The Best Cheap Hotels in Brisbane
Look at Brisbane from a distance and the Meriton Apartment buildings dominate the skyline, the vertiginous Herschel and Adelaide Street towers bookending the CBD at its southwestern and northeastern ends. Many of the apartments are given over to private rentals, meaning that as far as hotels go these are pretty laid-back properties.
The Johnson is crazy good value when you consider the size of the rooms. The base studio suite typically sits around the 40 square metre mark, but if guests pre-pay they can upgrade to a deluxe studio suite (higher floor, slightly more room) for a similar price. You suspect the good times are partly because the Johnson is still finding its feet as a hotel. Set inside the hulking, heritage-listed Karl Langer-designed former Main Roads Department building, this Art Series property looms over Spring Hill, an inner-suburb still recovering from decades of phoned-in development.
Limes Hotel is where it all started for Brisbane entrepreneur Damian Griffiths, the man behind the enormously popular Doughnut Time chain. Before he was slinging those pucks of sugary goodness, Griffiths was using Limes to anchor a new mini precinct on the corners of Fortitude Valley’s Alfred and Constance Streets, which now includes two restaurants (Alf’s Place and Kwan Brothers) and a rambunctious cafe, bar and nightclub in a couple of conjoined Queenslander homes (Alfred & Constance). With Limes, you’re in part paying for that location.
If you’re a guest house nut, Aussie Way Backpackers is arguably the pick of the city’s many lodges. You’ll excuse the ropey name once you lay eyes on this charming property set in an old heritage-listed Queenslander terrace. It’s slightly removed from the city, but all the better to sift out the hoi polloi and attract a slightly quieter and more mature traveller. If the 15 minute walk to the city is too much, Caxton Street, the Barracks precinct and Paddington are nearby, all boasting a heap of food and beverage options.
One of Brisbane’s best boutique hotels also boasts some of its best deals. Gambaro is a darkly luxurious property set right on top of the buzzy Caxton Street entertainment precinct. The fit-out of plush carpet, cool surfaces and warm lighting pitch it at no-expense spared couples getaways but one of the hotel’s Atrium Rooms can be had for a relative steal. You’re talking a room size of just 20 square metres here but for the price you’re getting complimentary wireless, Appelles black label bath products and 24-7 concierge and in-room dining services.
The first Australian property from Hong Kong-based Swiss-Belhotel, this hotel is in a relatively nondescript building on Vulture Street in South Brisbane. But the location is brilliant, within walking distance of South Bank, Woolloongabba (think the cricket and AFL ground but also a batch of Brisbane’s best restaurants and cafes) and the rapidly developing Grey Street precinct. It’s also close to three hospitals, so you tend to get a higher percentage of long-term stayers as your neighbours, giving the hotel a peaceful if slightly business-like feel.
An almost brand new property set out in a boutique style, Mantra Richmont is part of a new rush to fill out the inner suburb of Spring Hill. Which is strange, given it is still largely empty of any attractions other than the gorgeous cottages that crowd along its undulating backstreets. The Richmont is typical of modern hotels: slick furnishings, OTT feature walls and strong food and beverage options, like the slick Kennigo Social House located in a neighbouring heritage-listed colonial house.
Your choice if you need to be in the heart of the city, Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street opened early 2016 as part of an ongoing overhaul of the brand on local shores. Hence this deceptively large 386-room property’s tendency to overflow with eye-popping colours and busy graphics, all the better to keep you buzzing after you’ve slotted your life away at the casino opposite. The rooms themselves are a little more low-key, but with impressive floor to ceiling views of the city and the river from the higher digs, they didn’t need much.
The option if you’re in Brisbane for a good time, not a long time. Tryp’s rooms are a touch pokey but the hotel’s crisp furnishings and brilliant staff make the whole package excellent value for money (even if they need to chill out on the street art in places). Besides, you’re in the Valley — hitting the town is the main concern here. For starters, the hotel is sandwiched between Chur Burger on the ground floor and a slick rooftop bar up top, but you’ll want to explore further afield.
Booking a room at Rydges Fortitude Valley is all about timing. If there’s a conference going on at the Brisbane Showgrounds opposite, you might have to forget about it. Otherwise, this brand new property’s stylish rooms can be had for a neat price. It’s a classy, quiet little inn too, the comfortable rooms with their themed detailing taking more than a couple of cues from sister brand QT. Outside, an urban hub is sprouting up around the hotel, neighbouring apartments bringing with them both a community and a line of quality food and beverage operators — see Banoi, the Lamb Shop and a soon to open second instalment of the city’s best French restaurant, Montrachet.