With borders to Queensland about to reopen to interstate travellers, this month the H4U Travel team are checking out Brisbane's collection of five Star hotels perfect for your next business trip or getaway to the Sunshine State's capital. This week we review Emporium Hotel South Bank - a boutique hotel in the heart of South Bank.
The Location & Welcome - 10/10
Located centrally in vibrant South Bank, the Emporium is perfectly located to take advantage of the large variety of local eateries and entertainment venues.
We check in early in the morning to drop our bags before a day of meetings and are quickly taken care of and provided an early check-in by the friendly front desk team. Our bag is whisked off to the room and we're back on our way.
The lobby itself is classy with comfortable seating areas and dual access to the street for rideshare/taxi drop offs and the small hotel driveway for those taking up the hotels valet parking option.
The Room - 9/10
We booked the hotels entry level room, a Vista King Suite for our mid-week stay. The immediate feeling as we walk into the room is one of luxury. It's spacious with a glamorous look and feel.
Our room features a comfy King Bed with a divan and side table. The spacious feel is certainly assisted by the large in room mirror with the imbedded smart TV.
If you're needing to get some work done, there's a standard hotel style work desk with good access to power outlets along with high speed Wifi.
The modern bathroom can be entered from the entry hall or bedroom. It's also a spacious area including twin basins, oversize shower and a range of deluxe amenities. You'll also find plenty of space for your baggage within the open plan wardrobe in the bathroom along with a couple of bathrobes.
Back in the room, there's a well stocked minibar with snacks and a wide range of alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages with glassware. Complimentary premium tea range, pod style coffee machine and two bottles of water are also included.
Our room overlooked the rear side of the hotel and was quite throughout our stay despite being in the busy South Bank area.
We were impressed to return from dinner to find our room had been turned down with a couple of chocolates on the pillows.
The large downside we found was an air conditioning system that's not able to effectively cool the room. Despite setting it to the lowest temperature we sweltered through a warm Brisbane evening in a hot/humid room. We did call downstairs and a friendly porter came up but advised that's the way the environmentally friendly air conditioning system functions so there wasn't anything he could do. Something to note for sleepers who prefer a cooler environment, in particular during the warmer summer months.
Facilities - 9/10
The Emporium has a stunning roof top infinity pool overlooking the Brisbane River & city skyline. You'll find some recliner seating along with three cabanas that can be booked (or we noted are included in a number of packages) during your stay. The pool area is bright, hot and perfect for hours lazing by the pool with arguably one of the best outlooks in the city.
As you'd expect from a hotel of this class you'll also find a range of services & facilities including an onsite gym, dry cleaning service, valet parking & concierge assistance.
Dining - 7.5/10
After arriving back at the Emporium from a busy day we were looking forward to dinner at the hotel's Signature restaurant, however despite being advertised on the website as being opened on the night we stayed it was unfortunately not.
From there we tried The Terrace on Level 21 for a light dinner and drinks however it was full and not accepting any further bookings - note that hotel guests aren't given any priority.
We found the Piano Bar on the Ground Floor which with live music seemed to be the perfect spot for a bite to eat, until the bar staff told us they couldn't order any food. Feeling defeated we headed to the front desk who understanding the lack of options very kindly had room service delivered to us in the Piano Bar, which along with a couple drinks and some great live music ended up being an enjoyable night out.
Speaking of room service, for those who prefer in suite dining there's a wide variety of options available 24/7 to enjoy in the comfort of your room.
Breakfast - 10/10
There's hotel breakfasts and then there's breakfast at Emporium. Stepping out of the elevator into The Terrace restaurant on Level 21 itself is impressive. Stylishly furnished, bathed in morning light and with breath-taking views over the Brisbane River.
Breakfast includes a small entrée plate for the table along with your selection from a wide range of options off the ala carte menu, along with barista coffee, tea selection, juices and water.
Our entrees consisted of a tasty granola yoghurt, fresh fruit salad and a small croissant, presented nicely on a platter for one.
For our main, we couldn't go past the Poached Eggs & Smashed Avocado with Persian feta and pine nuts which was the perfect start to our day.
Breakfast can be included in a number of packages or if not is available for $35 per person.
Overall - 8.5/10
The Emporium is a modern and somewhat glamorous five star hotel where it's difficult to not feel at home. For those looking at a South Bank location, the Emporium is just minutes walk from the Mater & Children's hospital complex, seconds away from nearby corporate offices and perfectly located to explore all of South Bank's dining and entertainment options.
We found the staff throughout to be engaging and personable with a particular mention to the front deck and concierge teams who were extra helpful.
We recommend that you check the dining options available at check-in so you can secure that all important Terrace booking early in the day and hopefully we had a room with a more temperamental air conditioner then most. With large well appointed rooms, beautiful infinity pool experience and a gourmet breakfast with a view, the Emporium is hard to go past.
More about our reviews
The H4U Travel team care about ensuring we provide independent reviews. Our reviewer stayed at Emporium Southbank during December 2021 at their own cost of AUD$236 per night including breakfast. As always, the property was unaware we were conducting a review. All images were taken onsite, during the stay.