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Emporium Hotel South Bank: A new sense of style

Emporium Hotel South Bank: A new sense of style

The face of Brisbane’s hotel scene is rapidly changing, with no opening more anticipated than Emporium Hotel South Bank. Cathy Wagstaff is among the first to check in.

Emporium Hotels has been leading the vanguard for luxury hotels in Brisbane since the opening of its Fortitude Valley address in 2007, and I am delighted to report that Anthony and Francine John’s boutique hotel brand has done it again. The flagship South Bank property is an innovation, with its extraordinary attention to detail, culinary concepts and rooftop bar, the first of its kind to open to the public in South Bank.

The official unveiling

Australia’s newest five-star hotel is unabashedly opulent. The sleek building soars 21 storeys above the Anthony John Group’s Southpoint precinct, offering views over the Brisbane River. Elements from the original property have been carried over, including the antique stained-glass Parisian shopfront, which now features in a private dining room. Belle Époque serves pastries and bistro favourites, while Piano Bar promises to be a chic destination for cocktails.

One of the highlights of the 143-suite hotel is The Terrace, the rooftop bar with polished surfaces, living ‘green walls’, backlit floor tiles and a white onyx bar. Two retractable roofs offer full, partial or no exposure to the elements. The 12-metre infinity pool adds to the tropical feeling, complete with chrome shower in the shape of a palm tree.

All in the detail

At every turn, there is a new opportunity to appreciate the attention that the Johns have lavished on their hotel. Even entry-level suites feature impressive 55-inch mirror TVs with exquisite gilded edges, hand-crafted bronze wet bars, Eurocave eight-bottle wine fridges and privacy switch glass in the bathroom. Premier Suite guests are also offered Maserati Levante VIP transfers.

As might be expected for a hotel within walking distance of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the meeting facilities are state-of-the-art. Husband-and-wife team, executive chef Chris Norman and executive sous chef (pastry) Alex Liddle, oversee all the hotel’s culinary offerings, including events. A highlight of my stay is dinner in The Penthouse, an exclusive private event space with panoramic views of Brisbane’s CBD. We dine on Murray cod, Eugowra quail and succulent Mottainai lamb. The meal finishes with Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus, Opalys chocolate cream, apple terrine and Mt Tamborine avocado, which is hailed as one of the finest desserts guests have ever tasted.

With such dedication to quality and innovation, Emporium Hotel South Bank is already well on its way to picking up where its Fortitude Valley predecessor left off, carrying the mantle for boutique luxury in Brisbane.


Emporium Hotel Fortitude Valley was one of the country’s most awarded hotels, named Australia’s Leading Boutique Hotel at the World Travel Awards from 2015 to 2018. The hotel was sold to Ovolo Hotels in January 2018. The new hotel is located within the Anthony John Group’s Southpoint mixed-use development, making it an ideal option for business travellers. Leisure travellers will also appreciate the proximity to Queensland Museum, QAGOMA, The Wheel of Brisbane and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Room view at Emporium Hotel South Bank


This article originally appeared in volume 31 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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