Brisbane, Australia

The Johnson

Rates from (ex tax)$102.91

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 (AUD143.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Palette-able art pad

Setting

Sitting pretty in Spring Hill

Inspired by Aussie abstract painter Michael Johnson, The Johnson hotel in Brisbane wears its art on its sleeve, and in the lobby, the crisply modern, open-plan suites and beyond… Johnson wasn’t the only authority called in to shape this super-cool stay: the elevated pool was designed by Olympic gold-medallist Michael Kim, and the hotel's modernist shell (the former Mains Road Building) was drafted by noted architect Karl Langer. The Johnson also has a breakfast for champions and a check-out policy so flexible you may end up staying longer than intended… 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A two-hour ride on the Johnson's bespoke bicycles for two, 1pm late check-out and a bottle of Australian wine on arrival

Facilities

Photos The Johnson facilities

Need to know

Rooms

97 suites and two Penthouses.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $102.91 (AU$130), 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 (AUD143.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates do not include breakfast; dishes on the à la carte menu cost between AU$7 and AU$22. With treats such as oats with rhubarb and vanilla mascarpone and sourdough crumpets with burnt-honey ricotta, you may be tempted to segue into brunch.

Also

The hotel are fabulously flexible: hit Fortitude Valley’s clubs and bars a little too hard? Just fancy snuggling up for a bit longer? The Johnson offers an overstay check-out service, where you can snooze for until the room’s required. If you really can’t tear yourself from your bespoke bed, you can have one custom-made for you – order from the hotel’s online store.

At the hotel

Gym, sundeck, art library, laundry, free WiFi throughout. Smart cars and Lekker bikes are available for hire. In rooms: TV with a dedicated arts channel, Art Series signature bed, minibar, Evo bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Consider yourself an art connoisseur? A true culture vulture? Check-in to a Studio Suite and Michael Johnson’s archival prints are hung for you to ruminate on at leisure – look closely and you’ll see the outline of a butterfly wing, the glimmer of a beetle shell and the bioluminescent forms that move under the ocean on a dark night. Magical. But, that’s not all: there are art books to flip through, and turn on the TV to watch art to your art’s content on a dedicated channel. If you’re art-ied out, abscond to the balcony to give Brisbane the eye.

Poolside

Designed by Olympic gold-medallist Michael Klim, the hotel’s heated, deep-blue pool is a 50-metre-long qualifying champ; but it’s well-suited to a refined doggie-paddle if you can’t face accolade-scoring laps. Elevated over the city, the pool has neon-light-flecked views after sundown. The MK50 pool deck has a high-tech gym, but for the sybaritic (and slothful) a barbecue area and plentiful shaded loungers to loll on provide low-key time-wasting.

Packing tips

Arrive with a dinky guide to Australia’s modern-art scene for some eleventh-hour swotting, and bring your comfiest, coolest PJs for in-room slumming.

Also

The building is fully wheelchair-accessible with ramps to doors and elevators to all floors. The Studio Suites and the Deluxe Studio Twin rooms are the most comfortably-sized for guests with mobility issues.

Children

Children can stay, but this white-walled, art-laden hotel isn’t best suited to sticky-fingered smalls and rascally runabouts.

Food and Drink

Photos The Johnson food and drink

Top Table

The row of banquettes by the barred windows are the cosiest. Last orders Tumbling Stone rocks and rolls from 7am till late.

Dress Code

Tear a page from Michael Johnson’s sketchpad and evoke his applauded ‘bush spectrum’ in metallics, corals and myriad ocean blues.

Hotel restaurant

Tumbling Stone Restaurant & Bar looks like a chic lock-up, with black-metal bars and flashes of exposed brick. However, trailing plants along the rafters and sun-welcoming windows ensure it’s a place you’d like to hole up in for a while. The restaurant’s a morning person; its breakfast-brunch offerings (served till 3pm, so no snoozy losers) are simply delicious (a slice of sour-cherry fruit loaf) or belt-loosening blow-outs (eggs Benedict with apple-cider Hollandaise and champagne-sizzled ham). We’d happily cash in our Michael Johnson original for the pumpkin-spiced hotcakes with candied pecans. For lunch and dinner, there are down-to-earth sharing boards and small-to-large plates: caramelised peach-dressed chicken, Harvey Bay scallops and sobrassada, Bangalow Sweet pork all ways. This Tumbling Stone’s on a roll.

Hotel bar

Attached to the restaurant, the brick-lined bar offers a slew of Aussie wines from the country’s most sippable regions, and craft beers and ales from the Granite Belt, Burleigh, Green Beacon and Four Pines breweries and beyond. The menu dutifully maps out its tipples, including Aussie whiskies, rums and ciders. It’s reputed as a gin joint too, with spirits such as Forty Spotted from Tasmania and Hobart No 4. House bar snacks make superb asides to the drinks: home-made crisps dipped in kimchi aioli, fenugreek-spiced squid and chicken wings.

Last orders

Tumbling Stone rocks and rolls from 7am till late.

Room service

During restaurant hours, dishes from Tumbling Stone can be delivered to your room.

Location

Photos The Johnson location
Address
The Johnson
477 Boundary St, Spring Hill
Spring Hill
4000
Spring Hill
Australia

Planes

International hub Brisbane Airport is a 40-minute drive from the hotel. European flights connect via Singapore or Abu Dhabi, and flights from the US stop over in Hong Kong or Singapore. If travelling within Australia, Tigerair and Jetstar run frequent flights from Sydney Kingsford Smith to Brisbane, roughly a 90-minute journey. The hotel can arrange transfers from AU$40 for a one-way trip.

Trains

Central Station Brisbane is a five-minute drive or 15-minute walk from the hotel. For a more epic journey across the Australian outback, ride the Tilt Train from Bundaberg (a four-and-a-half-hour journey); the Spirit of Queensland from Cairns; or the Spirit of the Outback from Longreach (both offer riders 24 hours of scenic, wild vistas).

Automobiles

It’s possible to pound the pavement in Brisbane, but a set of wheels will give you more freedom to roam. There are car-hire booths at Brisbane airport; to reach the hotel, follow the tolled Airport Link road to State Route 10 then Boundary Street. There’s parking on site for AU$25 a day.

Worth getting out of bed for

In the Johnson, there’s Michael Johnson paintings to ponder, a pool to rehearse your Olympic gold-medal-acceptance speech by, and a gym to get beach-buff in. Beyond the threshold, the South Bank Parklands beckon; a 10-minute drive south across the Brisbane River brings you to a vividly green patch with small enclaves of rainforest by tidy lawns. The Streets Beach is by a safe-to-swim-in river; the Wheel of Brisbane offers city views; and the Queensland Conservatorium hosts classical-music concerts. An amble away lies the Queensland Performing Arts Centre for an intriguing programme of live music events, and the interactive exhibitions of the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. If the taster of Michael Johnson work has piqued your interest in Aussie art, head to the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (‘Qagoma’ to its fans) at Stanley Place; here, exhibitions run the gamut from aboriginal masks to Marvel movies. From 9–30 September, venues across the city stage live music, circus acts, dance performances and plays during the Brisbane Festival; the cultural carnival ends with several bangs, with the spectacular Sunsuper Riverfire fireworks display.

Local restaurants

With hefty net-hauls from Moreton and Hervey Bays to the north, leafy greens from Lockyer Valley to the west, and fish reeled in from Murray River to the south, Brisbane’s restaurants have plentiful fresh produce to play with. The Euro on Mary Street serves perfectly grilled, farm-sourced chicken and Bangalow Sweet pork carpaccio – the kangaroo striploin is bathed in beurre blanc, if you’re not too sentimental about Skippy. Aria on Eagle Street has had its praises sung highly (see what we did there?). Matt Moran’s elegant menu shines a light on delicately flavoured sea catches and chucks thick wagyu steaks on the grill. Riverside restaurant Jellyfish has an intriguing gambit: to source and serve eight to 14 species of fish each day, pairing them with house crumbs and sauces. The pay-off is citrus-dill-crumbed ling fish with wasabi mayo, soda-battered goldband snapper drizzled in ginger vinaigrette and rainbow trout with smoked ponzu – delish.   

Local cafés

Jak & Hill’s cool aesthetic – concrete, ferns, sleek silver tables – is bolstered by its menu: messy eggs and pulled-pork omelettes for breakfast, mezze and burgers for midday and deconstructed desserts; being Brisbane, the coffee is reliably good. Caffeine fiends should also hit Lola Coffee in Woolloongabba for a smooth cold-brew and a bowl of kombucha-soaked bircher.

Local bars

Super Whatnot on Burnett Lane takes craft beers seriously, with suds from small-batch breweries in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and beyond; its wine list is solid too, and diner food is very moreish. For live music in a similarly US-inspired setting, Brooklyn Standard on Eagle Lane fits the playbill. Fully embracing the stars ‘n’ stripes theme, staff high-five you on arrival and craft beer can be paired with a soft pretzel. 

Reviews

Photos The Johnson reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this artsy boutique hotel in Brisbane’s Spring Hill neighbourhood, hung their new abstract Michael Johnson prints and mused on them, a full account of their colourful city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick sketch of the Johnson hotel in Australia…

‘We feel our way through life, we don’t see our way through life’ is a curious statement from the Johnson hotel’s namesake painter Michael Johnson – whose nature-inspired abstracts, in ombré sunset shades with coats of shimmering, river-evoking glosses, require a certain amount of ogling to be fully appreciated. He’s not entirely wrong – this decidedly down-with-the-cool-kids stay in Brisbane certainly makes us want to get touchy-feely: the bespoke AH Beard-crafted beds are made to bounce on, the hotel’s ‘overstay check-out’ service lets you be lazy, and the pillows are even printed with encouraging statements – all the more reason to smush your face into them. Once aroused – or shortly thereafter – investigate the Tumbling Stone restaurant’s plates, which come in small and large. By investigate, we mean consume amply and often – dunk fistfuls of the house-made chips into kimchi aioli, crack the caramelly barbequed crust on Bangalow Sweet Pork belly and sink a spoon into white-chocolate mousse with peach granita. Pair with something from the remarkably topographical wine and beer list (starring fine Aussie brews and booze); and rise some time between 7am and 3pm for a stonkingly good breakfast (hello, home-made crumpets and spiced-pumpkin hotcakes) – unless, that is, you’re too busy ‘feeling your way through life’ in your suite.

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 The Johnson’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Interior decor, service and pool.

Rating

Stayed on 22 Apr 2017

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