised bar and restaurant area which is designed in modern greys and beige, and enlivened with stark placement of purple furniture. Large numbers on room doors are another attraction, big enough for even the thickest of spectacles to decipher.
It's tough to find a hotel in the inner-city area with enough space to stretch out, particularly a new one. Some of the showers are a hokey-pokey dance – you put your left arm in, you put your left arm out. Not this one. The open bathroom has a separate toilet and faces a robe and mini bar, removed from the main bedroom where there is a single chair, sofa and work desk. The television is mounted on the wall and can be seen from the sofa or the comfortable bed. Double curtains open to the balcony and a view which stretches to the Gateway Bridge. There's no cable television, but there is a selection of movies for $4.95 each.
The only slight issue at Alpha Mosaic might be one of privacy. The hotel adjoins a block of apartments which look down on the hotel balconies, and there are offices directly opposite. But draw the curtains to a close, and all becomes cosy. Everything seems to have been designed with convenience in mind – from the spacious lobby and bar through to the rooms themselves where businesspeople won't feel like they're trapped in a cage while working away from home. Locals will appreciate the location, close to the Valley nightlife and James St eateries.
The hotel is geared to the business market, which means the bar and restaurant seems under-utilised on weekends. That doesn't prevent a sneaky room service chicken burger with fetta, char-grilled capsicum, rocket and beer-battered fries for a reasonable $17. Breakfast is from 7am-9.30am where a basic continental spread is accompanied by an a la carte hot choice. The omelettes are generous in size and divine in flavour. If a night out is in order, James St is a five-minute stroll down the road, and former Good Food Guide restaurant of the year Gerard's Bistro remains a highlight.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
It's only five minutes to the revamped Brunswick Street Mall and Chinatown, so do the loop through the weekend markets and swing by James Street for a spot of boutique shopping on the way home.
There are an increasing number of newcomers to the inner-city hotel scene. Most are small, but this one gives you that new-car smell with plenty of legroom. Get a good weekend rate and enjoy the city.
HOW TO GET THERE
From the city, it's an easy drive through the Valley, past Constance Street and right into Church Street. The hotel is on your right-hand side, and there's a convenient parking bay for check-in.
A basic double room starts at around $169, while the executive room kicks in at about $229. There is a two-bedroom family option for around $329. It's at 12 Church St, Fortitude Valley. Phone 07 3332 8888, see alphamosaichotelbrisbane.com.au.
The writer was a guest of Alpha Mosaic Hotel.