As you enter the Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites, you are presented with a visual tribute to Brisbane’s iconic Festival Hall. The colourful “Walk of Fame” on the wall in reception celebrates the famous music venue which was once located on the same site. Festival Hall was nothing fancy and doubled as a boxing stadium but this didn’t stop it playing host to some of the world’s biggest and best music performers. From the Beatles in 1964 to Queen in the 70s, U2 and Elton John in the 80s and many more icons of music, lots of locals (including me) came here to rock out until the site’s redevelopment in 2003.
The old Festival Hall site is now home to the Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites which is way fancier than rough and tumble Festival Hall. This is the perfect hotel for travellers who want to explore Brisbane and value comfort and affordability in equal measure. The Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites consist of 41 floors of 401 one and two bedroom apartments with a kitchen, laundry, private balcony and king sized beds. These apartments are well-priced and perfect for short or long term stays. There is no restaurant on site but you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining and entertainment thanks to the hotel’s Brisbane CBD location.
It’s one of these entertainment options which brings me to the hotel. My wife and I have tickets to attend a show at the Brisbane Festival which takes place every September and offers a variety of live performances. First up, here’s an important local tip from me. Don’t be tempted to park illegally outside the hotel to drop off your bags, even just for a few minutes, as parking inspectors are often around and a parking ticket is not a souvenir you want to bring home. Besides, there’s no need to risk a fine. Simply enter the car park next to the hotel at 89 Charlotte Street and proceed down to the ‘Visitor’ car parks then walk to the elevators and call reception via the intercom so they can buzz you up to the ground floor. Car parking under the building is available for your stay and much cheaper than a fine.
After navigating the arrival and car park process, we arrived at reception to a friendly hello and were quickly check in and given our keys. Our friendly receptionist also gave us a run down on the facilities available and the checkout time of 10am. There’s a rooftop 25m heated lap pool, plunge pool, sundeck area, spa, sauna, gymnasium and barbeque facilities, all with a nice view of the surrounding city from the rooftop. If you want to chill out, there is an attractive indoor guest relaxation area with colourful décor on the leisure deck as well.
We’re travelling as a couple and only here for the night so we’ve opted for a one-bedroom apartment which ends up being on a high floor facing west. These are some of the best rooms as the view towards the Brisbane River and South Bank is terrific and there is an enclosed balcony that has large windows which open so you can enjoy it to the full. Arriving at our room we are pleasantly surprised with the size of our apartment and the full-sized kitchen and large balcony area, but best of all is the view. My wife and I agree the balcony area is perfect for a gourmet food delivery and dining in with a bottle of wine. This is where the hotel’s central location really shines as it is perfect for self-catering and shopping with an extensive range of dining, takeaway options and even a supermarket just a short walk away.
After a look around the hotel facilities, we regret not packing our swimmers as the pool looks inviting. If we were staying for more than one night, we would definitely give the BBQ area a try and enjoy an alfresco dinner with a view. We make our way out the door to reception but not before taking in the “Walk of Fame” and reflecting on all the iconic performers that graced the stage at Festival Hall and some of the great shows we witnessed here over the years. After an afternoon of shopping and an evening out at the Brisbane Festival, we arrived back to our apartment and the sparkling evening view of Brisbane’s twinkling lights. We loved the water pressure in the bathroom but weren’t so keen on the old-fashioned shower over the bathtub. The comfy king bed made for a great night’s sleep and the room was quiet.
We checked out in the morning and had breakfast at one of the riverside cafes before our workday began and reminisced about all the great concerts we had seen at Festival Hall in the 80s and 90s. The Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites offers excellent value for money with apartments priced at less than what you would pay for a standard hotel room. It’s one of the best value Brisbane accommodation options for travellers who want great value for money in a great location.
Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites.
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