With 17 hectares of riverside parklands to call its own South Bank is one of Brisbane’s most popular precincts.
Renowned for its expansive green spaces, beach-like inner-city swimming facilities and bustling events programme, the area also attracts foodies and offers tourists a front-row seat to the beautiful Brisbane River.
Unlike Howard Smith Wharves, the Queensland capital’s newest development that’s positioned beneath the Story Bridge, South Bank has long been a tourist drawcard and recently welcomed a flashy new resident - the Emporium South Bank - a hotel that literally takes luxury to new heights.
Whether it’s taking in the glistening lights of the River City into the evening, capturing the sun as it peeps over the horizon at dawn, or giving your taste buds an explosion of Australian flavours, there’s plenty to like about this swanky five-star establishment.
Offering a new standard in luxury, the 148-room property’s calling card is The Terrace, the only rooftop establishment in the neighbourhood. Aside from the incredible panoramic views, the speccy retractable roof and luxe contemporary stylish lounge area, Level 21 of the classy property also boasts a 23-metre infinity edge pool, ideal for those sky-high selfies and Instagram-worthy snaps.
Within walking distance of the parklands, cinemas and restaurants as well as the convention and exhibition centre and the ever-popular Queensland Performing Arts Centre guests will no doubt revel in the in-house facilities that are rich, luxurious and comfortable.
Of the seven suites available for booking - Vista, River City, Exquisite, Emporium, Poolside Cabana, Accessible and Frangipani - I’m staying in a River City suite. Just as it sounds, the room affords me spectacular views of the river and parklands below from my cute balconette.
Far more spacious than I expected, I am impressed by the beautiful interiors. I’ve got a luxurious ensuite with soaking tub and separate shower and toilet, dual sink set-up and luxe Molten Brown toiletries. Elevating the quality of the wet area further is the Smartglass panelling at the back of the tub that changes from clear to a frosted appearance at the flick of a switch - a modern functional privacy inclusion.
Equally impressive are the in-room features and self-indulgent inclusions I’m provided, like the Bose sound Soundbar, the 55-inch LG mirror television, the handmade bronze feature wet bar area and my sensationally comfortable Sealy Dynasty king bed and accompanying ‘Exquisite Sleeps’ pillow menu. Dining-wise Signature is the zenith here.
The intimate restaurant that’s decked out in blush pinks and burnt orange tones serves a selection of contemporary cuisine that celebrates the best of Australian produce. Innovative and flexible in its approach to food, the menu is seasonal with dishes like kangaroo tartare ($22 [Dhs54]) and Darling Downs Wagyu beef sirloin ($54 [Dhs134]) proving popular with diners.
Belle Époque is the hotel’s Parisian-style cafe that serves up tasty patisserie-style breakfast and bistro lunch options alongside some of the finest tarts and macarons around. Entry is via the street which encourages foot traffic to check it out.
When it comes to a pre-dinner drinks and late evening beverage spot or a breakfast with a view, The Terrace trumps all else with guests offered a north-easterly aspect from their rooftop perch. Start the day with a small, classic buffet-style breakfast that includes cold cuts, fresh fruits, cheeses and savoury options alongside hot selections like scrambled eggs, omelettes, grilled tomato and mushrooms. There are a la carte options to choose from as well.
The Piano Bar just off the lobby offers stylish environs from which to enjoy a drink and as an added bonus there is live music in the evenings. For a sophisticated high tea option that’s available here too from $55 (Dhs137) per person.
When it comes to business and function facilities, the Emporium has that covered too. There’s a selection of bespoke options on site, the hotel offering a good-sized boardroom for hire as well as an attractive pillarless ballroom and Belle Époque is the ideal space for private functions as and when required.
Considered the South Bank centre of now, since opening the Emporium has attracted some well-deserved buzz within hospitality circles at home and internationally. It has without a doubt the ideal place to enjoy a few luxury filled days in the heart of one of Australia’s most popular cities.
Image courtesy of Instagram/emporiumhotels