Brisbane: Hilton

Simon Holt discovers that shopping becomes so much more pleasant when you’re staying on the doorstep of the mall in a luxury hotel.

Simon Holt discovers that shopping becomes so much more pleasant when you’re staying on the doorstep of the mall in a luxury hotel.

THE SETTING

This is poll position to the Queen Street Mall. Turn right out of the lifts and follow your nose to shopping, cafes, nightlife and the odd busker or two, some who are pretty good at what they do.

THE SPACE

The pool is clean, but not much chop by resort standards. That’s not why people come here though. There’s a modern gym, tennis court and business centre. The main attraction is the lobby which is a vibrant meeting place for locals, at the spacious cocktail bar where Veuve Clicquot seems to be all the rage. Another highlight is the glass-fronted lift which you’d be forgiven for thinking might shoot out the top of the glass roof Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory style.

THE KIT

There’s not a huge variance in the type of rooms at the Hilton. They’ve all recently undergone a swanky refurbishment, and different types include guest rooms, deluxe, executive and king suites. They’re hotel rooms, so there’s only 32 square metres or so to play with. It’s crafty how they can feel so roomy, with a working desk and chair, lounge chair in the opposing corner, spacious bed and flat screen television. The bathroom has a shower and all the regular mix of toiletries.

COMFORT FACTOR

There are a usually a couple of advantages to staying at a large chain hotel, and Hilton Brisbane doesn’t let down in either – plush high-quality bedding, and service. Those able to upgrade to an executive room will get the benefit of the executive lounge, where – between 6pm-8pm – there are canapés which, if you tried, could be a three-course meal, and drinks. It’s help yourself to beer, wine and soft drink. Staff will serve spirits as a pre-dinner appetiser. Valet, albeit $55, front desk, wait staff and housekeeping all uphold the Hilton reputation well.

FOOD

The restaurant has been called Vintaged for two and a half years, and is proud to have picked up a chefs hat for two of those under the umbrella of the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide. Aged steaks are the specialty, but there are some exciting break-out dishes on the menu. Duck confit melts off the bone, the signature scallops for entrée are colourful and flavoursome, and the deconstructed sundae for dessert is something the wait staff are keen to recommend. The wine list resists the temptation to go global, preferring to find the finest of varietals from Australia and New Zealand. The open kitchen is welcomed, and the service top shelf. It’s also where breakfast is hosted, with contintental or full hot options, all buffet style except for the omelettes which are made to order. Fruit abounds.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

Shopping. It’s all about shopping. Queen Street Mall is right downstairs, the Myer Centre next door and numerous other options within easy reach. It’s always fascinating to explore your own backyard as a tourist, and this is one way to do it. The casino isn’t far away, and South Bank is just over the river, as is the entertainment precinct, including QPAC and GoMA, the state library and museum. It’s a nice reminder just how vibrant our own city can be.

THE VERDICT

After a day of shopping and exploration, it’s a nice feeling not having to drive home. Rather, it’s a short ride in the lift back to a luxurious bed, movie or two, and dinner in one of the city’s finest restaurants. No cab fares, and very little fuss. The executive lounge is a nice bonus if you can get it. Regardless, find a cocktail, sit back in a comfortable chair, and enjoy the company around you.  Weekends are down time for inner-city hotels, so it’s a great time to cash in on one of the package deals which often crop up.

HOW TO GET THERE

Parking is $55, whether valet or self-parked. If that seems a bit steep, jump on a bus or train. Nobody will know – all roads lead to the city. Car access is via Elizabeth St. Check in is on Level 6.

ESSENTIALS

Hilton Brisbane, Elizabeth St, Brisbane City. The hotel offers regular deals which include shows in the entertainment precinct across the river. It’s not uncommon to get a room, show and breakfast for around $255, as is the case with a current offering to include two shows at GoMA. Another offers a bottle of bubbly, late check-out and 20% off at Vintaged. Or book online for $185 on Saturday nights, with a $90 upgrade to get dinner and breakfast included. Prices rise for mid-week. Phone 07 3234 2000, see Hilton.com/Brisbane.

 

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