Brisbane hotel reveals city’s strange secrets

This new boutique hotel located in the CBD grind of busy Turbot Street is a thoughtfully conceived addition to Brisbane’s hotel options. Created from a radical conversion of a former Ibis Hotel, Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre is designed to spark curiosity. Using large-scale works by Queensland artists, including Blends, Bronte Naylor and Fuzeillear, it takes guests on a discovery trail of Brisbane’s hidden secrets.

The hotel stamps its eclectic personality from the moment you enter the foyer to find a Tuk Nook coffee cart that wouldn’t look out of place on the back streets of Asia. It’s handing out morning heart starters to busy office workers.

The Tuk Nook coffee cart outside Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre
The Tuk Nook coffee cart outside Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre

Stepping through the adjacent giant red entrance doors under the gaze of a giant blue wren feels like the start of an adventure. The wren has been plucked from the pages of local author Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, which is currently under local production as an eight-part Netflix series.

Opposite the first-floor check-in, and equally suitable for a Netflix series, is a mural featuring escape artist Sammy the Bengal tiger. In 1888 Sammy absconded from his Roma Street cage in Charles Higgins’ Great Menagerie of Wild Performing Animals and ran through the rail yards. The day’s headline was “Man Eating Tiger Eats Man on George Street. Make Tracks if Tiger Attacks!”

The blue wren is inspired by Trent Dalton's novel Boy Swallows Universe
The blue wren is inspired by Trent Dalton’s novel Boy Swallows Universe

After a swift and friendly check-in, I’m eager to discover which one of the 212 rooms is mine. Waiting for me is a welcome treat of wafer-thin and particularly delicious biscotti. It’s made by a local not-for-profit, The Baking Bunch, a social enterprise that supports NDIS participants who love to bake.

I’m sleeping in a one-bedroom king suite on floor 8 ($616 per night), which overlooks office buildings on Turbot Street. The clever design uses wardrobe doors to section off the bedroom from the lounge area, creating a walk-through wardrobe that delights my inner child. It also has a spacious freestanding bath where I can indulge in a long soak.

Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre has 212 rooms
Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre has 212 guest rooms

Near identical rooms on the building’s top floor, but only accessible by stairs, have river city view balconies.

Dinner and breakfast are available downstairs at Izakaya Publico. Using a Warayaki Grill, the chefs conjure up share plates filled with nori tacos, wagyu rump, seafood tempura, and tuna tartar. Guests can indulge in pre-dinner with a sake-inspired cocktail at 1603, the hotel’s speakeasy-style bar. 

Japanese inspired restaurant Izakaya Publico
Japanese inspired restaurant Izakaya Publico

This inner-city location begs you to explore Brisbane. It’s easy to stroll up to Roma Street Parklands and imagine Sammy the tiger racing through the flower beds or wander down to Burnett Lane and find the miniature red fairy doors that inspired the magnificent pair in the hotel’s foyer, along with bars Super Whatnot and Death and Taxes.

More Burnett Lane finds include quirky Brisbane café, Felix for Goodness where the cold drip coffee is nothing short of amazing. It’s also the easiest spot in Brisbane to nab a $10.50 croissant from Lune Croissanterie, but only during the morning lull between 9.30 and 11 am.

Hotel Indigo Brisbane's 1603 Bar
Hotel Indigo Brisbane’s 1603 Bar

Further dining options abound at Brisbane Quarter with Persone, Phat Boy, Tenya, and Three Blue Ducks.

Putting a curious new side of Brisbane on show, Hotel Indigo is more than a little quirky and ideal for travelers seeking an experiential stay.

Rooms start at about $229 a night.

Location 8/10

Perfectly positioned at the top end of town, Hotel Indigo offers easy walking access to Suncorp Stadium, GOMA, QPAC, South Bank, and Roma Street Parklands.

Food 8/10

Surrounded by dramatic full-height murals, Izakaya Publico creates a theatrical Japanese-influenced dining experience with a locally sourced, seasonal produce-driven menu.

Rooms are equipped with luxurious amenities
Rooms are equipped with luxurious amenities

Room 9/10

With a lighted makeup mirror, GHD hairdryer, and television that replaces a wake-up call and lets you check out, the rooms have a luxury feel.

Verdict 8.5/10

A unique focus on local art makes luxe Hotel Indigo a hip stay with a real sense of Brisbane in a sublimely central location for the city’s top attractions.

The writer was a guest of Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Central. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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