Classic couples' retreat
Step back in time at Spicers in Brisbane
Words: Damien Woolnough
20th June 2018
Brisbane is currently experiencing a hotel boom with the opening of the W Hotel and the Calile set to hit James St in Fortitude Valley later this year but sometimes it's easier to rely on the classics.
The 17-room Spicers Balfour Hotel in New Farm opened eight years ago, immediately attracting people who value privacy as well as comfort. What’s the point of a romantic rendezvous when you have to deal with the bustling world every time you walk through the foyer?
My boyfriend and I checked into one of the Spicers Balfour's suites, set a hop skip and stumble down the street from the 1901 Queenslander, which houses the hotel’s award-winning restaurant and modest rooftop bar.
The suite is in Simla, a renovated 1940s apartment block with its own honesty bar and rooms that nod to heritage while offering instant textural appeal with soft bedding, a spacious bathroom and cosy kitchen area. Basically, it passes the 'I want to move in here' test immediately.
The 'step-back-in-time' atmosphere is further enhanced by a martini from the honesty bar
Art deco touches and black and white tiles in the bathroom add to the 'step-back-in-time' atmosphere, which is further enhanced by a martini from the honesty bar.
At first, Spicers Balfour seems a bit removed from the dining action but the hotel is only a 3km walk to the CBD with both of us floating to Otto for dinner in minutes. Fortunately, there were plenty of Ubers to get us home.
The next morning is a slow start, given some encouragement by the Nespresso machine in the kitchenette before we wander to the main hotel for the breakfast included in our package.
This is no simple weekend fry-up as the crowds in their Sunday best (florals and Camilla are big here) will attest. After waiting with newspapers in the bar for table to become available, we headed outside to the verandah before I had even reached the gossip pages.
If you’re planning on romance, get it out of the way before tackling the big breakfast of hand-cut double smoked bacon, lamb & rosemary chipolatas, cherry
tomatoes, onion jam, gratinated mushroom, hash brown and eggs. The same applies to the pressed and crumbed ham hock with pea & shallot salad, poached eggs and hollandaise.
Leave room to sample some honey from the hives on the hotel’s rooftop garden.
In order to make space for lunch we decided to explore nearby James St, stopping in at spectacle sanctuary Optiko to explore the latest collection of Dita, Oliver Peoples and Cutler + Gross glasses and reenergising at the Campos coffee café.
Photo: Instagram @boutiquebookers
Back at the hotel there was time to flick aimlessly through the Foxtel channels before a well-deserved afternoon nap.
If you’re after absolute glamour with 24-hour room service and hot and cold running staff, it's best to skip Balfours Spicer as it has a quieter approach to luxury.
The friendly staff are unobtrusive but imminently helpful with every enquiry and the suites really do feel like your own apartment rather than part of a soulless hotel chain.
It’s a classic hotel with a gentle touch of class.
Best for: Romantic weekend away. You’re here for peace, not to party.
Spicers Balfour Hotel, New Farm, Brisbane. Phone: 1300 597 540