The Luxury Traveller's Guide to Brisbane to Inspire Your Next Indulgent Escape
June 28, 2022
From helicopter wine tours to luxury hotel stays, there are plenty of ways to live the high life in Brisbane.
Brisbane is a playground for those seeking out a city escape on the luxurious side. The city is now home to an increasingly impressive selection of elegant stays, exceptional dining, and experiences to be utterly extra.
Think: Nordic degustation dinners, a wine tour via helicopter, the city’s most exclusive spa treatments, and bedding down in a riverside suite where luxury and sustainability meet.
With the help of Visit Brisbane, we’ve done the groundwork to plan your perfect escape if you’re ready to truly treat yourself. Sit back and relax. You won’t need to lift a finger.
To be spoilt for choice: Agnes
Step inside Agnes’ three-level space and you have a trio of options. Those keen on a drink can head downstairs to the wine bar or up to the rooftop. You won’t need a booking either — both bars are walk-in only. You can, however, reserve a spot for Agnes’ main dining room where the menu changes seasonally.
Try dishes like scallop doughnuts with green onion cream, and lamb ribs with sesame whey caramel as snacks, plus beef tartare, clams with pork and fennel, and an oyster mushroom and potato sourdough miso dish for starters. Mains span the likes of expertly cooked carnivore bait like smoked lamb neck, wood-roasted duck and dry-aged Angus sirloin, while charred mango is a fittingly Queensland inclusion on the dessert list.
For a Nordic degustation: Elska
Elska is an Old Nordic word for ‘love’, and this gorgeous degustation fine diner exudes it in every element. From the warm, inviting Scandi design to the lovingly crafted bites, the intimate New Farm space draws diners in on an emotional level. Book for a dinner sitting or long lunch and enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience served up by owners Nathan and Freja Dunnell, with wines picked and poured by house sommelier, James Horsfall.
Nordic culinary traditions are referenced through fermentation and preservation in the menu, and in the signature cocktails, while dishes with names like Pumpkin Oddment and Pine Forest reflect the hyper-seasonal menu that champions local produce, farmers, foragers and hunters.
For locally sourced produce: Essa
This Fortitude Valley restaurant is the latest venture from ex-Gauge chef Phil Marchant, who has brought a focus on local produce and harvest-driven dishes to a striking split-level space just off James Street. On the menu you’ll find dishes that endeavour to pair the familiar with the surprising, as well as a big focus on raw, pickled, smoked and wood-fired meals. Essa offers a set menu for $94 a head (a requirement if you’re dining in a group of eight or more). Drinks-wise, wine and cocktails sit pride of place with both lists curated to pair perfectly with the restaurant’s dishes.
For front row Story Bridge views: Crystalbrook Vincent
Where luxury meets sustainability in a five-star riverside experience. In the buzzing waterfront precinct of Howard Smith Wharves, Crystalbrook Vincent champions #ResponsibleLuxury. What does that mean? Bold and bright designer suites with river views or lush green nature walls. Up-cycled fittings and furnishings alongside golden statement pieces and original prints by acclaimed Australian artist, Vincent Fantauzzo.
You don’t have to go far for a seriously good meal. At restaurant Polpetta you have leisurely Rome-style dining and a menu that showcases rustic flavours and local produce as the stars of the show. Meanwhile, The Fiume rooftop pool and bar features live DJ sets and sustainably-sourced snacks with the Story Bridge in full view.
For an urban Californian-inspired resort: The Calile Hotel
This glamorous 175-room destination refers to itself as ‘Australia’s first urban resort’. Going for a splash in the central pool, lazing around in cabanas or on a sun lounge and dining on the hotel’s outdoor deck are all on the agenda. So is hanging out at the spa — which is also open to the general public — and just making the most of Brisbane’s weather.
The hotel’s architecture is all curved shapes, neutral tones with warm pinks, and a sense of flow – think open-air spaces and breezeways, natural ventilation and plants aplenty. In the rooms and suites, guests will find oak furniture, day beds for afternoon naps, luxe linen robes and a mini bar stocked from local suppliers — there’s even mini cocktails from neighbouring restaurant sAme sAme so you can find your favourite flavours ahead of dinner.
For riverfront snoozing: W Brisbane
This bright, eclectic five-star hotel boasts views of South Bank, premier cultural precinct, starring the Wheel of Brisbane, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art. The hotel’s 312 designer rooms are decked out with ten-gallon drum baths and in-suite cocktail stations. There’s also an onsite spa and a fourth-level deck that features a zebra-striped pool with an adjacent bar and ample chairs and lounges for going into full incognito mode.
For dining, The W Brisbane is home to Queensland’s first Three Blue Ducks restaurant, a spacious 150-seat space with views of the river which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with the kitchen overseen by chefs Mark LaBrooy, Darren Robertson and Andy Allen. You’re also spoilt for choice with a range of dining options just downstairs including Italian, Thai and Japanese cuisines.
For a luxe spa experience: Kailo
All your beauty and wellness desires in one glorious temple, right in the heart of Fortitude Valley at the Calile Hotel. Kailo is the ultimate spa getaway offering an extensive menu of treatments with any massage, wrap, lift, wax and sculpt you could wish for, as well as cosmetic medical treatments including vitamin therapies and the famed ‘vampire facial’. Skin sessions begin with a scientific-grade analysis to determine your bespoke Biologique Recherche, SkinCeutical or DMK Facial treatments. If a one-off session isn’t enough, you can invest in your wellness with coaching via the Kailo Well programs, and purchase their therapeutic beauty products.
For an elevated wine tour: Elite Helicopters Wine Tour
Queensland has some of Australia’s best wineries. You’ll find world-class drops across the Scenic Rim and South-East Queensland. How can you reach the best of the best within a one-day wine tour? By helicopter, of course.
Forget the wine tour minivan – this is the next-level luxury you aficionados of fine wine have yearned for. An executive charter helicopter will take you to the region’s top wineries, offering unparalleled sky-high vistas between your four premium sip-stops. A bottle of wine from each winery is inclusive, as is a gourmet lunch. Have a famed vineyard you’ve been dying to see? An old favourite worth the pilgrimage? Let them know, and they’ll do their best to make your dreams come true.
For designer shopping galore: James Street
James Street is synonymous with high fashion, excellent outdoor dining and beautiful bars. Indulge yourself at Libertine Parfumerie, MAC PRO and Mecca for skin and beauty products, or unwind at a spa (including Kailo), or pick up some high-end drip from a master jeweller.
In fashion, you’ll find both longstanding brands like Witchery as well as more boutique local labels like Calexico, Bassike and Gail Sorronda. You can even indulge in a personal shopping experience with Spree With Me — your expert guide to Brisbane’s shopping scene. Peruse the timeless elegance of designer furnishings and homewares with Scandi style at The Modern, exclusive tableware at Wheel&Barrow, and tiny delights in the Museum of Small Things. Begin at breakfast and pick up pastries at Jocelyn’s Provisions. Graze on high-class snacks at Bar Tano, Gerard’s Bar, Cru or sexy cocktails at LOS, or go all-out at SK Steak & Oyster. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness never spent a weekend on James Street.
Ready to plan a luxe trip to Brisbane? For more information, head to the Visit Brisbane website.