Need a weekend getaway? The Calile could be Australia's coolest new hotel
A swish new city bolthole cleverly fuses yesteryear Palm Springs glamour with a streamlined, modern sensibility. You’ll never guess where, writes Elizabeth Meryment.
It’s the palm trees that do it, really.
Lounging on a sunbed on a sultry Brisbane day, the sun high and scorching, the sky the colour of a Madagascar sapphire, the humidity pulsating. You open your eyes from the heat-induced reverie and gaze up at the date palms that lean over the Calile.
“It’s just like LA,” you murmur to your neighbour. He has other thoughts. “It’s more like the Middle East. Maybe: Israel or Turkey.” The waitress sauntering by says people think it reminds them of Italy.
Wherever you are, it can’t possibly be Brisbane. Brisbane never looked as cool as this. Indeed, looking north from the pool deck of newly opened Calile Hotel you could be anywhere in the world. The skyline revels nondescript sprawling cityscape and the faint hum of traffic and sense of motion from the busy inner-city streets below affords the sense of being part of the city, any city, yet somehow above it.
They’re calling the Calile Australia’s first “urban resort”, but the world “resort” does something of a disservice to this place. There’s nothing even faintly Gold Coast about the Calile, other than its whimsical concrete-and-brass design references to 1960s motels that might have been called the Seaspray or the Golden Sands. This is old-school LA hotel grandeur, or even better, we decide over Tequila Sunrises, Palm Springs luxe.
It’s rare to find an Australian hotel that is at once as forward-focused, sophisticated and as deeply understated as the Calile. There is an effortless modernity and finesse to every element, from the fragrant Grown Alchemist products stacked in each bathroom to the ultra blockout window shades that utterly defy the Queensland sun and its fierce first rays.
The onsite restaurant, Hellenika, an outpost of the landmark Gold Coast diner some would argue kickstarted the coast’s modern dining revolution, is a chi-chi modern Greek with a flashy dining room that flows out to the pool deck. On a balmy evening you can eat haloumi and fried octopus with the gentle sounds of the pool’s faint lapping your dinner soundtrack
In the morning, there’s yoga on a breezy outdoor platform, and amenities include a clubby little library, a Parisian-style cafe for breakfast and coffee, a small but perfectly formed shop that calls itself the Museum of Small Things, and the Kailo “wellness medispa”, a chic, urbansalon offering the gamut of beauty treatments from eyebrow tinting to injectables packages. So darn LA.
All that’s great, but the pool is the true hero of the Calile narrative. This spectacular 25-metre rectangle is a film star of a piscine. Arrive early to secure a poolside cabana hideyhole for the day, and your entire movement from arrival until sunset will consist of stumbling from daybed to water, a sequence broken only by faint movements of the arm to indicate a waiter should stop by with yet another Tequila Sunrise.
Must we leave Palm Springs? Perhaps we could just move in here.
Elizabeth Meryment was a guest of the Calile Hotel.
The Calile Hotel
48 James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
Rates from $259