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Surfers Paradise Will Soon Be Home to a Challenge Room Hotel That You Can Play (and Drink) Your Way Through

Taking design cues from 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, this game-filled bar is setting up shop underneath Cali Beach.
By Sarah Ward
October 17, 2022
By Sarah Ward
October 17, 2022

Take an everyday pastime, then add drinks — so far, that's been Funlab's kidulting way. It worked with bowling, as Strike has shown. It proved a smash at the chain's Holey Moley mini golf bars. With arcade and carnival games, it's been a hit at Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq and B Lucky and Sons as well.

And, when the brand opened its first Hijinx Hotel in Sydney this winter, the same idea met escape rooms — or challenge rooms, as is Funlab's spin. This summer, Queenslanders will also get to experience the latter, with Hijinx launching its first Sunshine State location.

Setting up shop on the Gold Coast from Friday, December 9, Hijinx will reside at Piazza on the Boulevard, underneath Cali Beach on Elkhorn Ave in Surfers Paradise. Also set to settle in, in what'll be a 3279-square-metre precinct with a capacity for 410 guests: fellow Funlab brands Holey Moley and Archie Brothers, for tapping around 18 pop culture-themed greens and getting a sideshow experience.

The big drawcard is Hijinx Hotel, of course. If you're new to the concept, it's basically an OTT nostalgia bomb. Willy Wonka would've been proud to dream it up, if the fictional character branched out beyond making chocolate and candy — and the Gold Coast site will come with ten game rooms filled with challenges.

When is a hotel not really a hotel? When it's this hotel-themed bar that decks out its interiors like somewhere you can stay — taking a few cues from Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shining's Overlook Hotel, in fact — but doesn't actually include slumbering in its rooms. And when is an escape room bar not at all an escape room bar? When it takes the escape room concept of theming different spaces — those aforementioned hotel-style rooms — and decks them out with challenges instead.

Yes, the premise behind Hijinx Hotel needs a bit of explaining. It also gleans inspiration from all those supremely Instagrammable pop-up installations that include ball pits, but this one is sticking around southeast Queensland permanently. Plus, it'll jam in bars for cocktail-sipping opportunities, nod to New York hotels in its facade, and overflow with homages to movies and board games from the 80s and 90s.

Escapism is clearly the name of the game here, and partying like you would've before you were old enough to drink alcohol — but with the hard stuff definitely on offer. Wondering what that entails? If Surfers Paradise's Hijinx Hotel mimics its Sydney counterpart, you'll enter via the faux hotel lobby bar that's full of colour and surrealist touches. Instead of merely checking in, though, you'll down cocktails in a neon-lit space and hang out in booths.

As for the not-quite-hotel rooms themselves, you'll gain access by heading to reception t0 pick up a swipe card. And if you're wondering about the theming, a few Sydney faves will be heading north, including the Adore-a-ball, Scrambled, Threenicorn and candy ball pit rooms. Yes, the Big-style piano room with a giant keyboard across the floor is included.

There'll also be a ball toss room, one dedicated to television, another that's all about basketball and yet another that's devoted to Rubik's cubes.

In total, the entire space — encompassing Hijinx Hotel, Holey Moley and Archie Brothers — will feature 72 arcade machines, six bowling lanes, ten game rooms and 18 holes of golf. Also a highlight: those three bars serving up creative cocktails, and breaking up all that kidulting.

Find Hijinx Hotel — and Archie Brothers and Holey Moley — at 21a Elkhorn Ave, Surfers Paradise, from Friday, December 9. For further information in the interim, keep an eye on the Hijinx Hotel website.

Images: Hijinx Hotel Sydney.

Published on October 17, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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