Recently I was invited to stay at the world’s first NEXT Hotel, which is located right here in Brisbane! The hotel is breaking all the normal hotel rules by giving the power back to the people through it’s insanely cool and very clever technology systems. It is a hotel built for the modern world but still retains all the luxury, class and comforts you need to feel right at home while you’re away from home. So, let’s explore this brilliant hotel together!
Sitting pretty along the Queen Street Mall, the hotel has an entrance right across from the Myer Centre. This location makes it really easy for those visiting without a car as you can catch a cab to the hotel or take the Airtrain from Brisbane Airport to Central station then walk 10 minutes to the hotel doors. The hotel has a reliable, good valet service too which can be accessed from Burnett Lane (just don’t freak out like I did when you have to turn left into Burnett Lane from Adelaide Street into a shared zone and feel like you’re hooning down the mall!)
Direct access to Queen Street Mall means easy access to great shopping and restaurants. Burnett Lane, directly behind the hotel, is home to a number of sneaky little bistros, bars and cafes waiting to be enjoyed. Take a 15 minute stroll over the Victoria Bridge to South Bank and access to restaurants, markets, shopping and entertainment or walk the complete opposite direction to Eagle Street Pier for views of the Story Bridge and cocktails and fine dining along the Brisbane River.
The brand spanking new rooms are modern, simple, minimalist, very comfortable and luxurious. The beds are huge! Plenty of room to sprawl out and get comfortable in the big, squishy pillows and melt into the super comfy mattress. The blinds have heavy curtains on them, which is great for blocking out that pesky sunshine if you’re in need of a good sleep-in. In terms of space, the rooms are a really great size as there’s plenty of room to spread out all your gear, walk around and sit in a few different spots (i.e. you aren’t just confined to sitting on a bed).
The bathroom area is open, making the space seem larger again, with sliding doors if you need some privacy. The finishings are all top-notch, modern and well thought out. There’s a great amount of bench space next to the basin and plenty of mirror room, with great strip lighting set into the mirror for perfect make-up lighting. The shower is a generous size with a detachable shower-head and big fluffy towels and comfortable robes at the ready. I also really liked there was a wardrobe space in the bathroom, perfect for storing your luggage and hanging up clothes, getting them out of your way.
When it comes to entertainment, the room has a good-sized wall-mounted flat-screen television with free-to-air and some cable tv channels as well as movies on demand and a selection of free movies! There’s a pod coffee machine and a mini-bar with a ‘Free 4 You’ policy, meaning you get 4 free items from the mini bar per day! Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
Our room had a view overlooking the Queen Street Mall below and looking out toward the Brisbane River and South Bank. Even though I’ve lived in Brisbane most of my life, I hadn’t seen the city from that angle before and it was really cool to get a new perspective on my hometown.
What I really like about this hotel is the number of cool spaces there are to hang out, which gets you out of your room! There’s a 20-metre swimming pool which shares a space with the hotel bar, on the Club Lounge level, surprisingly this little space turns into a very cool hangout after dark and the perfect place for a glass of wine or a cocktail. They play great music and it has a chilled-out atmosphere with really pretty views of the city at a completely new angle, especially as the sun sets.
Also on site is a 24-hour gym, which is kitted out with really good workout equipment and a great range too! There’s a library area with a meeting desk and loads of comfy chairs and spots to curl up and read one of the books off the shelf or watch the news in comfort. There’s also a number of Apple Mac computers set up, giving you free access to the internet and a really great fridge area where you can stock up on drinks and snacks then charge it all back to your room using the iPad set-up!
As if this wasn’t enough, they also have really tasty little snacks set-up for you to come and nibble on during the day, as part of the Club Lounge area. My favourite feature of the hotel though has to be the nap and shower pods! There’s nothing worse than checking out of a hotel and having a really awkward amount of time between leaving the hotel and your flight home. At NEXT, you can check-out then head up to the Club Lounge to hang out for a while. There are really great shower areas set up so you can freshen up before or after your flight and these absolutely awesome nap pods, where you slide across the curtain and catch a few zzzz’s before you leave/check-in to your room.
Breakfast and dining
Oh man, the food! I have eaten at a few hotel restaurants in my time and with the exception of a few, the food at hotel restaurants is usually so-so. Not in the case of NEXT though, because the food is absolutely sensational. It’s so good that Matt and I were already planning when we could come back again just to eat there!
Lennons restaurant has a fantastic menu and prides itself on preparing delicious food from fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and being able to meet any dietary requirements. We were lucky enough to meet the head chef and be talked through the mouth-watering menu. The food is well-priced and absolutely delicious with great portion sizes and excellent presentation. Everything about the restaurant is easy, comfy, cool. The service is fantastic, the wines are beautiful and the entire dining experience is really, really enjoyable from beginning to end.
A few of the menu favourites include handpicked spanner crab with avocado, salmon parks, puffed rice and apple, an absolutely divine pumpkin and spinach ravioli with broccolini, almonds, sage and browned butter and roast saddle of lamb with eggplant, tarragon gnocchi and heirloom carrots.
We also had breakfast at Lennons the next morning and enjoyed it just as much as dinner. The menu is really well-priced, the coffee is great and there are great menu options to suit everyone. Both the dinner and breakfast menus had options for vegetarians and gluten-free folk and I would have felt really comfortable asking the chef for something else if there wasn’t anything that suited my dietary needs on the menu.
A few of the breakfast menu favourites include buckwheat and ricotta hotcakes with local figs, hazelnut, oat biscuits and fresh blueberries and wood fired mushrooms with grilled haloumi, perfectly poached eggs, sautéed spinach, lemon and tahini yoghurt and spelt sourdough.
It’s not often you visit a hotel and plan to go back just for the food, so I hope in saying that I am sharing with you just how damn good the food here is! I will definitely be going back for more.
The cool points of NEXT Hotel
So far I’ve shared with you all the basics, the things that make it fantastic as, well, a regular hotel. But NEXT isn’t a regular hotel, it’s so much more! They’ve taken things to the next level by integrating really cool points into the hotel with a Guest Communications Centre and NEXT Hotels Smart App. When you arrive you’re given a Samsung smart phone which acts your own in-pocket personal hotel assistant. The smart phone can be used to set the temperature and lighting of your room, control the television and change the channel, order room-service at the touch of a button and as a wi-fi hotspot!
This means you can be out and about exploring Brisbane city while using the smart phone as a personal free wi-fi hotspot. You can turn on the air-conditioning in your room so it’s nice and chilly in there and order room-service from the very delicious restaurant menu and have it there waiting for you for when you get back. Thinking of a system like this is brilliant, it adds a new level of ease to your holiday! The smart phone can also be used to open your hotel room door! Like I said, it’s like having a hotel PA in your pocket.
Not only this but you can check yourself in and out of the hotel without having to talk to front of desk staff, if you wish. While the friendly staff are there to help you if you need, you can bypass them altogether and head straight to the self check-in desk.
Overall we had a fantastic stay at the hotel and really enjoyed every aspect of it, from the service and the food right though to the cool technology and the comfort of the rooms. A stay at NEXT would suit anyone visiting Brisbane on a holiday and need of a stay in a really good location or someone on business who needs access to ease, comfort and reliable mod-cons. If you’re looking to stay at a really great hotel in Brisbane, NEXT is the spot for you! It is definitely one of Brisbane’s hotel superstars and somewhere you can expect to hear a lot about in the future.
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