We’ve reached the halfway point of the year, and now it’s time for a well-deserved break, whether it’s a new way to keep the kids entertained these school holidays, or perhaps you just need to escape reality for a few days.
Walking around the Brisbane CBD, soaking up the city sights and sounds and sampling the gourmet and cultural delights, I turn to my husband and say, ‘We should do this more often’.
Having driven down early to maximise our time, we grabbed breakfast at Rogue Bistro in Newstead (I highly recommend the pancakes!) before heading into the city for a spot of shopping.
Having worked up an appetite, we headed over to South Bank and wound up having a leisurely lunch at the Charming Squire, where you can watch the chefs prepping and plating up before your very eyes.
With so many things to see and do (and eat) in the city, what makes a staycation in Brisbane truly appealing is when your hotel is walking distance to so much of the action, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the surrounds.
Dedicated to Michael Johnson, a master colourist and abstract artist; The Johnson hotel is on the fringe of Brisbane’s CBD in the heritage listed Main Roads building in Spring Hill, which took three years to renovate and transform into the gallery-esque hotel you see today.
It is the first Queensland offering under the Art Series Hotel Group and consists of three penthouses and 97 open-planned and self-contained suites with a spacious bathroom and kitchenette facilities – providing a comfortable, yet stylish home away from home.
There are also a range of communal amenities including the resort-style 50m pool designed by Olympic gold medalist Michael Klim, a deck bar and state-of-the-art gym (which I should have made more use of, having indulged a little too much over the weekend).
Being equally close to Fortitude Valley, we headed in for dinner at Cloudland, and then devoured decadent ice cream sandwiches at the renowned Mister Fitz’s.
Rounding out our gluttonous weekend, we indulged in breakfast the following morning at Tumbling Stone Restaurant & Bar, which has been dedicated to one of Johnson’s beloved paintings; Tumbling Stone.
The all-day dining restaurant boasts a seasonally-changing menu designed by executive chef Gavin Lewis, celebrating local produce including Eggcettera eggs from a farm near Allora in southern Queensland.
We ordered the house smoked Atlantic salmon, sweet corn fritter, poached eggs, horseradish cream; and grilled halloumi, beetroot hummus, caramelised broccoli mole, poached eggs, quinoa and soya bean toast.
Both visually-appealing when the dishes hit the table (in-keeping with the creative concept of the hotel), they were also equally delicious; and a later check-out from the hotel allowed for more time to sit back and enjoy the last of our staycation, indulging in one more cuppa before heading back to the daily grind.
*The writer was a guest of The Johnson hotel.