Cultured Scot Dr John (Jock) Thomson was what we call today a ‘Renaissance’ man: medical doctor, astronomer, scientist, psychologist and keen amateur photographer. He was also a founder of both Queensland University and St John’s Ambulance. In 1880s Brisbane, he was a visionary and a man of substance.
He commissioned the design of his personal residence and medical practice and named it Inchcolm after the Scottish Isle. With a striking neo-Georgian façade, the building added a certain prestige to the streetscape. Subsequently, the building was expanded to 5 stories housing a number of doctor’s rooms.
Fast forward to the 20th century, when one Peter Flynn was born at Inchcolm. Growing to be one of the city’s more successful real estate developers, he refurbished the building, and it opened as a hotel in 1998. In 2014, after an $8 million restoration, the New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites was born.
Walking through the bevelled glazed entrance doors, you are immediately enveloped by the sober but lush Art Deco elegance. From dark-stained silky oak picture-rail height panelling, the lobby opens to the Socialites Bar and, with a nod to the past, Thomson’s Reserve Restaurant. Fine terrazzo borders lead to a silky oak and metal mesh heritage lift which was designed to fit stretcher patients. (This hotel is still so elegant I doubt anyone needs stretchering out, even after a big night).
The room, suites and lobby are best described as luxe modern and contemporary but with traditional elements and rich fabrics and finishes. No two rooms are exactly the same across all eight room styles. A one-bedroom Queen here is anything but standard.
Think Paris between the wars, boutique in every sense of the word with accommodations generously sized yet intimate. The one-bedroom suites are located in the heritage section at the front of the hotel. And the Inchcolm Lofts are split-level and plush. The top-of-the-line Thomson Suite is more than upscale – it’s sexy and distinctive.
Glam and modern bathrooms are kitted out with TML favourite, Appelles Black Label.
Beds might feature silver or gold padded bed heads, and like all MGallery Collection properties, these are beds designed for a late-checkout sort of sleep-in. Resting your head here is blissful. Knowing that most of us are comfortable with technology, the hotel has wisely replaced the old compendium with an iPad, and the Maxi Bar (read minibar on steroids) sports a Nespresso machine.
The MGallery Collection features Heritage, Serenity and Signature properties. The Inchcolm, as an existing historic building interestingly, is classified a Signature property – with a particular design aesthetic that sets it apart from other hotels. Serenity locations are just that: havens of relaxation.
The collection of 10 hotels in Australia and New Zealand also showcases some fine literary talent with the ‘Writers in Residence’ program. Authors, after staying at a particular property, bring the hotel to life, writing a short story inspired by their stay. Author of ‘The Rosie Project’ Graeme Simsion was interviewed by well-known local author Nick Earls one recent Sunday afternoon over elegant canapés and a glass of wine. The ‘In Conversation’ events are part of the MGallery/ Wheeler Centre collaboration.
The New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites has been designed for the business traveller who is sick of cookie-cutter corporate hotels that look like they were designed by accountants from the front office. The hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway (those beds) or even a girl’s weekend away.
Edging the CBD, it’s an easy walk to restaurants and city sights. The hotel has raised the bar for accommodation in the River City with boutique charm and big-city sophistication. www.inchcolm.com.au
Disclaimer: TML were guests of Accor Hotels and the New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites.