I can honestly say when I first spotted the exterior of The Calile Hotel during construction I was underwhelmed. Little did I know that beyond those pale brick walls something very different was soon to arrive in Brisbane.
Like my fellow travel writers, I mistakenly described this urban resort as something out of Santa Monica, South Beach or Palm Springs. No, this is the new Brisbane. While shaking off those unfortunate nicknames from its recent past, Brissy has suddenly found its sub-tropical mojo.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Designed by Brisbane architects, Richard and Spence, the hotel is cozily wrapped in fashion flagships including Bassike, Dion Lee and Calexico Man amongst others. On arrival, it seems most of the guests look like they walked straight out of a fashion shoot.
The welcome is low-key and the combined reception and Lobby Bar is minimalist with only a few carefully chosen objet. The seamless entry from Brisbane’s chic shopping mecca James Street is somehow stately and relaxed.
The entry doesn’t give too much away with most necessary mini bar accoutrements hidden behind sleek cabinetry. There is a wet bar with snacks supplied by local brands. The first of two TVs gives you free movies and the chance to Chromecast your own.
The floor is cork and the rug wool. The surfaces are each different – cool, warm, tactile or soft. A long, narrow, pale pink marble table leads you to the Juliet balcony’s sliding doors.
But look left and that’s when the oohs and aahs begin. A nearly luminescent round bath is front and centre with the sumptuous bed beyond. To one side is the open oak wardrobe and on the other double marble sinks. The robes like the staff uniforms are monogrammed Calile. The flax coloured linen is so much better than thick (read too hot) towelling.
The party-sized shower and Grown Alchemist amenities will make you feel like you’re Cara Delvigne even if the mirror tells you otherwise.
Designed for tranquillity, the bedroom space is simply a King bed, floating bedside tables and another TV with a desk and Thonet chair. As if I’m doing anything else but Instagram in this oasis. This suite is all about peak relaxation.
Our suite overlooks the pool. Surrounded by balconied rooms and suites on three sides with tall palms and chic cabanas on the other it seems well established but still shiny and new. With a hint of sunlight, the pool glitters turquoise and come dusk reflects and silhouettes. It must be beer o’clock or in our case Rosé.
Everything works. Not just the technology, but the flow of the space and how the balcony is just right for two. You could invite a few mates over for a low-key shindig but really who wants to share?
To complement the overall focus on relaxation and wellbeing, The Calile Hotel has both Forme Fitness and Kailo Wellness Medispa.
Adjoining the pool, Hellenika at the Calile is stylish but not overdone. Like it’s older Gold Coast sibling, Hellenika is modern Greek. Countless pink-jacketed waiters work the room. Diners who forget it’s not Friday meanwhile scoff Mod-Med favourites and countless cocktails.
There’s more marble and the bar stools are the same shade of sea glass green as the poolside umbrellas. Walls of backlit wine glasses and modern Greek Pop bubbling in the background are the only extras.
Feasting here is easy. The complimentary amuse bouche takes me back to the GC’s Fish House and their salty, lemony, velvety fish soup.
Banquet for a little of everything including the traditional show-stoppers. Dolmades are plump with veal and a touch of warming pimento. The taramasalata faultless, the saganaki simple while the calamari is perfect with just a squeeze of lemon.
You expect the classic baked Junee Lamb to be excellent (it is) but it’s the pork belly that is nothing short of sublime. Dessert is simple – juicy watermelon and baklava.
The drinks list runs 35 pages with Coravin wines by the glass, a lengthy Greek wine dossier and multitudes of varietals from across the world. We consult with house sommelier Nathan Hurst. We find the perfect savoury drop in the Lightly Chilled Reds section – an aromatic 2017 Hentley Farm Villain and Vixen Grenache.
The Lobby Bar
Lined with marble-topped tables and banquette seating the space is sunny. Bold geometric patterned bar stools try and steal the limelight from the drop-dead gorgeous deep pink-veined marble bar. Diners are a mix of sunny PR girls with laptops and those who thanks to a substantial inheritance don’t do a 9 to 5.
The menu is short with twists on the usual suspects like Mushrooms on toast with pickled cucumber, umami mayo and garlic chips. Eggs arrive hot and as ordered meanwhile, the not too sweet pancakes are delicious with caramelized banana, maple nuts and mascarpone cream. The coffee’s good too.
Why you should stay at The Calile Hotel
At The Calile Hotel, there is an overwhelming feeling of effortlessness. Everything works seamlessly. The design elements and the colour palette add to the calm and carefree attitude. It’s all about taking as much time as you want away from the everyday. Maybe the hotel’s tagline should be, “You may not be here for a long time but it sure is going to be a good time”.
Disclaimer: TML were guests of The Calile Hotel