In Style + Design

The Calile Hotel: A Resort Vibe, Smack Bang In A City

It’s not often that Brisbane is mistaken for Los Angeles, or Miami, but when you stroll out onto the balcony of your room at the new and very cool Calile Hotel, and gaze down on the giant pool area, surrounded by cabanas populated by beautiful people, you really do feel like you’ve been transported to the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

This is what LA’s very best hotels – from the Mondrian to The Standard – look and feel like, and you instantly feel like you are staying somewhere that’s hipper, trendier and classier than the entire city around you.

The other thing that instantly strikes you about the Calile (pronounced with a silent ‘r’, like a Scottish surname) is that it doesn’t just look cool – with its modern, caramel-ice-cream-coloured stone surfaces and bright, airy spaces – it’s also designed to be cool.

Get out of the lift on your floor and rather than a typical, cocooned corridor with air-conditioning humming, you’re facing an open balcony with views over the city. Open spaces and breezeways abound on each floor, allowing air to flow through, while ceiling fans provide a cooling breeze.

Instantly, it feels like you’re somewhere tropical, in a hotel that’s more like a resort than your typical inner-city venue.

This is very much the design brief for the Calile, which focuses its 175-room, architecturally designed building around the giant, 27m x 8m pool, rather than around its conference facilities and ball rooms. It’s what they call a “resort experience in an urban setting” with its pool deck surrounded by cabanas and sun lounges and the option of outdoor dining.

The Calile sits in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, specifically in the new and very trendy James Street precinct, and was designed by leading architects Richards and Spence who also worked on other projects in the area.

“We looked to other hot-weather cities with a resort focus to inform our design; Miami, Palm Springs, Rio De Janeiro and Mexico City,” said Adrian Spence.

“In our opinion there is no other city-based Australian hotel conceived as a resort. City-based hotels in our country are pitched to a corporate market, focused on the conference, rather than on the pool and the hotel’s surrounds. The Calile will change that.

“Our climate allows us to live outdoors most of the year. The naturally ventilated rooms allow guests to share our unique outdoor lifestyle again reinforcing a sense of place that is uniquely Brisbane. It is our greatest professional achievement to date.”

There’s no denying it is a pleasant change of climate to be able to open up your room to the elements and let fresh air in. Away from your bravura balcony, overlooking either the pool or the city, there’s plenty of luxury to be had as well, with a bathroom that can be opened up via giant sliding mirrors to create the sense of a larger space, a giant television with a sound bar for playing your tunes, and a nifty, corner mini-bar.

Also not to be missed is the shower, which has one of those luxuriant sprays that feel like you’re standing in a pleasant summer thunder storm.

When it’s time to eat, you can breakfast, or coffee, or drink, in the chic Lobby Bar downstairs, but the place to be is beside the pool where you can order glorious Greek food from the in-house Hellenika restaurant.

Renowned for its use of high-quality fresh produce to create traditional Greek meals, Hellenika is the sister venue to the famous restaurant of the same name on the Gold Coast. We experienced a feast that seemed to go on for several days, and truly required more than one stomach, finishing with a delectable, mouth-melting slow-cooked lamb shoulder.

Those wanting to entertain will find a typical selection of facilities, including an intimate space attached to the Calile’s little library, but another unique touch is the amphitheatre, an impressive outdoor venue with a projector that also overlooks the expansive pool deck.

When you finally collapse into your giant and luxuriously soft bed, you’ll be delighted to discover that those thick, creamy walls – and the solidity of the door to your balcony – mean that you can sleep in wondrous silence, despite the fact that you are so centrally located.

Truly, the Calile has brought something new and fabulously foreign to the city of Brisbane, and with its magnificent pool area and cool cabanas, it’s really going to make a splash.

Published 05 November, 2018