Where to stay in Brisbane

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When looking for where to stay in Brisbane, you quickly realize why it’s called the River City. Brisbane’s hottest suburbs all hug the meandering Brisbane River, and many of the best hotels feature wowing water views. Read on to narrow down both the ultimate suburb and hotel in Brisbane for you.

Brisbane CBD

Brisbane CBD puts you with Brissie’s best at your fingertips. Revel in the city centre’s own highlights, and when you want a change of scenery, easily venture into the surrounding suburbs.

Facing King George Square, Brisbane Town Hall is a major CBD landmark characterised by its stately columns and lofty clocktower. Step inside for a guided tour and to check out the third-floor Museum of Brisbane, featuring exhibits about the city’s history.

Adjacent Queen Street Mall offers Brisbane’s most complete shopping experience with all from local boutiques to international chains. Be overwhelmed by the over 500 retailers spread across several shopping centers and historic arcades.

To seek respite from the buzz, visit Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, a tranquil gem once planted as a farm by convicts of the Moreton Bay penal settlement. With renewed energy, continue your sightseeing by foot along the riverfront or hop onto a ferry.

Best hotels in Brisbane CBD

Treasury Hotel

Five-star accommodation crowned by 5.5m ceilings meets non-stop excitement at the heritage-listed Treasury, home to both a hotel and the city’s casino.

Royal on the Park

It’s easy to escape the buzz with Brisbane City Park just across the street. Book a park-facing room to let that calmness into your room.

The Westin

This place just brims with relaxed sophistication. Be sure to set aside some time for the outdoor pool area where the views, especially at night when the city lights up, are second to none.

Adina Apartment Hotel

Old meets new in the 1922 Queensland Government Savings Bank building, where modern studios (with kitchenette) and apartments (with kitchen) are up for grabs.

W Brisbane

Choose from 312 upscale, boldly furnished rooms and suites set right on the eastern banks of the river. Three venues for dining and drinking add to the exciting vibe.

Heritage-listed Transcontinental Hotel beneath the heights of modern Brisbane CBD high rises
Old meets new in Brisbane CBD.

South Bank

South Bank, across the river from the CBD, takes pride in being Brisbane’s greenest inner-city suburb. Its setting is dominated by 17-hectare South Bank Parklands, a precinct slash tropical oasis.

Relish landscaped gardens, with swathes of rainforest, as you stroll along the 1km South Bank Grand Arbour, a walkway and piece of art in one. Or plunge into the turquoise lagoon at Streets Beach, Brissie’s eye-catching artificial beach.

On the east side, the parklands are bordered by the Brisbane River. Down the riverfront promenade, walkers, runners and bikers enjoy the imposing view of the towering CBD, maybe stopping to photograph the vivid Brisbane Sign.

On the west side, Little Stanley Street and Grey Street brim with laid-back places to eat and drink. Throw nearby Fish Lane, where you can savour flavours from all over the planet, into the mix, and you’re in foodie heaven.

When you think the appeal is over, it’s not. South Bank also presents the Queensland Cultural Centre, a celebrated cluster including Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Queensland Museum, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and State Library of Queensland.

Best hotels in South Bank

Emporium Hotel

Embrace a luxurious hotel featuring a wowing rooftop, complete with a bar and 23m infinity pool, that’s a destination in its own right.

Rydges South Bank

Location, location, location. On the Grey and Glenelg corner, Rydges has lush South Bank Parklands, with Streets Beach, on its doorstep.

Novotel

Compact but comfy, Novotel provides contemporary value.

Red lifeguard station on Streets Beach, overlooking the Brisbane River and Brisbane CBD
Kick back with friends and family in South Bank.

Fortitude Valley

There’s always something going on in Fortitude Valley — simply called the Valley by the locals. Visit in the day to indulge in retail therapy or show up later to dance the night away.

During daytime, shoppers and coffee lovers swarm James Street, the commercial nerve centre presenting 100-plus retailers. More hidden but as exciting, cozy hidden laneways — including Bakery Lane, Winn Lane and California Lane — complete the shopping experience.

As day turns into night, live music starts pouring out on the streets and crowds of partygoers emerge. Fortitude Valley is Brisbane’s undisputed nightlife hub with all from historic pubs to hip rooftop bars to electric nightclubs.

Maybe you prefer a nice spot by the river? Straddling the CBD-Fortitude Valley line, Howard Smith Wharves boasts a wide range of waterfront restaurants and bars, including Felons Brewing Company.

Best hotels in Fortitude Valley

Crystalbrook Vincent

At Howard Smith Wharves, behind an eye-catching angular exterior, Crystalbrook Vincent provides exclusive accommodation elevated by hundreds of artworks.

The Calile Hotel

Feel the international glamour as you lounge by the Calile’s palm-fringed pool that would qualify at any Los Angeles or Miami property.

The Constance

Discover what a street-art hotel is at The Constance, greeting you with a striking front-facade mural.

Cafe surrounded by green vegetation at Howard Smith Wharves, straddling the CBD and Fortitude Valley
Don’t miss out on Howard Smith Wharves.

Kangaroo Point

It’s all about the view in Kangaroo Point, defined by its rising red cliffs. Make your way over to see Brisbane’s glittering skyline reflect in the snaking river from an array of wowing lookouts.

For a low angle, lay out a blanket and absorb the scenery at the base of Kangaroo Cliffs Park. But be sure to climb the stairs to the top of the escarpment, where a series of terraces reveal million-dollar views.

Atmospheric Kangaroo Point River Walk traces the Brisbane River, offering a wide range of recreational activities. Walking, running, biking, climbing and kayaking — take your pick.

At the suburb’s northern tip, enchanting Story Bridge spans the Brisbane River. Directly under the bridge, Captain Burke Park is another excellent place to soak up the exceptional view.

Best hotels in Kangaroo Point

Il Mondo Boutique Hotel

Pick from a variety of immaculate units, ranging from simple budget rooms to neat apartments with river view.

The Docks on Goodwin

This cute complex has apartments spread across two towers and appreciated facilities including a 25-metre pool, jacuzzi, barbecue areas, tennis court and gym.

Red-blooming tree in Kangaroo Point, with the towering Brisbane CBD across the river
Enjoy the CBD view from Kangaroo Point.

North Stradbroke & Moreton islands

Australia’s other capital cities might say that it isn’t fair, but Brisbane has paradisiacal tropical islands — where beach bums, nature lovers and snorkellers thrive — reachable within an easy ferry ride.

North Stradbroke Island floats just a 25-minute (passenger ferry) or 45-minute (vehicle ferry) off the coast. Here, paved main roads, plied by buses, allow you to tick off lovely beaches in budget-friendly style.

Although Moreton Island, a 75-minute ride away, doesn’t have any roads, it makes up for it by providing the ultimate Brisbane adventure. Four-wheel drive until you find a sand dune you can’t resist (won’t take long) and be mesmerised by the Tangalooma Wrecks.

Best hotels on North Stradbroke & Moreton islands

Whale Watch Ocean Beach Resort

From June to November, you can watch humpback whales pass by. Year round, sandy beaches and kangaroo-framed trails are reasons to book this Stradbroke Island gem.

Moreton Island Villas and Apartments

These oceanfront villas and apartments spread out along Moreton Island’s western shoreline, where dolphins regularly gather.

Frequently asked questions

Which part of Brisbane is the best?

The best area in Brisbane depends on your preferences. Choose from the CBD, South Bank, Fortitude Valley or Kangaroo Point — all great picks and connected by riverside promenades and the ferry system.

Where to stay in Brisbane for couples?

It’s hard not to feel in love walking along the Brisbane River. For a special occasion, consider Crystalbrook Vincent, not only by the river but also right at celebratory Howard Smith Wharves.

Where to stay in Brisbane with family?

South Bank appeals to families for the friendly vibe in the South Bank Parklands, complete with free swimming opportunities at Streets Beach, an abundance of shaded picnic areas and a huge Ferris wheel.

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