The term ‘eye for detail’ has been followed to the nth degree in one of the most exquisitely luxe boutique hotels I have experienced in Australia.
Nestled in the heart of the hip and happening Fortitude Valley, minutes from shops, bars and restaurants, the Emporium Hotel has been designed with the most finite details in mind.
Emporium owner, Francine John, enlisted master craftsmen, many locally based, to realise her design concepts inspired by the frangipani flower that is peppered throughout the property in various forms.
Located in a piazza-style precinct, the exquisite chandelier in the lobby takes my breath away, but not as much as the personalised service offered by every staff member who crosses my path. When you drive onto a property and the valet knows your name before you step out of the car, it still astounds me!
Entering my suite I am surprised by the size and embark on a journey of discovery. This may seem an odd term to use for a hotel room perhaps, but so apt given the vast amount of amenities featured that are tucked away so cleverly that one may not even realise they are there.
The bathroom offers a deep bath, powerful shower (complete with a much-loved massage feature) and double sinks. Ample space on the vanity allows me to spread out my vast array of cosmetics and a make-up mirror is always a welcome addition.
Molton Brown UK toiletries (the Emporium is the only hotel in Brisbane to offer the brand) and even a GHD tops off the bathroom offering. This hotel certainly has every girl’s heart in mind!
The king sized bed looks very welcoming but I have an event to host and what I really need is some caffeine… Looking around, I can’t seem to locate a kettle but I’m almost certain I was told there was an entire kitchenette in my suite. So, the cupboard opening commences. I find the Alex Perry covered ironing board and the embroidered slippers then, what I think is a wardrobe, folds back to reveal an entire kitchenette…as promised. A bar fridge, sink, dishwasher, full selection of tea, coffee and hot chocolate, along with crockery galore greets me and is so neatly tucked away that I nearly missed it! It certainly gives me inspiration for space creation in my little apartment!
I dock my iPod, log onto the net wirelessly and enjoy my new mobile office on the very welcoming bed.
Something that is always a concern to me is what the pillows are like in a hotel. As someone who used to travel with her own pillow to ensure a good night’s sleep, a pillow menu is something I always hope for nowadays. From a ‘Feather Down’ pillow to a ‘Satin Beauty Soft Foam’ pillow, the ‘Pregnancy’ pillow (I don’t need that just yet) to the ‘Snore No More’ pillow, the Emporium Hotel offers a seemingly endless amount of choices! I select a few options (I’m not a very decisive person it seems) and head out for the evening, even though I would have much preferred stay in and enjoy one of the 175 pay per view movies on offer.
It’s not until the next morning, after my delectable room service breakfast served complete with a fresh flower, that I have the opportunity to explore the hotel further.
First stop was the rooftop pool that was very tempting on this balmy Queensland day. The salt water lap pool is lined by cushioned sun lounges with wireless internet access and food & beverage service…very Las Vegas.
Located next door is the fitness centre that, although small, offers an array of state-of-the-art exercise equipment and weights for those guests keen to keep fit on their travels. I, on the other hand, prefer to lie by the pool!
Heading back down into the lobby, I’m intrigued to see the Cocktail Bar that I have heard so much about. This European escape is peppered with design elements that are not only breathtaking but also hold such colourful history.
An antique German chandelier, originally from a castle in Europe, hangs above the vast grand onyx bar. Plush leather couches sit in front of a divine stained glass wall. Originally a Parisian shopfront, it was crafted more than a century ago before taking its place as a window in a Buenos Aires mansion. It’s a challenge to not get transported to another time and place standing in front of such a majestic piece and I appreciate the addition of the antiques in such a modern hotel.
These historic touches are juxtaposed by a more modern feel in the Wine Cellar located at the entrance of the ‘Cocktail Bar.’ Offering fine wines and encased in back lit glass, this almost sci-fi-esque addition is striking and punctuated by white leather furniture.
The stories that those antique pieces could tell are priceless and, as I look around at the guests wondering in and out, I wonder what stories are yet to be told at the Emporium Hotel.
The Travel Review Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Pros: Everything! From the handy location to the eye for detail with every aspect of the hotel, the truly personalised service to the furnishings that transport you from Brisbane to the other side of the world.
Cons: That I didn’t get to stay there longer to enjoy the experience!
Words and Images: Natalie Aroyan