Brisbane has a reputation for being Australia’s party town. If that tends to conjure up images of entertainment of a brash, boozy and outdoorsy nature for those who have never visited Australia’s third largest city, then those who have are also aware that this relatively young city has another side to it. With a thrusting contemporary skyline and a location on the Queensland coast that positions it extremely well for trade and travel to the whole Pacific Rim, it’s something of a go-getter city that aims high. As with many other entrepreneurial hotspots – the city has the largest economy for any city lying between Sydney and Singapore – in the region, sophistication is something of a by-product of success. As such, the city has much in the way of culinary, leisure and nightlife options to offer the locals and visitors alike.
Whether one is visiting on business, pleasure or a bit of both, it’s probably a good idea to find somewhere that retains its finger on the pulse of the city whilst offering a little sanctuary. As locals will proudly tell you, the partying frequently reaches mythical proportions.
The Limes Hotel is exactly such a place. A small boutique hotel of only twenty-one rooms behind its cool contemporary façade, it’s ideally located in the centre of Brisbane’s business and nightlife district. One can certainly bring the social life of the city inside with you: the laid back roof terrace bar and its popular rooftop cinema programme make good use of the city’s warm climate to draw locals and visitors into an effortless mix. But, even these options are on an intimate and manageable scale compared with the wild energy of some of the famed nightspots just a short walk away.
Beneath the gentle energy up on the roof, the rooms provide a comfortable sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle. As with much else in the hotel, the design is based on a palette of neutrals and earthy tones that are suitably cooling in Brisbane’s sometimes fiercely hot summers, warming on the rare occasions that the temperature outside drops below the comfort zone. Finished in a style that uses uncluttered clean lines, smooth veneers and understated luxury –such as the individually hand painted feature wall created using a mineral coating technique- the rooms each open onto a private balcony while a limited number of rooms have their own courtyards that feature a hammock.
The whole of The Limes Hotel, from the striking façade that is effectively a giant cutout of the hotel’s logo reinvented as hip architecture to the style of the cocktails served in the bar, is the brainchild of designer Alexander Lotersztain. Alexander is an Argentinean expatriate who settled in Australia at the age of 19 and his design studio has been responsible for a number of highly successful designs from hip store interiors to furniture.
For him, it was important to create a design that felt both special and different from everyday life, but was welcoming enough for guests to feel relaxed. He has achieved this very effectively. In the process, he has also come up with a few innovative touches from which other hotels could learn a thing or two. For example, in an age in which many hotel guests work on laptops – and yes, there is wifi access throughout- the need for the traditional work desk is obsolete. Instead, the guest rooms at The Limes Hotel feature a variation on a peninsula counter unit that connects all the areas of the room from the bathroom to sleeping area in an unbroken manner. Visually it brings overall cohesion to the total design, but practically it also provides a spacious multi-functional area that can be used for everything from comfortably working on a laptop to putting the finishing touches to ones grooming for the evening.
For any discerning visitor who passes by Brisbane, The Limes Hotel will undoubtedly prove that there is a strong continuity between the present day and Australia’s specific history in which the local hotel not only provided visitor accommodation but a social hub for the local community.