The words ‘airport hotel’ usually conjure up images of a shoebox-size room with complimentary earplugs for the aircraft noise and views over a carpark. However, you won’t find any of these things at the Pullman Brisbane Airport hotel. Just the thought of a 6am or 7am departure gives us nightmares as this normally means a 4am alarm with a rush out the door and hopefully no traffic. It is much better to stay at an airport hotel the night before you fly out, especially if you are leaving on a ‘big trip’.
We stayed at the Pullman Brisbane Airport before we flew out to China. The first leg of our journey was a domestic flight to Sydney, followed by a direct flight from Sydney to Beijing, which made this hotel perfect for us as it is only a five minute walk from the Brisbane Domestic Terminal. Access to and from the international airport is either by train, taxi or a door-to-door shuttle bus. Pullman Brisbane Airport (and its sister hotel, the Ibis Brisbane Airport, next door) are currently the only hotels within walking distance of a Brisbane Airport terminal.
We stayed in a Deluxe Executive Room with a king size bed and lounge access. The first thing we noticed was the room’s large size at over 30 square metres which is huge for an airport hotel. We were travelling with our teenage son and there was plenty of space for all us, even with a rollaway bed in the room. Despite the fact we had great views of the runway from our accommodation, we could not hear any aeroplane or street noise.
Other features included a large LCD television, Nespresso coffee machine and kettle with tea plus a bathrobe and slippers. Ironing boards and irons are also supplied in the room so you don’t have to call down to reception for them. There are USB charging ports beside the bed and the internet is super-fast. When you are sitting in the large bathtub, the frosted privacy window slides back so you can watch TV while you soak.
The hotel’s executive lounge offers all day refreshments and an evening cocktail hour with complimentary soft drinks, wine and beer (including an impressive selection of boutique brews) and some hot nibbles. The lounge was fine but it is more functional than somewhere you would want to relax and stay awhile. If you don’t have executive lounge access and fancy an evening drink, the Apron Bay in the lobby is a cut above your usual airport hotel drinking spot and even has wireless changing stations built into the bar. Just pop your iPhone on top of the bar on a designated charging spot while you enjoy a drink and some snacks from the bar menu.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of our stay was dinner at Apron Restaurant. With Executive Chef Justin Zammit at the helm, this dining experience had more in common with a refined inner-city restaurant than something you would expect to find near an airport terminal. We realised we might be in for a better than expected pre-departure dinner when we spied the impressive wine fridge filled with a selection of fine wine. If you have a layover at either the domestic or international airport and want something decent to eat, it is worth making the effort to come to Apron Restaurant at the Pullman Brisbane Airport. If you are dining solo, there is an open kitchen to keep you entertained.
We booked for dinner even though we didn’t think the restaurant would be that busy. However, it was lucky we did as most of the seats were filled by the time we left. Portions were generous, especially the Waygu fillet from Macquarie Downs near Toowoomba which came with a decadent bowl of Moreton Bay bug mac ‘n cheese. At $60 this meal is not cheap, but it is a hearty dish that is more like an entrée and a main course rolled into one plus the overall calibre of the produce was superb. If you would like something a little smaller (and a little cheaper) the herb crusted lamb rump was also excellent.
We shared a chocolate delice featuring cocoa grown in the Daintree accompanied by a rather fabulous cherry sorbet for dessert. I would gladly come back to this hotel for the food alone. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is available at Apron Restaurant daily and all meals are served a-la-carte. We enjoyed our upmarket café-style breakfast (think avocado toast and fancy omelettes). However, the a la carte concept might not suit travellers in a rush to catch a plane. If you are more interested in sleeping in, the grab ‘n go café at the Ibis next door might be a better choice.
Disclosure: The writer stayed a guest of Pullman Brisbane Airport. She would not hesitate to stay at the hotel again at her own expense, especially if it means she gets to sleep in a little later.
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