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Crystalbrook Collection Has Given Howard Smith Wharves' Riverside Hotel an Eco-Conscious Revamp

Carved into the cliff beneath the Story Bridge, the six-level Crystalbrook Vincent now marks the Crystalbrook Collection chain's first Brisbane hotel.
By Sarah Ward
August 31, 2021
By Sarah Ward
August 31, 2021

When the Howard Smith Wharves precinct launched underneath the Story Bridge just a couple of years back, revitalising a part of Brisbane's inner city and giving Brisbanites a new riverside hangout spot, it welcomed a number of exciting openings in short succession. Felons Brewing Co set up its brewery; restaurants and bars such as Mr Percival's, Yoko, Greca and Stanley started serving up drinks and delicious dishes; and casual eateries like Goodtimes Gelateria and Betty's Burgers opened as well. Also joining the fold: a brand new place to stay.

Originally, when HSW's resident hotel launched, it was called The Fantauzzo. First announced in 2015 and opening its doors in early 2019, it became Brisbane's second Art Series Hotel in the process. A lot can change in a few years, though, as we've all experienced during the pandemic — and now this waterside place to stay has shifted owners and focus.

If you're looking for a riverside staycation spot, you'll now be staying at the Crystalbrook Vincent, which marks the Crystalbrook Collection chain's first Brisbane hotel. As the new name makes plain, the venue has retained its link to photographer Vincent Fantauzzo, and still features more than 180 of his works across over 500 prints (yes, some pieces pop up more than once). But, under Crystalbrook's banner, it has now adopted a eco-conscious approach, including banning single-use plastics and offering waste-free bathrooms.

"Our initial focus is to elevate the hotel's focus on sustainability. We're introducing a single-use plastic-free environment and 100-percent waste-free bathrooms where everything is reusable, recyclable or biodegradable," said Crystalbrook CEO Geoff York.

"We're working to minimise our food carbon footprint by ensuring that at least 80 percent of all produce served within the hotel is sourced within a three-hour radius and we're embracing technology to reduce the need for waste — such as paperless check-in and check-out and in-room tablet control centres," he continued.

So, if you stay at the six-level, 166-room hotel — or frequent Fiume, its rooftop bar, and Polpetta, its onsite restaurant — you'll be doing so at a place that is highly committed to local produce. Guests will spot recycled and upcycled materials used throughout the venue, such as key cards made from recycled wood, coat hangers constructed from recycled paper and toothbrushes made from sugar cane and cornstarch. And, the hotel is now cash-free, and has cut is use of paper down by 90 percent.

As well as all that artwork from Fantauzzo — who has won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, the Archibald Packing Room Prize, and the Archibald People's Choice Award a whopping four times, and has committed everyone from Heath Ledger and Matt Moran to Brandon Walters and Julia Gillard to his canvas — the hotel still boasts plenty of its standout original features. That's what happens when you carve a hotel into the cliffs beneath the Story Bridge, give it mighty fine views of the city and the Brisbane river, and add a rooftop pool as well.

Crystalbrook Vincent now sits alongside Crystalbrook's other properties in Cairns, Byron Bay, Newcastle and Sydney — and, if you book in a staycation before Sunday, October 31 for stays up until Monday, December 20, and you're fully vaccinated, the chain is giving free room upgrades.

Find the Crystalbrook Vincent at Howard Smith Wharves, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane. Visit the hotel website for further details and to make a booking.

Published on August 31, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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