While COVID may have restricted our international holiday plans, as Australians we’re lucky to still have many options for luxurious getaways. The Calile Hotel, in Brisbane’s James Street offers just that – a luxurious stay-cation. We may have our international borders closed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an international experience.
About the Calile Hotel
The Calile’s white brick building, draped in vines and highlighted with palm trees sets the subtropical theme. Locally designed, the Calile Hotel has taken into account Brisbane’s climate. The hotel’s communal areas consider an open-air sustainable design. While the rooms are naturally ventilated taking advantage of Brisbane’s year-round liveable climate.
Other warm weather cities have influenced the vibe. Think Miami, Palm Springs, Rio de Janerio and Mexico City. Arches are a common design feature being incorporated into doorways, windows and mirrors through the Calile precinct. Scalloped-edges extend throughout the hotel from balconies, furniture and even the open air brick work.
What makes the Calile special?
The Calile Hotel is quite possibly Australia’s only urban resort right now. If that has to be debated, it’s easily Australia’s best urban resort. A destination in itself, a location in its’ own right, the Calile Hotel is something very special. While a lot of Australian hotels are geared towards business guests, the Calile offers a luxurious Brisbane retreat for holiday-makers looking to unwind by the pool and experience some of the city’s best dining experiences.
Where is the Calile Hotel?
The Calile Hotel is located in Brisbane’s James Street. A street known for fine dining, boutique shopping and the fabulous Calile Hotel! Within the suburb of Fortitude Valley, the Calile Hotel is just outside the Brisbane CBD. This makes it convenient location to access all the CBD has to offer but far enough away from the high-rise, urban jungle and noise of city traffic.
What to do at the Calile?
The Calile Hotel is geared for those who are looking to unwind. With that in mind, there are a variety of services on offer.
Pool and cabanas
The pool’s sage green and white decor will allow you to feel as though you’ve just arrived in a luxe Euro villa. Follow the sun and alternate between cabana and the sun lounges. Order drinks and food from the Hellenika menu to complete your Calile experience.
Kalio Wellness Medispa
The Kalio Wellness Medispa is described as the perfect sensory escape to decompress, rejuvenate and revitalise. With everything from beauty, wellness, skin and medical treatments there is plenty of offer to help you disconnect and unwind.
Feeling the need to burn some energy? The Calile gymnasium is available for all hotel guests. For something a little more personalised, personal trainers with various fitness backgrounds are available to help you tone, strengthen and destress.
For those who need space to work or for a breather, the hotel’s library offers a quiet space to work and retreat.
Where to eat during your stay?
The Calile Hotel is a foodie’s wonderland. You are truly spoilt for choice and would be cheating if you didn’t try the Calile’s complete ensemble of high end dining experiences. It’s highly recommended that you book your dining experience in advance. Right now, during COVID that means booking at least a week out to avoid missing out.
The Lobby Bar
The Lobby Bar is bustling in the morning with hotel guests for breakfast and with locals passing through for their morning coffee. With vines draping down the front windows, overlooking the Calile courtyard, the Lobby Bar has an incredible vibe. Sit at the bar for evening cocktail or grab a table outside for breakfast, lunch, dinner or every meal in between.
The Calile’s Steak and Oyster Bar is the ultimate fine dining experience. Wait for your table at the bar with a cocktail in hand listening to the harmonious sounds from the classical piano.
Start your meal with freshly shucked oysters moving on to seafood cocktails or raw or hot seafood entrees. For mains it’s the difficult decision between steak or fish (or try both between you and a friend!). Choose your sides ensuring you pick at least two to three from the potato menu (not kidding). The romanoff potato is particularly delicious, baked with goats cheese and chives. Finish your meal with one of the many desserts – the blood orange tart and chocolate layered cake were particularly delicious.
Overlooking the Calile Hotel pool, Hellenika is one of Brisbane’s hottest venues. Dine alfresco style in the restaurant, or with casual light snacks by the pool. Hellenika’s Greek inspired menu offers plenty of crowd pleasers from their fresh greek salad, kalamari, fresh local fish and seafood. But the crowd pleasers and iconically Hellenika dish would have to be the zuchinni chips – so light you’d sweat it was potato!
Hellenika’s cocktail menu will leave you struggling to make a choice – but I recommend the Sparkler.
Previously Longtime Thai, sAme sAme is a Fortitude Valley favourite. This modern Thai venue is set over two levels in a light and airy space opening out onto Ada Lane.
Expect all your favourite thai classics from baos, massaman curry and pad see ew. For large groups there are banquet options.
Deemed the best gelato in Australia, Gelato Messina does not disappoint. Australian made with Italian roots, Gelato Messina began its’ journey in Sydney. With nothing but the best ingredients, Messina produce their own milk, source the world’s best hazelnuts from Italy and purchased their own chocolate making machine from Italy.
Gelato Messina has 35 standard flavours, and five rotating weekly special it’s perfectly acceptable to have multiple a day to work your way through the menu.
Jocelyn’s Provisions is one of Australian’s most renowned bakers of fine cakes, bread and pastries. Made with the finest ingredients and a local Brisbane company, Jocelyn’s Provisions will cure any sweet tooth’s cravings.
For those nights you don’t want to leave the room, you’ll be grateful that the excellent food options extend to your room. You are well catered for with the breakfast and dinner classics. Breakfast has options like waffles, granola or eggs or way. For lunch and dinner you’re spoilt for choice between healthy salads, roast vegetables, burgers, steak or fish. There’s always a cheese platter or cheeky dessert too if you’re in the mood.
Where to shop during your stay?
During your stay, you’ll be able to make use the ‘Friends of the Calile’ discount. At selected James Street businesses you’ll receive 10% off. Some of my favourite Friends of the Calile businesses to take advantage of include Assembly Label, Lululemon, Mister Zimi, Seed Heritage, Witchery, Pottery Barn, West Elm to name a few.
Must do’s in the broader James Street Precinct
If you choose to leave the hotel during your stay there are a few places you should check out.
These gluten free, baked not fried pieces of deliciousness are described as wholesome goodness. Nodo donuts are simply that ‘no-dough’ 😉
Treat yourself! For a holistic hair care experience, the team at Lyla Clare will be sure to leave you with drop dead gorgeous hair. My go-to colour stylist for more than a decade, Kell is a master stylist bringing out those dreamy-creamy blondes for lived in hair. Regrowth-be gone!
New Farm Park
As one of Brisbane’s oldest parks, New Farm Park makes for a great place to disconnect from the urban jungle. Set on over 37 acres, the park features a rose garden established in 1948, rainforest and a range of mature and recently planted trees from figs, palms and jacarandas. Jacaranda season is well worth a visit in October/November.
Jump on a City Cat to take a tour of the Brisbane River. Places of interest worth spending a bit more time if you aren’t familiar with Brisbane would be Southbank, Brisbane City, Bulimba or Kangaroo Point.
COMING SOON – read my Brisbane post for an extensive itinerary of things to do and see in Brisbane.
What room to choose?
A few things you should know is that there are quite a few room options to choose from. While each room is more like a personal oasis than a hotel, there are a few differences to be mindful of before booking.
Of the 175 rooms, nine are suites which all overlook the pool. The suites are finished in rose marble with gold brass mirrors, tap ware and towel railings. These rooms also feature circular bathtubs (see above). The urban view rooms are finished in jade marble with brass finishings. Similar to the suite rooms, cork flooring extends up the wall meeting a lush timber trim.
Enjoy your stay
While the architecture and design has clearly considered every last detail, this also extends to the staff. Each staff member is focused on ensuring your stay is one to remember.