The Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane has a unique historical feel thanks to its location in the remodelled Queensland Government Savings Bank building which dates back to 1920. Stepping through the doors of this classic art deco building is a bit like stepping back in time thanks to the grand banking hall which has been transformed into a spacious lobby with plenty of seating. Old-world design touches such as double-height timber-panelled walls, ornate ceiling mouldings and marble design details add a touch of glamour to this new apartment hotel.
However, it’s not all about elegant restraint at the Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane. Our favourite discovery at this hotel was the Boom Boom Room, an opulent basement-level lounge bar housed in the space where the bank’s vaults once were. It’s funky and avant-garde with an irresistible combination of old and new. There is no way to enter the Boom Boom Room from the hotel. Instead, you’ll need to walk outside to Elizabeth Street and go down the historic stairs which were part of the original building’s fire escape. When you see the funky graffiti art on the wall, you’ll know you’re in the right spot.
The Boom Boom Room has a cool music-themed cocktail list and an impressive wine selection with top drops available by the glass and bottle. Private rooms are housed in original bank vaults and lounge seating has been cleverly created under the stained glass tiles which have been a part of the Elizabeth Street footpath for more than 100 years. People walking on the street above probably have no idea there’s a fabulous bar underneath the street. Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, the Boom Boom Room should be top of your list for a drink.
The Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane is a bit of a hybrid with old style art deco rooms taking up the first seven floors of the original building and an additional five floors of apartments which have been added to the top of the hotel. There are 220 apartments in all, ranging from studios to three bedroom apartments with wrap-around balconies. While room requests cannot be guaranteed, you can definitely ask for a room in the new or old section if you have a preference.
There is much to recommend both sections but sometimes the design of the hotel means you won’t have a choice. For example, if you want a three bedroom apartment with a wrap around balcony, you will need to stay in the new part of the hotel. There are a few apartments on the lowest floor of the new section which have a historic connection and an interesting story to tell. With these rooms, the stone balustrade on top of the original building is used to form a balcony instead of the glass wall you’ll find in the new section.
One of these apartments has cabling from when the building housed Brisbane’s first radio station. These aerials remained on the roof until just after the war and what remains of them has been heritage listed and retained by Adina. Some of the other rooms in the heritage section also have unique design features, such as a bathroom housed in one of the original bank vaults. As nothing in the old building could be changed, you can still see the huge original bolt holes. Don’t worry, you don’t need to open a bank vault to use the bathroom at 2am as there is now a regular door.
We stayed in a corner room on the seventh floor of the hotel, the top floor of the heritage building, which had a king size bed, separate lounge area and spacious bathroom. As with all of the Adina apartments, our accommodation came with a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer. We didn’t use these during our stay but the room was exceptionally well appointed and cleverly designed to fit around the heritage elements in the room. Each room design in the heritage section differs slightly for this reason which means you’ll get to enjoy some variety if you’re a business traveller staying here on a regular basis.
Our room and the majority of the apartments on the George Street side of the hotel have a beautiful outlook over Queens Gardens and South Bank. We had a stunning view from our room but had to stand by the windows to enjoy it as it couldn’t be seen from the couch. Rooms in the new section have floor to ceiling windows so the views are easier to enjoy. However, you don’t get any of the beautiful heritage features in these new apartments located on the hotel’s upper levels.
In the heritage part of the hotel, all of the original windows have been permanently sealed, with another window added for noise canceling. This makes them blissfully quiet but also means you can’t open a window or a balcony door. If you aren’t a fan of air conditioning and prefer fresh air, the new section of the hotel is a winner but remember your room will be noisier with the window or door open as the hotel is located in Brisbane’s CBD. You won’t hear a thing in the heritage section.
Another part of the Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane which offers fresh air is the pool which is tucked away at the rear of the hotel in a towering light-filled space formed by the hotel buildings. Modern, kinetic sculptures swing overhead and there are loungers to relax on. It is one of the most unique hotel pools in Brisbane and a lovely spot for a swim in the heart of the city.
We were impressed with dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Donna Chang, especially given it had only been open a few days. With a combination of traditional cooking techniques and native Australian ingredients, Donna Chang offers a contemporary take on Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine. The décor also offers a change from typical Chinese restaurants fitouts, with a pleasing palate of soft dove grey and pink instead of red and gold. These colours highlight the original heritage-listed walls and other historic design details within the restaurant and help to create an elegant, sophisticated atmosphere.
We enjoyed everything we ordered, especially the scallops with black bean and chilli which looked almost too pretty to eat. Dessert was a shared Daintree forest chocolate tart served with Davidson plum jam and White Rabbit candy ice cream. More meat and less coriander with the BBQ roasted pork belly would have been our preference – the herbs looked pretty but didn’t add anything to the dish – but the fact this was the biggest issue on the night gives some idea as to how good this restaurant is. Most new restaurants experience multiple teething problems but none were evident during our visit.
If you are booking a room at the Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane, have at think about what is more important to you: a one-of-a-kind heritage apartment with a connection to Brisbane’s history or a modern room with city views. Once you have decided on this, you will be able to choose which section of the hotel is right for you and put in a request when you book. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be happy you’re staying overnight given the excellent drinking and dining options which are available at this hotel.
Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane. She is already planning to return with friends next year for a night in a three bedroom apartment to celebrate her birthday.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Brisbane, we have reviewed the Treasury Hotel, The Calile, Ovolo The Valley, W Brisbane, Capri by Fraser Brisbane, Hilton Brisbane, The Johnson, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Sage Hotel James Street, The Westin Brisbane, Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites, Royal on the Park, Ibis Styles Elizabeth Street, Sofitel Brisbane, Crystalbrook Vincent, The Inchcolm by Ovolo, Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments, and Pullman Brisbane Airport.