Quirky new hotels for Queensland’s booming south

Art Series Hotels has announced a $60 million flagship hotel to be carved into the cliffs beneath Brisbane’s Storey Bridge.

The group’s eighth art-inspired property will anchor the Howard Smith Wharves development and is due for opening in March next year.

Arts Series Hotels was one of the first truly unique hotel offerings when launched in 2009 by the Deague family, with each property inspired by an outstanding Australian artist and including original artworks and prints on hall and guest room walls.

Now owned by Accor, the Brisbane hotel will be the first under Mantra’s management.

Described as “the most luxurious Art Series property yet”, the hotel will feature 166 guest rooms with contemporary furnishings and original artwork, although its signature namesake artist has not yet been revealed.

The property will offer four restaurants and bars across its six storeys, a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the Brisbane River and CBD, a gym and conference rooms.

AccorHotels Pacific COO, Simon McGrath, said: “Art Series Hotels is celebrated for offering guests a unique art-inspired hotel experience like no other.

“The stunning new flagship hotel at Howard Smith Wharves is a strong sign of Accor’s belief in the much-loved brand and will kick start our plans for future growth across Australia and New Zealand.”

The Howard Smith Wharves are being redeveloped to encompass a brewery, parklands and picnic areas, two large-scale event spaces and a number of waterfront restaurants and bars.

According to architects SJB, the “natural tones and textures” of the Art Series hotel’s exterior will “blend into the cliff face, its geometry referencing the fragmented cliff shapes and the highly engineered bridge”.

The lobby features a double-height wall of glass while the guest rooms enjoy “spectacular city views across the Brisbane River or of cascading greenery and the sculptured rock face”.

Art Series will release further details, including the hotel’s namesake artist, later this month. Guests will be able to make reservations from November 30.

Some 80 kms south, IHG has launched the world’s first Voco – a hotel brand with some very distinct characteristics.

The 389-room Voco Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise boasts exclusive features including onsite beehives producing honey for various uses throughout the hotel.

The public spaces of Voco Gold Coast include a Social House Café – a bar and lounge for guests and locals.

And the property has made significant efforts to go green, using refillable dispensers for soap and committing to a partnership with Gold Coast City Council to ensure all kitchen waste is recycled.

“We are proud to be the first owner of a Voco-branded hotel in the world and to have worked closely with IHG to bring this new brand and service culture to the Gold Coast, making the high-quality refurbishment a reality in only five months,” said Paul Salter, SB&G Group managing director, in a statement.

Other elements include two swimming pools, gym facilities, L’Aqua Day Spa, three restaurants and 800 sqm of meeting space.

The opening of Voco Gold Coast will be followed by hotel openings in Solihull and Cardiff in the UK. With six signings to date, plus four properties that will rebrand as part of a UK portfolio deal, IHG expects more than 15 signings by year’s end, including three in Victoria.

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