24 hours at The Calile Hotel in Brisbane

We take the guesswork out of local travel with our tips on where to stay, eat, drink and play. This month, GT hits Fortitude Valley.

Photo: Sean Fennessy

Sean Fennessy

The drive from Brisbane airport takes less than 20 minutes, but it’s enough to transport you to another world as you arrive in the palm-fringed precinct known as James Street in Fortitude Valley. The vibe is pure Palm Springs and at the heart of the precinct is The Calile Hotel, an urban resort marked by sweeping mid-century curves and brutalist concrete pillars and panels.

Designed by local architects Richards & Spence, the 175-room hotel is achingly attractive, thanks to a subtle pink sand palette and miles of marble. Brass accents add a polished elegance to every room — and even extend to the pool, where the name of the hotel is spelt out beneath the gently rippling water. The surrounding sunbeds may just be the hottest property in Brisbane — so if you prefer your lounging a little more low-key, you might want to consider a mid-week getaway.

Otherwise, lie back, relax, and treat yourself to another poolside cocktail.

Book your stay at the Calile here.

The Calile pool

Where to eat


As one of Brisbane’s most in-demand restaurants, Hellenika can be trusted to serve up something delicious any time of day. But there’s something extra indulgent about breaking your fast poolside as the resort begins to stir. Keep it fresh and light with brûléed grapefruit and rizogalo (Greek rice pudding) or go the full Onassis, with bacon, lamb cutlet and spicy sausage.


Across the road, you’ll find Same Same and some of the tastiest food in Brisbane. Inspired by Thai street food, the menu is bursting with flavour bombs. Save yourself the stress of decisions and order the banquet — which opens with sticky pork and prawn snacks, and ends with the most exceptional coconut panna cotta. Every dish is a winner, but the Queensland king prawn curry will haunt your dreams.


Dinner presents the only stressful part of staying at The Calile, as you’re forced to choose between the many excellent offerings within walking distance. Will you go Italian and check out the newly opened Bianca from the team behind Agnes (also excellent and close to hand) and Same Same? Or opt for a refined spin on surf and turf at SK Steak and Oyster? Perhaps you’d prefer the wood-fired Middle Eastern flavours of Gerard’s Bistro? Clearly the solution is to extend your stay and eat your way around the whole precinct.

Breakfast at Hellenika

(Photo: Sean Fennessy)


A short 15-minute walk from The Calile will see you arrive at Brisbane’s famous riverfront, where you can pause for a pick-me-up at the Howard Smith Wharves — home to Louis Tikaram’s Stanley among others — before continuing along the waterfront to the Botanic Gardens, or into the city centre. Alternatively, you can stroll across Story Bridge and explore Kangaroo Point and its many delightful pocket parks and green spaces.


With greenery draping nearly every corner of the James Street precinct, a quick stroll around the shops feels more like a nature walk. It’s a genius ploy as you carry that light, bright, wholesome feeling into the surrounding boutiques and find yourself breezily handing over your credit card. From Camilla and Marc and St. Agni to Scanlan Theodore and Zimmermann, you’ll find the best in Australian fashion here, plus a few international favourites. There’s also an impressive array of homewares (tricky to take home in a suitcase) and all manner of delectable delicacies from James St Market and Jocelyn’s Provisions.

An essential room at the Calile

The Calile Hotel

48 James St, Fortitude Valley, Qld

Facilities: Prices from $309 per night for an essential room

Spa/gym: Yes

Restaurant: Yes

Free WiFi: Yes

Concierge: 24 hours

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