A stylish island in the midst of the swirl and turbulence of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, the Calile Hotel is that enigmatic sweet spot between Gatsby Art Deco and Rat Pack Palm Springs.
Easily one of the coolest hotels we’ve stayed in, the Calile has nailed its styling. Travertine, duck-egg blue and accents of copper, and the Calile’s signature shape: the arch.
It’s a symbol that’s repeated (subtly) all over the hotel.
From the pool and the balconies to doorways, the minibar and even the room’s keycard wallet, it’s one of those things that once you’ve noticed it, you realise how well it’s used.
But this hotel’s not just a pretty face.
Real thought has gone into the details; things like a stool at the bathroom vanity, a large area for luggage and a remote control blockout blind that opens when you first enter the room—it all adds to the sense of luxury.
The Calile is a hotel where form and function sing the perfect duet.
Check out our video of the Calile here.
The Calile Hotel, Brisbane
The lobby is the heartbeat of the Calile’s branding. Stunning travertine-clad walls and check-in desk blend perfectly with slate and carpeted floors, and the same finished concrete ceilings as the rooms tie things together.
And opaque spheric lampshades, copper accents and clever lighting all welcome you into space, into the brand.
Across from reception is the Lobby Bar. Ostensibly, this is where the hotel’s breakfast is served, but is in fact a busy cafe that’s popular with locals too.
The Lobby Bar, which is also open for lunch and dinner, is one of the three restaurants in the hotel. SK Steak & Oyster and Hellenika offer classic steakhouse and chic Greek fare respectively.
Hellenika is also the hotel’s pool-side venue.
Surrounded on two sides by the Calile’s iconic scalloped balconies, the pool, its cabanas and and slender palm trees are the Calile’s final nod to its Palm Springs post-modernism inspiration.
There’s also a full gym, day spa and a comfy quiet library, where you can sit and relax amongst the shelves of the hotel’s books.
Obviously not all the rooms of the hotel look over the pool, and not all of them have those amazing looping balconies either. So make sure you choose a Poolside Room from the nine different room types when you book if that’s what you want.
Our room—a City View Room—is cleverly designed with an amazing level of detail.
One whole wall is a giant window that looks out over the neighbourhoods above a comfy (and stylish) daybed. At night a blockout blind descends over the whole window with a tap on the touch screen near the bed.
This same window blind lowers when you go out for a while and then lifts automatically as you walk in revealing the room and it’s vista. Very slick.
The enormous, very comfy bed is flanked by chic bedside tables furnished with copper and white bedside lamps, which have their own microswitch buttons in the wall btw.
No more fumbling for an ugly thumb switch somewhere along a loose cable as you doze off.
And rather than cumbersome—and frankly underused—wardrobes, our room has an open hanger rail over a long low bench, purpose-built to fit suitcases.
Finally, are we seeing an end to those awkward foldaway hammock things that don’t balance modern luggage?
A secret door here clicks open to reveal the iron and ironing board. Very neat.
We don’t usually need to focus on hotel minibars—they’re all the same. But not in the Calile.
This minibar is a work of art: a cool three-leaf fold-out cabinet that not only blends with the white marble and copper finishings but also reiterates the arched doorway of the entrance to the living space with its rounded front.
Inside are some thoughtfully crafted RTD cocktails made specially for the Calile, and other lovely touches.
We’re pleased to see local beers and wine in the fridge, and mixed with the usual big-brand miniatures are little bottles of Aussie craft spirits. It’s great to find Noosa Vodka and Prohibition Gin from SA next to the likes of Patron and JD.
There’s even a bottle of sunscreen, a beautiful brass Art Deco bottle opener, cleverly number-coded snacks and—ahem—even something for the weekend.
A Nespresso machine and kettle are also tucked discreetly away in here too.
Now, the bathroom. So impressed. Matching the paintwork of other walls, small square duck egg tiles laid in a vertical brick pattern create height, while a full-length mirror (with an arched top of course) adds the sense of space.
Behind the sink, beautiful sliding mirrors glide open to reveal the bedroom behind for natural light.
The shower—like the minibar—is built in an arc shape that mimics the arch of the door and the Calile’s signature.
Its copper fixtures continue the theme and style, and the recessed lighting, tucked into the ceiling, is flattering and pleasant.
You can also choose the level of lighting—either from the ceiling or tiny ankle-height spots—from the switches on the wall.
Other touches, like the wicker basket for the vanity, the copper finished shaving mirror on its stand and the little bathroom stall, all add that extra level of luxe.
Oh, and the hidden door that slides across to close off the bathroom is a masterpiece.
Where is the Calile?
One of the most striking things about the Calile—apart from its immaculate styling of course—is that there seems to be very little business travel guests here. Everyone’s here for a holiday.
It reminds me of our time in the incredible Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como, where everyone’s travelling for leisure.
And just like the Tremezzo, the Calile is perfectly located for this kind of guest.
In the eastern wing of Fortitude Valley, the Calile is surrounded by the best of Brisbane’s nightlife, restaurants, bars and cafes.
And if you don’t want to stray too far into the Valley, you can take advantage of the hotel’s Friends of Calile programme. Over 80 venues along James Street—from hospitality to wellness to retail—offer 10% discounts to Calile guests who join up.
But no matter where you dine, wine or spend a dime, staying at this artfully detailed and superbly styled hotel right in the Valley is an experience of romance, elegance and luxury.