If position is everything, then the Pacific Hotel Brisbane has it all. Conveniently located above Roma Street Parkland with stunning views across the city, the hotel is within walking distance of both the CBD and Central Railway Station with a green belt of parkland sheltering it from city traffic. Two Brisbane private hospitals, Suncorp Stadium and the Brisbane Showgrounds are nearby, the hotel’s proximity to the entertainment precinct planned for Roma Street Parklands making it prime real estate as both a business and leisure hotel.
After parking in the free overnight carpark downstairs, we receive a warm welcome from staff at the lobby desk and a smooth check-in for our staycation.
There’s a sense of nostalgia when I realise that I’d stayed in this hotel previously when it was the Gazebo Terrace. How much better does it look now! Bought in August 2018 by Australian-owned Facilimate as part of the Pacific Hotel Group, the then Hotel Urban was relaunched as the 4.5-star Pacific Hotel Brisbane, joining sister hotels in Cairns and Canberra. It has been artfully refurbished by Australian hospitality designer, Janine Lauder of Janineous Design, its décor both functional and pleasing to the eye.
The first area we notice is the lobby. Softened by semi-sheer curtaining, the area is furnished with a mix of plush lounges and tables fed by data and power cables, the perfect mix of relaxed seating and co-working space for casual meetings. There’s a function centre on the 10th floor encompassing four separate areas to host conferences and events, with rooms lit by magnificent city views, perfect for a wedding.
All 179 rooms and suites have been refreshed with excellent king size beds, stylish soft furnishings, smart TVs and free high speed wi-fi.
From the balcony of our room we enjoy stunning views across the city before we head off to dinner.
The alfresco terrace at the front of the hotel is filling slowly, people gathering in small groups or couples to enjoy the hotel’s Happy Hour after work, leading into dinner. It’s a rare chance for us to leave our busy work lives and enjoy time together, the distance from our home on the Gold Coast perfect for a night away. City lights shine through leafy foliage and there’s privacy on the terrace due to the surprising lack of traffic, especially considering our proximity to the CBD.
Moving inside for dinner, The Gazebo Bar & Restaurant is the only area of the hotel still undergoing transformation. In the clean and functional space, black tables and chairs sit on a granite tile floor, the marble-clad bar providing a luxe focus as the dining area awaits the finishing touch of plants and artwork in the near future.
Relaxing with a glass of Yarra Valley Off Road pinot noir, we settle in to enjoy the new winter menu created by Executive Chef Zac Ruston. With 25 years’ experience, including Lyrebird QPAC, Loaves & Fishes Catering and Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel, Chef Ruston’s time in the Far North is evidenced by the Pan-Asian influences seen in his dishes.
Even in the starters, there’s a high level of interest in the food and its presentation. Using the base of traditional Japanese cooking, the chef has given his own twist to each dish, making sauces in house for freshness, presenting us with a taster plate of several dishes from the menu: Japanese arancini, Pea and wasabi dumplings, Five spice and soy-braised beef and Sesame chicken san choi bao with some Miso salmon (dengaku) on the side.
Similarly, our mains show Eastern influences as well. Korean curry duck leg is accompanied by a sweet potato noodle stir fry with bamboo shoots and bok choy; Grilled chicken breast sits on a delicious smoked corn purée beside a cone of shallot fried rice and avocado. They’re highly accessible, unpretentious dishes, yet their flavour-rich combinations are exciting for seasoned diners.
A dessert assiette of Vietnamese spring rolls, Coconut and lemongrass crème brûlée with black sesame sorbet and Green tea and chocolate truffles follows, each one delicious, the truffles hypnotic!
We note the inclusivity of the menu with food intolerances and preferences well catered for, menu items clearly marked for gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan options. An extensive boutique beer and wine list is also available to choose beverages to accompany the meal.
After a good night’s sleep, we check out the hotel’s pool and gym (for research purposes only)! Someone’s already beaten us into the pool, despite the winter weather being bracing, however he’s from Scandinavia, commenting that our winter temperature’s equivalent to summer weather there!
Greeted warmly by staff we’d met the evening before, we enjoy a buffet breakfast before heading off to do business in Brisbane. Again, there’s attention to fine detail in the breakfast, the buffet constantly refreshed and tidied, with off-menu requests handled with grace. It’s the customer who’s the focus, making our stay exceptional.
Brisbane is very much a city ‘on fire’, with new developments in the wharf area and city parklands, international shows and events taking place, not to mention personal or family celebrations as drawcards. With exceptional customer service, a focus on comfort, great facilities including a delightful bar and restaurant, the Pacific Hotel Brisbane has a relaxed, friendly vibe for a city staycation without spending a fortune.
Pacific Hotel Brisbane, 345 Wickham Tce, Brisbane Ph: 07 3831 6177
Rates range from $116 per night for a Superior Room and from $152 for a One Bedroom Executive Suite.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast stayed as a guest of the Pacific Hotel Brisbane. Two photographs are credited to the venue.