Queensland's best weekends away

Queensland's best weekends away

The heat is always on in the Sunshine State but from inner Brisbane to the glorious coast there is no shortage of cool places to stay.


477 Boundary Street Spring Hill (07) 3085 7200;

THE LOCATION Bordered by Roma Street Parklands and Victoria Park Brisbane's sleepy inner city suburb of Spring Hill is dotted with restored Queenslanders, miner's cottages and glorious jacaranda trees a mere 2 kilometers from the CBD.

THE PLACE The Johnson opened a year ago following a 3 year overhaul of the heritage listed Main Roads Building designed by Queensland architect Karl Langer in 1967. The hotel's 97 contemporary suites and 3 swish penthouses mirror the building's minimalist industrial heritage. All rooms are spacious with muted tones mod cons and original artwork. Balcony rooms offer city vistas  to Mount Coot-tha.

THE EXPERIENCE Within striking distance of the city and 15 minutes from the airport the Johnson makes a terrific base for exploring Queensland's capital. Its best asset is the impressive 50 meter Michael Klim designed outdoor lap pool dotted with cabanas sun lounges a sundeck and gym with north facing views. For breakfast or a casual bite there's an adjoining restaurant bar and cafe Tumbling Stone.

DON'T MISS Taking a stroll to nearby Fortitude Valley for dinner at the fabulous Umami or having a drink at the rooftop 16 Antlers in the city.

IDEAL FOR Leisure travelers and corporate warriors. Sheriden Rhodes

$165 a night for a studio suite.


37 Balfour Street, New Farm; 1300 597 540,

Spicers Balfour Hotel, Balfour St, New Farm. Photo: Murray Rix

THE LOCATION Spicers Balfour is in inner-city New Farm 3 kilometers from Brisbane's CBD.

THE PLACE Spicers Retreats is a network of luxury boutique hotels across NSW and Queensland. Spicers Balfour is formed from a re-imagined traditional Queenslander. Adding to the nine suites in the main building a few doors down is Simla an elegant art deco style apartment block converted to accommodation with a further 6 rooms.

THE EXPERIENCE Even if you stay in Simla your visit will begin at the house where you find a small reception and the one hatted Balfour Kitchen Restaurant which spills onto an appealing veranda and a shaded courtyard garden. A showstopper is the rooftop bar which boasts impressive views of the Story Bridge. Unlike the rooms in the Queenslander which can be compact, the Balfour Suites at Simla are at 43 square meters more like small apartments and stylishly decorated with all of the mod cons of a 5 star hotel.

DON'T MISS The excellent Balfour Kitchen Restaurant.

IDEAL FOR Hanging out near the city.  Anthony Dennis

From $238 a night with breakfast.


14-16 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads; (07) 5449 4888; 

Sofitel Noosa Pacific.

THE LOCATION If you want the Hastings Street experience then look no further. The only 5 star in Noosa is smack dab at the center of the action.

THE PLACE This 176 room property offers the epitome of barefoot luxury style. It's casual and relaxing but everything is just so from the perfectly Sofitel "Bonjour" greeting at reception to the nightly lighting of candles throughout the lobbies and bars.

THE EXPERIENCE Rooms suites and villas are dressed in natural soothing tones and come with a kitchenette sofa and balcony. Some look out across the river and share a remarkable sunset view with the gorgeous Riviera Bar tucked away downstairs. The in house Noosa Beach House restaurant by Peter Kuruvita is delicious. New to the sizable pool area is The Cabanas a series of 5 glam private spaces you can rent for up to four people handy when school holidays are on.

DON'T MISS The Cabanas are a lovely option for pool lounging. At Riviera Bar explore the gin and whisky cocktails on offer.

IDEAL FOR A "my place to stay" for many repeat visitors.  Julietta Jameson

Rooms from $349.


8 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise; 1300 737 444,

Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise. Photo: supplied

THE LOCATION You can't be more central to Surfers Paradise than here: the property is ensconced in the gleaming, 77 storey Soul tower which is directly across the road from the beach so all apartments afford uninterrupted ocean views.

THE PLACE The apartments are contemporary with tasteful comfortable furnishings. Huge balconies look out across that glorious coastline and in season, it's an amazing vantage point for whale watching. You can self cater in full kitchens and there are multi bedroom layouts for families and groups of friends. Some have terraces and/or plunge pools.

THE EXPERIENCEThere are evening markets along the boardwalk and with the beach on your doorstep there's no excuse for not getting out for a walk or swim. There is 24 hour reception and parking with a valet available so you can jump in the car and drive to less touristy parts of the coast. On site is also the topnotch Seduction restaurant.

DON'T MISS Poke pronounced poh-keh bowl the latest food trend on the Gold Coast. It's an Hawaiian delicacy of fresh fish tossed in soy sauce sesame seeds and rice wine vinegar that is then piled onto sushi rice. Sandbar on The Esplanade does a great one and its awning covered terrace is a fun scene.

IDEAL FOR Doing the Goldy in glamorous style. - Julietta Jameson

From $329 a night. Minimum three night stay.


192 Woolooman Road, Woolooman; 0416 265 836;  

Scenic Rim Retreat, Woolooman. Photo: supplied

THE LOCATION Stretching from Tamborine Mountain through the Lost World Valley to Boonah and Kalbar the Scenic Rim is a mountainous landscape straddling the border of southeast Queensland and north east NSW. It's home to prehistoric volcanoes rain forest and terrific food and wine.

THE PLACE Set on 2 rolling acres just under 30 minutes from Ipswich Scenic Rim Retreat is a grand century old restored Queenslander with verandahs that invite you to while away your afternoon. There are 2 light filled bedrooms master with air conditioning 2 bathrooms a fireplace ceiling fans a well equipped kitchen with coffee machine and daybed. Set down a quiet dirt road, the property is surrounded by bushland friendly Brahman cows, and with Mount Flinders as your backdrop.

THE EXPERIENCE Here it's all about being in the moment: watching birds flit between trees, picking fresh oranges, enjoying a glass of wine on the latticed verandah and enjoying the fresh country air. Take a stroll and spot wallabies bounding through the bush or pat the neighbouring cows. From March the owners will run quarterly photographic retreats at the house.

DON'T MISS Climb Mount French for views over Fassifern Valley or explore the amazing Queen's Park in Ipswich.

IDEAL FOR Couples or a small family wanting a country stay. Sheriden Rhodes

From $80 a night for 2 25$ a night for each extra guest.

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