Though not a destination that’s likely at the top of your must-hit list, there’s no denying that Brisbane is shaping up to give Sydney a run for its (tourism) money in 2019. Besides its growing culinary scene and easy access to some of the Gold Coast’s best beaches, the city has welcomed a crop of stylish new hotels this year—with the W Hotel Brisbane seducing the party crowd and the Ovolo Incholm culling those who want to dial down the energy, but up the design factor. And with last month’s opening of Ovolo the Valley, the design-focused boutique hotel brand, is expanding its well-heeled footprint, and giving us one more reason to book a trip down under.
Located in the vibrant Fortitude Valley neighborhood, the 103-room hotel takes plenty of cues from its sister property just 10 minutes southeast. Like Incholm, every corner of the Valley is Instagram friendly; though with a decidedly playful twist—think a slick rooftop pool complete with a pink flamingo raft and public spaces that are a riot of color and pattern—reflective of the creatively-minded Fortitude Valley outside. Inside, the guestrooms ditch the restraint that those at the Inchlom have—forgoing tranquil whites for bold floral wallpaper (all custom designed for the property) and scalloped jewel-tone headboards. Though all of the five room categories fall into step with some of the city’s top hotels, we’d recommend checking into a Valley or Rockstar suite: the former features its own private top-floor balcony for some of the best views of the Brisbane skyline from anywhere in the city, and the latter comes complete with freestanding soaking tubs, large entertainment spaces, and original art by top local artists.
Before heading out into the city to explore the local art scene at TW Fine Art and get some shopping in on the lush St. James street, guests at the Valley can stop downstairs at Societe for a quick breakfast or mid-day flat white. A full restaurant led by local celebrity chef Justin North is set to open in early 2019, but in the meantime, guests shouldn’t miss snagging some Thai food at the always-buzzing Longtime, or heading across the river to Camp Hill for dinner at the local favorite Cinco Bistro.