>  Destinations   >  Australia   >  Crystalbrook Vincent review

I have checked into Crystalbrook Vincent in Brisbane and it feels like I’m being stalked by actress Asher Keddie. This isn’t a bad thing.  With her smiling face, piercing blue eyes and blond hair, Keddie is beautiful. However, she’s not at the hotel. Asher Keddie is married to the Brisbane hotel’s namesake, artist Vincent Fantauzzo, so it’s no surprise her compelling portraits feature throughout the hotel.

Asher Keddie portrait
Asher Keddie portrait

A large painting of Keddie takes pride of place in Crystalbrook Vincent’s reception area, surrounded by the likes of Guy Pearce, the late Heath Ledger, and a cast of other lifelike portraits of famous and not so famous Australians. It’s easy to see why Vincent Fantauzzo has taken out the Archibald’s People’s Choice Award multiple times. One of the few things this stunning hotel is missing is a gift shop so guests can buy prints to take home.

Art is a feature throughout Crystalbrook Vincent

Carved into the cliff directly under the Story Bridge and taking centre stage at Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves precinct, Crystalbrook Vincent is a work of art. In many ways, it is more like a modern art gallery filled with soft-as-a-cloud beds than a hotel. We spent ages wandering around Crystalbrook Vincent because we wanted to see the different artworks on each floor, not because we were lost.

Crystalbrook Vincent has 166 guest rooms with configurations ranging from Nature Rooms which contour the cliff face under the Story Bridge to luxurious two-bedroom River Luxe suites. The hotel’s location at Howard Smith Wharves is a big plus for Crystalbrook Vincent as, while it feels like you’re away from the city, you’re still close enough for all your shopping, recreation and business needs. We loved this aspect of staying at Crystalbrook Vincent as well as the lively vibe, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Views and location at Crystalbrook Vincent

All of the rooms are elegantly modern and come with multiple Vincent Fantauzzo prints. Which room you book comes down to price and the view you want, with river views costing more and rooms facing the area’s famous cliffs available at a reduced rate. We stayed in a Promenade room with a view of the Story Bridge and Brisbane River. One point of note is the full-length riverfront windows which allow amazing views of the river and the CBD from some of the rooms (and of you if you forget to close the curtains and there are people walking past who happen to look up).

Promenade room overlooking the Story Bridge and Howard Smith Wharves

As we’re staying on a Friday night, we’re drawn to the soft chillout tunes coming from Fiume bar located near the pool area on the rooftop. This area is a real highlight of the hotel with fabulous views of the Story Bridge and the CBD, both of which are especially pretty at night. On Friday and Saturday evenings a resident DJ is set up to play cool chillout tunes that mix perfectly with the ambience and view. Add some cocktails and bar snacks and you have the perfect recipe for a great night out which offers a quintessential Brisbane experience.

Crystalbrook Vincent Fiume Bar

On Sundays, the DJ returns for the La Dolce Vita Brunch at Fiume which offers a set three course brunch with free flow beverages for $99, with two sittings at 10:00 am and 12:30 PM. Don’t miss the pool which is also on this level. If Fiume is open while you’re swimming, you can get drinks delivered to your deck chair. If you’re looking for conferencing facilities with a view, you’ll find them here as well.

Crystalbrook Vincent pool deck

Dining at Crystalbrook Vincent is a highlights thanks to Mews on the ground floor. Inside you’ll find murals painted by some of the city’s most celebrated street artists, delicious Modern Australian cuisine and welcoming staff. While you can sit outside cafe style and enjoy Brisbane’s sunny weather, we loved sitting at a table for two surrounded by works by some of the city’s best artists and people watching through the floor to ceiling windows when we dropped in for dinner.

Flower Garden at Mews
Flower Garden at Mews at Crystalbrook Vincent

Meals are share plate style and feature produce from local artisans, farmers and fisherman, with around 80 per cent of what’s on offer sourced from within three hours of the restaurant. We loved the Flower Garden starter featuring zucchini flowers from the Sunshine Coast, goat’s curd from Gatton and fresh Sunshine Coast figs. Moreton Bay bugs coated in spicy cornbread and served with Everton Park honey jus were a clever twist on one of the region’s most famous seafood offerings. Roasted Karbullah lamb was also delicious and showcased flavour-packed vegetables from Maleny. If you’re hungry, you might want to add another main or starter to round things out if you go with our selections. Sharing a Rainforest Floor for dessert is a must for the sandpaper fig and macadamia fudge and chocolate popping compost alone. It’s our new favourite Brisbane dessert, both for its innovative twist and its delicious taste.

Moreton Bay Bugs at Mews
Moreton Bay bugs at Mews at Crystalbrook Vincent
Rainforest Floor at Mews
Rainforest Floor dessert at Mews at Crystalbrook Vincent

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It’s tempting to simply enjoy the hotel and the surrounding Howard Smith Wharves precinct and its riverside walkways. However, if you would like to venture further afield, a ferry terminal at Howard Smith Wharves connects guests to Brisbane’s extensive ferry network so they can pop down to the Brisbane Powerhouse or over to Southbank with a pleasant boat ride thrown in as a bonus. Overall, Crystalbrook Vincent is a stunning and notable addition to Brisbane’s hotel scene with lashings of style and artistic finesse.

Crystalbrook Vincent River Master Room with more Asher Keddie

Whether you are in town for business or a staycation, Crystalbrook Vincent offers plenty of reasons to book a room and find a reason to extend that work stay over a weekend. With the added bonus of the surrounding Howard Smith Wharves precinct for drinks and dining, plus the backdrop of Brisbane city and the bridge, you have a stay that’s worth planning ahead for. Just remember that the sight of you standing by the window wearing your Star Wars boxer shorts might not be as irresistible for passers-by as that impressive view you’re enjoying from your hotel window.

Disclosure: The writers stayed as guests of Crystalbrook Vincent.

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.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.