I’m a Brisbane girl through and through. Born and raised here, I know every curve of the winding river that cuts the city in half, the searing hot bitumen roads crisscrossing the CBD, the boulevards lined with spring jacaranda blossoms, and the heritage Queenslanders nestled in suburbia. So when I checked into Hotel X, Brisbane’s latest luxe offering in the heart of Fortitude Valley, I didn’t expect to be taken by surprise. But a whirlwind 24 hours of lavish living and decadent dining inspired me to see my hometown through fresh eyes – taking my boyfriend Max along for the (wildly glamorous) ride.
Hotel X makes major impact from the moment you spot the geometric white facade on bustling Brunswick Street. Once inside, you can’t help but feel like the lobby is a departure lounge and the elevator ride an international flight to a stylish new destination. It’s the Valley’s only five-star hotel and is comprised of 146 rooms, a rooftop pool, a gymnasium, a sky-high cocktail bar and a French restaurant. The hallways are lined in rich violet carpets, the low-level lighting adds just the right amount of drama, and the walls are dressed in eclectic, vibrant artworks by artist and photographer Justin Nicholas.
After we parked in the underground car park and checked in, Max and I only managed to leave the hotel once (and purely because we’re both caffeine addicts). We set off on the hunt for a good cup of coffee to kickstart our staycation, which didn’t take long as the hotel is surrounded by everything you could possibly need within walking distance. In the middle of Brisbane’s party district, there are indie cafes and art galleries to explore by day, and live music venues and dance clubs to take advantage of at night… if you can tear yourself away from your jaw-dropping suite, that is.
When I first opened the door to our sixth-floor King Deluxe suite, the curtains automatically slid open to reveal floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Valley. A sumptuous black and white bathroom included a spacious walk-in shower, styling accessories (a GHD hair straightener and Dyson hairdryer) and make-up mirror. Inspired by the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, the room itself was dressed in violet, black and gold and had an insanely comfortable king-sized bed and – best of all – a mini bar! Once we made note of which drinks we’d be shaking come cocktail hour (spoiler alert: we chose a honey-laced old fashioned and elderflower gimlet), our next stop was a no-brainer.
Take a quick scroll through the hotel’s Instagram page and you’ll soon discover that the flashy drawcard is the rooftop pool. It’s not hard to see why: beyond the water, a sweeping vista of the heritage-listed Story Bridge framed by the city skyline makes for a striking backdrop. We grabbed fresh white towels, nabbed beach chairs side by side and settled in for an afternoon of R&R. Max and I sipped on our coffees and laid back with our books, striped vintage umbrellas shading our bare skin from the relentless Queensland sunshine. It didn’t take long for that familiar holiday feeling to flood in – and for me to forget I was a mere 15-minute drive from home.
"Hotel X gave us all the best parts of an overseas city getaway on domestic grounds – without jetlag"
Following our lazy soak in the sun, we headed back to the sixth floor to make the most of our personal mini bar and prepare for the night ahead. We were invited to start our evening upstairs at the rooftop bar Iris Rooftop, a Mediterranean-inspired delight. Our next-level date night began with a round of salty Cantabrian anchovies and soda cocktails overlooking the glittering bridge and city skyscrapers.
Read more about our aperitivo with a view at Iris Rooftop here.
We stayed an hour at the pumping poolside bar, but there was an equally exciting booth at French restaurant Bisou Bisou calling our name, so we went from drinking in the sky to dining in France. Located in the foyer of Hotel X, the brasserie is all plush green-velvet chairs, marble tabletops and floral booths. The menu spins a modern twist on traditional French fare, pairing Moreton Bay oysters with mignonette sauce and Parisienne gnocchi with roasted pumpkin. When our final plates were cleared, we only needed to head upstairs to indulge in long, steaming showers before we succumbed to a food-induced sleep.
Read more about all-day French bistro Bisou Bisou here.
The following morning, after a return to Bisou Bisou for breakfast a la carte, our weekend getaway drew to a close – but Hotel X gave me a visitor’s view of Brisbane that will stick with me forever.
While you're there...
Shop at james street
A short stroll from the hotel, James Street is Brisbane’s style destination. The leafy street is brimming with designer stores and fine dining restaurants. Budget for the occasion, or save yourself from temptation and leave your wallet at home!
Drink at Howard Smith Wharves
If you can draw yourself away from Hotel X, the cocktail centre of the city awaits. Perched on the edge of the river beneath the Story Bridge, this dining and drinking precinct is a must-visit for craft beer and woodfired pizza on the water.
Discover laneways at Fortitude Valley
A handful of hidden laneways are dotted throughout the Valley within walking distance from the hotel, such as Bakery Lane, Winn Lane and California Lane. Discover cafes, art galleries and clothes stores tucked away in these laneways.