James Street in Brisbane has long been a shopping-and-eating destination, but with the opening of The Calile hotel in spring 2018, there’s now no reason to leave the precinct. Joining the likes of Zimmermann, Lee Mathews and independent boutiques Camargue and Calexico, The Calile has the same white-brick facade that lends this street its chic, urban-resort vibe.
The bright-and-breezy feeling continues inside thanks to light, open corridors, a floorplan that centres around the stunning swimming pool, and balconies that jut from each and every room. It’s clear the space has been designed with one eye on social media — the pastel colour palette and vast expanse of marble, oak, cork and brass in the nine suites and 166 rooms is infinitely Instagrammable. But it’s a case of form meets function, as the rooms are also cleverly designed to fit maximum amenities, from a daybed to a very generous wardrobe and a full bathroom (the suites come equipped with deep tubs that are quite heavenly).
The generally relaxed feeling is enhanced by the city itself – Brisbane may be Australia’s third largest city, but it has a laidback demeanour that gives the impression of being on permanent holiday, and the locals are friendly, unhurried and genuinely helpful. Much as you might be tempted to never leave the poolside cabanas at the Calile compound, it’s worth the 10-minute drive into the city centre to visit the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, which typically hosts an intriguing mix of contemporary, Indigenous and Asian art. Or take an easy 25-minute stroll down to the Brisbane Powerhouse, an arts centre that hosts theatre, film screenings, writers’ festivals and more. The broad balcony overlooking the river is also a lovely place to sit with a book and enjoy the breeze.
The fact that everything you need is on-site at The Calile, from food (the modern Greek at Hellenika is a must-try) to fashion (hello, Bassike). If you’re tempted to venture further afield, Jamie’s Espresso Bar is tucked into a side street across the road and serves coffee that’s strong and very good. For lunch or dinner, nearby Cru combines an impeccable menu with welcoming service.
Written by Michelle Bateman