The Sebel Town House first opened its doors in Sydney in 1963. It’s ‘where the stars stayed’ and as Australia’s most luxurious hotel it soon became notorious for parties that went way past the wee small hours. Every hour was happy hour at the Sebel.
If movie stars and music A-listers came to Sydney they played hard at the Sebel. The biggest names of the time -Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, and Liza Minnelli were all VIP guests; The Sebel staff even met the challenge of organising the most extravagant event of the year – Elton John and producer Renate Blauel’s wedding reception in less than four days.
Sebel staff were renowned as the finest in the land – no guest request was too big or too outrageous. When pressed by Sydney’s gossip columnists for the hot goss, they steadfastly remained tight-lipped. Ever since the brand has been synonymous with the finest service.
Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach
Sebel is now part of the global behemoth Accor group. Known primarily for up-scale apartments, the Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach instead is a new-build, boutique, beachfront hotel with that famous Sebel service.
30 minutes from Brisbane makes it a real alternative weekend getaway to the Gold or Sunshine Coasts. The relaxed, boutique, seaside retreat has 58 studio rooms that feel extra spacious with the addition of roomy balconies – in our case overlooking a sparkling Margate beach. Retro-styled bikes are free to guests for free and are ideal for freewheeling along the timber beach-side boardwalk across the road.
Perfect for a quick spur-of-the-moment getaway the Sebel Margate Beach makes you remember what a weekend is really all about.
The contemporary styling is more big-city glam than beach-side retreat. Muted grey and polished concrete are given a touch of pizzazz with purple accents and a little glam courtesy of the sequinned cushion cover or two. The nostalgic black and white images of 1960’s Margate Beach show a simpler time. Ideal for couples but with interconnecting rooms there’s also room for the ankle biters.
If you forget why you escaped for the weekend there is a small work desk. Retro-styled bikes are free to guests and are ideal for a casual pedal along the timber boardwalk that lines the beach.
A leather sofa works well as a day bed for catching up on social media or a well-earned afternoon snooze. You can’t count on a long, luxurious soak in the tub but the showers are roomy with all the little touches including ‘lounging quality’ bathrobes and slippers.
Built for sunsets for two or functions for fifty, the rooftop pool, bar and cabanas offer sweeping views of the peninsula. Come Happy Hour cocktails here are a must all year-round.
Margate Beach House
Mornings are a happy mix of locals getting their coffee fix and guests enjoying a full breakfast at the in-house restaurant, Margate Beach House. The décor is summer all year round – French blue and white stripes accented with whitewashed timber. Blankets and heaters ward off Brisbane’s version of winter if you choose to take in the fresh salt air at night.
With a full-house on a mid-winter Saturday night expect to see half the peninsula there in summer, so reservations are essential. The menu is suitably relaxed beachfront with buckets of prawns, delicious salt and pepper calamari and freshly shucked oysters but bring your appetites for the local seafood platter; it’s enormous.
Chef Steve Bestwick knows the locals and devised a menu with a little bit of everything. Risotto of the day wisely comes in two sizes, burgers come with fries and there are gluten-free and vegetarian options. Open from 7 am, the coffee has to be good (it is), and the menu allows for grazing through the day. With craft beers on tap and a wine list with solid options by the glass, this is the place that shows off the very best of the peninsula.
Brisbane Whale Watching
The brochure says ‘…just a splash away from Brisbane city’ and it’s no advertising cliché. Brisbane Whale Watching is the only whale watching option close to to the River City and a short trip from the Sebel Margate Beach for an action-packed weekend.
Seven days a week from June through to November, the MV Eye Spy makes the short trip out from Redcliffe to the Moreton Bay Marine National Park where 18,000 humpback whales swim through on their northern migration. Moreton Bay has become one of the preferred breeding grounds for Humpbacks, with mothers choosing to give birth and stay for the babies’ first few days.
The Eye Spy today is filled with a weekend crowd of families, interstate visitors, couples and birthday boys and girls. The winter blue sky is endless and the water a dark sapphire.
Designed as a purpose-built whale-watching catamaran, the Eye-Spy’s propellers minimise underwater noise while the engines reduce exhaust emissions in the pristine waters of Moreton Bay.
Captain Kerry Lopez calls “11 o’clock!” with just as much excitement as the very first time she spotted humpbacks. We hold our collective breath and soon we’re up close to a large pod who are a little shy at first but then play hide and seek diving deep under the boat to pop up the other side.
Kerry knows her way around boats of all sizes and is considered to be the only female captain/operator in the South Pacific Rim. She’s happy to call Moreton Bay her backyard where 40 to 50 whales per day frolic and rest before continuing their annual journey.
We travel a little further towards Moreton Island and meet up with more whales who splash and blow much to the delight of kids both big and small. After a delicious buffet lunch, we’re off to spend time with another curious group who seem to be as happy to see us as we with them.
Disclaimer: This Magnificent Life were guests of both Sebel Margate Beach and Brisbane Whale Watching.