Brisbane, Australia

Spicers Balfour Hotel

Rates from (ex tax)$143.19

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD199.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Urban pied-à-terre

Setting

New Farm creative hub

Sleek European design mixes with exotic vintage at the hip Spicers Balfour Hotel, set smack dab in New Farm/Fortitude Valley, the creative cognoscenti’s neighbourhood of choice in Brisbane. A renovated, 110-year-old classic Queenslander topped with a 24-hour rooftop bar – perfect for impromptu nightcaps – this stylish spot makes for an ideal urban escape.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A glass of Veuve Ambal each on arrival

Facilities

Photos Spicers Balfour Hotel  facilities

Need to know

Rooms

17, including eight suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability (at a cost of AU$50 an hour). Check-in, 2pm. Reception is unmanned between 11pm and 7am; if you're arriving late, contact the hotel in advance to arrange things.

Rates

Double rooms from $143.19 (AU$181), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD199.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include à la carte breakfast and parking.

Also

Smart touches at the Balfour include your broadsheet of choice to accompany your breakfast macchiato, and Australian art works adorning walls and nooks. High tea is served every day from 11.30am to 4.00pm; book 48 hours in advance.

At the hotel

Private dining room, free WiFi throughout, DVDs and board games, gardens. In rooms: LCD TV with Foxtel satellite channels, Bose radio, alarm clock, minibar, Nespresso coffee machine and Appelles bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Plucked from the imagination of local interior designer Rowena Cornwell, soothing black and muted jewel tones, and a fusion of contemporary and vintage elements make for luxurious lodgings. The spacious art deco-style Balfour Suite its own sunroom lounge area for lovebirds in want of a little extra space for clandestine canoodling.

Spa

If the rooftop bar's ambrosial cocktails don’t ease you into a Zen state, indulge in some spa pampering in the onsite treatment room, where facials, massages and other treats are on offer.

Also

Spicers Balfour is non-smoking.

Children

Spicers Balfour is more of an adults' retreat – leave the kids at home.

Food and Drink

Photos Spicers Balfour Hotel  food and drink

Top Table

For the innamorati, there’s nothing more intimate than breakfast taken in your room.

Dress Code

Stylish yet laid-back threads are in order, ideal for lounging with a copy of Monocle on the roof terrace, or playing a game of chess with fellow guests.

Hotel restaurant

The Balfour Kitchen serves up unpretentious, bistro-style food. Seasonal dishes (featuring locally sourced, organic produce) are best enjoyed on the breezy expanse of the classic Queenslander wrap-around veranda. Expect flavoursome combinations such as seared scallops with cashews, tomato and pea purée, and duck breast with sour cherry jus, kale and cauliflower purée. Breakfast (from 6.30am to 11.30am during the week and 7.30am to 2pm on the weekends) and weekday lunch (from noon to 2pm) are served here too.

 

Hotel bar

A rooftop view of the city skyline, smudged with the pastels of dusk, sets a sultry scene for an evening rendez-vous at the Balfour’s bijou bar. Cocktail connoisseurs can’t resist sliding their hands around liquid ladies such as the Vesper Lynd or Scarlett O’Hara, a moreish mix of Southern Comfort, cranberry and lime.

Last orders

Dinner in the Balfour Kitchen runs from 5.30pm to 8.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday). If you fancy a midnight tipple under the stars, the Rooftop Bar is open 24 hours and works on an honour system when unattended.

Room service

Order items from the restaurant menu; breakfast and lunch can also be served in the room (there are no tables in rooms, so you'll get a tray).

Location

Photos Spicers Balfour Hotel  location
Address
Spicers Balfour Hotel
37 Balfour Street, New Farm,
Brisbane
4005
Brisbane
Australia

Planes

Fly into Brisbane Airport (www.bne.com.au), 13 kilometres from the CBD, which is serviced by most major airlines as well as domestic carriers Qantas (www.qantas.com.au), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) and Virgin Australia (www.virginaustralia.com). A taxi from the airport to the hotel costs around AU$40, catch the Airtrain (www.airtrain.com.au) to Fortitude Valley for AU$12, or arrange luxury sedan transfers with the hotel for AU$85 each way domestic or AU$115 international.

Trains

If you’ve got the patience, you can catch an interstate train (www.countrylink.info) into Roma Street Station in the Brisbane CBD. The nearest train station to Spicers Balfour is Fortitude Valley, an easy 1.5-kilometre stroll from the hotel.

Automobiles

There is a wealth of car-hire options at Brisbane Airport, and free off-street parking at Spicers Balfour.

Other

For getting around the local area, rent a CityCycle bike (www.citycycle.com.au) and revel in the sunshine that Brisbane is renowned for. Also, be sure to take a ride on a CityCat (www.translink.com.au) – the fleet of catamarans that are part of the public-transport network and glide along the Brisbane River day and night. Spicers Balfour is in the heart of the action, so you’ll be able to explore the area easily by foot.

Worth getting out of bed for

Art lovers can while away an afternoon wandering through the quirky mélange of galleries dotted along the streets of Fortitude Valley. Keep an eye out for Dante, the resident labradoodle at the Jan Murphy Gallery (486 Brunswick Street; +61 (0)7 3254 1855), who is occasionally mistaken for a sculpture. For a touch of greenery, drift down the other end of Brunswick Street to New Farm Park, where the locals flock to picnic, nurse hangovers, throw a frisbee or fire up the riverside barbecue. Treat your tastebuds to the farmers’ markets held every Saturday morning, worth checking out if only for the delectable gourmet samples on offer. Perched on the edge of New Farm Park, the Brisbane Powerhouse (119 Lamington Street; +61 (0)7 3358 8622) is an arts and cultural centre housed in a decommissioned powerhouse. If you lean towards the avant-garde, you’ll find all manner of folly at this establishment, including theatre, art and comedy. Enjoy a Sunday session seasoned by river breezes at its resident watering holes, Bar Alto (+61 (0)7 3358 1063) and Watt (+61 7 3358 5464). For a shot of sartorial inspiration, head to Ann, Brunswick and James Streets in Fortitude Valley, where your credit card will be begging for a work-out. Gents can peruse the threads at Angus Black (665 Ann Street; +61 (0)7 3252 8641), and ladies yearn for the frocks lining the racks at Blonde Venus (707 Ann Street; +61 (0)7 3216 1735). While you’re in the neighbourhood, pop around the corner to Winn Lane for vintage treasures, adorable stationery and hearty café fare.

Local restaurants

Inspired by the unfussy yet sumptuous cuisine of Continental Europe, The Continental Café (+61 (0)7 3254 0377), at 21 Barker Street, serves up classic European food in a cosy setting. With decor reminiscent of the Hemingway era, award-winning The Buffalo Club at 1/234 Wickham Street (+61 (0)7 3216 1323) offers seasonal tasting menus paired with perfectly matched wines. Recommended for adventurous palates.

Local cafés

The bleary-eyed revellers who line up outside Au Cirque Café (618 Brunswick Street; +61 (0)7 3254 0479) are lovers of fine food who come to heal their weary souls with wholesome breakfasts or lunches. The café’s tasty corn cakes and creamy eggs Benedict will change your world. Francophiles also queue out the door of Chouquette (1/19 Barker Street; +61 (0)7 3358 6336) to indulge in the flaky baked treats of this French pâtisserie.

Local bars

Laid-back Gertie’s Bar and Restaurant at 699 Brunswick Street (+61 (0)7 3358 5088) is set to a soothing soundtrack of jazz, with large open windows ideal for sipping cocktails amid tropical summer breezes. Be sure to try the Oscar Wilde – a beguiling fusion of tequila, lime, guava and ginger.

Reviews

Photos Spicers Balfour Hotel  reviews
Sarah Lewis

Anonymous review

How soon is too soon for your first weekend away with a new belle or beau? When I reveal I’m taking a six-week-old relationship on the road, my friends’ jaws simultaneously head south. However, with me moving overseas in a few months, this is a fast-tracked frisson, love-express if you will, and all normal timeframes are thrown out the window. 

So it is that my freshly minted Mr Smith and I make for Brisbane one Friday afternoon. He has a Longchamp sports bag casually slung over his shoulder, while I wrestle with my crammed carry-on, attempting to give that insouciant impression of low maintenance, but secretly seething that I've left a third pair of heels at home.

No matter the age of a relationship, the rules for weekends away are standard: switch your regular mascara for a waterproof version (Courtney Love-style smears are so 1995) and plump for a heavy-duty blow-dry that’ll last a few days so he doesn’t see how long you really spend in the bathroom. (The only downside to this is that you spend those steamy shower sessions desperately trying to keep your head out of the water: shower caps in this scenario are simply not ok.)

As it’s early days I’m still out to impress, so have arranged to have a hat-wearing, sign-bearing chauffeur from Spicers Balfour Hotel greet us at the airport. We bundle out of the sleek BMW 20 minutes later and into our weekend retreat, a 110-year-old Queenslander in the arty New Farm precinct that’s been transformed into a nine-room hotel.

It’s approaching 11pm when Corey swiftly checks us in, pointing out the rooftop bar and escorting us to our Executive Room. Mr Smith and I take in the Rowena Cornwall-designed surrounds, a quirky, well-curated mix of modern-meets-vintage, with plush, sink-your-toes-in carpet, a mammoth bed piled with cushions and antique Sino-chic bedside tables. I also spy a see-through panel at the base of the bathroom door, just a few feet from the bed, immediately wiping out any hope of modesty.

Within minutes of unpacking, which for Mr Smith entails flinging every item in his bag around the room (note to self: if this takes off, we’re going to need a cleaner), he speaks six of the sweetest words I’m ever likely to hear, ‘Babe, can we take a bath?’

For someone who spends hours soaking – and whose previous boyfriends have been of the hop-in-hop-out persuasion – this is pure heaven. We run the bath, splashing in half a bottle of Côté Bastide bubble bath, before realising something’s missing from this blissful scene. With no minibar in the room, we dash upstairs to the rooftop bar to order drinks, then slip back down with a bottle of sparkling wine, just in time to turn the taps off and avert a soggy situation.

Wrinkled and pink, we emerge two hours later and flop onto the king-size bed. Flinging all but two cushions off the bed, I make a half-hearted promise to peruse the pillow menu tomorrow.

A chipper Kiwi called Alex shows us to our linen-topped table for breakfast the next morning on the breezy, deep veranda. As I devour a delicious pumpkin and goat’s cheese omelette and Mr Smith attempts to make a dent in the big breakfast, Alex happily shares tips for the day ahead.

First stop is GOMA, Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art, where we take in a Matisse exhibition and ogle Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s playful displays of polka dots. A short walk along the Brisbane River brings us to bustling South Bank and a lunch of fish and chips at South Bank Surf Club, before we catch a CityCat ferry back to New Farm.

As we’ve booked afternoon tea at the Balfour, the 10-minute walk from the jetty to the hotel turns out to be an appetite-inducing godsend. On the frangipani-fringed veranda, Corey brings us Pimm’s and a tower of treats, brimming with crustless sandwiches and petite cakes.

Barely have we scoffed the last scone when it’s time for sunset canapés on the rooftop terrace. Around a dozen guests are at the open-air bar, perched on stools overlooking the Story Bridge, to enjoy Balfour’s free spread of beetroot tarts, salmon rillettes and prosciutto wraps. While other couples look like they’re settling in with backgammon and a bottle of wine, I knock back a last sip of champagne and hurry Mr Smith along for our imminent dinner reservation. By now, his face is a mixture of bemused and abused. This lady likes to eat, ok?

The force-feeding is forgiven as soon as the first plates land at Ortiga, a buzzy Spanish restaurant just a short hop away. In the edgy, street-level tapas bar, we gorge on golden croquettes, crispy fried prawns, house-cured meats and salty pimientos de Padrón (also known as Russian roulette peppers, as one in 10 is mouth-searingly hot), washed down with cocktails and cava.

Next stop is the Bowery in neighbouring Fortitude Valley, a speakeasy-style bar that’s very Manhattan. After a negroni for me and an apple and cinnamon martini for him (Mr Smith has a knack for ordering the girliest drinks), we stroll back to Balfour, ducking into Ortiga for an espresso martini en route.

By now Mr Smith knows the drill, and is running a bubble bath within seconds of our return. Hours evaporate, pillows are flung and the sleep that follows is deep. So deep, in fact, that when we awake the next morning it’s almost time to check out. A quick call to the ever-helpful Alex buys us an extra couple of hours, and the cheeky aside ‘to have fun until then’. Breakfast, we think sadly, has passed us by… yet Alex impresses once again when he calls to say he’ll keep the kitchen open. Weekends away don’t get better than this.

After a luxurious lie-in and another knockout meal (it’s no wonder the Balfour is a brunch favourite among locals), Alex calls us a cab. It’s just a regular run-of-the-mill taxi this time, but that doesn’t matter – all pretence has been dropped and Mr Smith and I are already plotting our next weekend away. Fast, yes. Fabulous? Absolutely.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Spicers Balfour Hotel ’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The welcoming staff, gorgeous views from the bar and the trendy neighbourhood. Stroll down to James Street for a wine at Cru or head into the city for a meal at Gauge for something very cutting edge and 'non Brisbane'.

Don’t expect

A table at breakfast if you don't book! The restaurant gets very busy on weekends for brunch, best to book ahead.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Sep 2017

We loved

Incredible desert location.

Don’t expect

A short journey to get there – but when you do, it is a very special place.

Rating

Stayed on 11 Jan 2017

We loved

Very friendly service helpful and couldn't do enough for you. Quaint spot in the older part of Brisbane. Fabulous view of Brisbane just a short stroll from the hotel.

Don’t expect

The ultimate in 5-star but it is very comfortable.

Rating

Stayed on 31 Dec 2016

We loved

I loved that the windows open letting in the lovely balmy Brisbane air, the attentive personal service by the staff and sitting under the classic wide verandah in the morning in dappled sunshine, listening to the birds and having a delicious breakfast was the perfect start to the day. A short walk takes you to James Street where there are plenty of cafes and boutiques.

Don’t expect

To be in the middle of city bustle. The location is perfect if you like to be on the fringe where life's more interesting.

Rating

Stayed on 25 Sep 2016

We loved

The views from the house bar, the T2 teas, the friendly and helpful staff (Frederic? the restaurant manager), the antipasti, the meals in the restaurant especially the excellent breakfast menu. The comfortable bed. Bloodhound craft beer bar up the road, great tacos and a quirky cocktail list. Not far from James Street, good shopping and Cru wine bar and shop.

Don’t expect

A view from your room.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Jun 2016

We loved

The attention to detail in the room was amazing – books, magazines and toiletries all laid out perfectly. The location also could not be better – it's close to everything you need. Food was also amazing at the restaurant!

Don’t expect

Although the food was excellent, the service was not consistent at the restaurant – several times we had to get the waitstaff's attention.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Feb 2016

We loved

The friendly staff, the efficient service, and the spacious room (we were upgraded to the new building).

Don’t expect

A swimming pool.

Rating

Stayed on 25 Jan 2016

We loved

The food - breakfast was amazing. Roof top bar also a must visit. My room was spectacular!

Don’t expect

To be disappointed – we loved this property!

Rating

Stayed on 13 Dec 2015

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