A welcoming city located along the twists and turns of the Brisbane River, Queensland’s capital is a hub of great food, cultural experiences, and entertainment. There’s no shortage of fun things to do and great spots to visit and any excuse will do to take advantage of the blue skies and warm sunshine that bring Brisbane to life. As part of a two-night staycation, we got to stay at the iconic Rydges South Bank, experiencing an unforgettable meal and taking in spectacular views of our hometown. To help you #TravelWell, here’s our detailed review of Rydges South Bank Brisbane.
Where is the hotel located?
You’ll find the hotel located on Grey Street in South Bank, Brisbane’s cultural precinct. Take a look at the Google Maps screenshot below, looking for the yellow star. The hotel is in an excellent spot for visitors, allowing easy access to all the major sights around the Brisbane CBD area, Kangaroo Point, South Bank, New Farm, Fortitude Valley, West End and beyond. Visitors can easily explore the area on foot, finding an abundance of entertainment, cultural and dining options or use Uber to get to spots a little further away. In my opinion, South Bank is an excellent place to base yourself!
How to get to Brisbane and your hotel
With a pretty impressive international airport, getting to Brisbane has never been easier. If you’re flying internationally, you may find yourself transiting through Sydney or even Melbourne before catching a domestic flight to Brisbane. A number of budget-friendly airlines now fly to the Gold Coast’s Coolangatta Airport, so if you’re looking to save money on flights, it could be a viable option. Just bear in mind you’ll need to get from the Gold Coast to Brisbane. A hire car is the most convenient option but it can also be done by train, transfer company or even Uber.
On arriving in Brisbane, you’ll need to get from the airport to your accommodation. Brisbane’s CBD is around 20 minutes drive from the airport. Brisbane Airtrain departs every 15 minutes during peak times and every 30 minutes off-peak. It takes 20 minutes to get from the airport to CBD and there are a few stops along the way, so it suits a few different accommodation locations. An adult, one-way ticket should cost around $19.50. (Please check the Brisbane Airtrain website for current ticket prices as they may have changed).
Depending on the time of day, an Uber from Brisbane Airport to Brisbane CBD should cost around $33-$45AU and a taxi should cost around $45-$65AU. These prices may vary, depending on whether your driver uses the tunnels, time of day, etc, so just use them as a rough guide.
A one-way ticket aboard a shared airport transfer service, like Con-x-ion, should cost around $20AU, offering a door-to-door service. There are also a number of car hire agencies at both the domestic and international airports. Deciding which option is best for you will depend on how many people you have travelling with you, the time and date of your arrival and your budget.
What are the rooms like?
Rydges South Bank has recently completed a $30 million refurbishment so we were expecting big things! We spent two nights in a Deluxe King Suite River View and by far the things that impressed us most were the room size and the stunning views of Brisbane.
Our suite, 1015, was located on the 10th floor, nestled on the corner of the hotel. The private balcony wrapped around the front and side of the suite, affording us stunning views over South Bank, the Brisbane CBD skyline and out to West End, Petrie Terrace and beyond. The side portion is spacious, with two chairs and a small side table, the perfect spot to sit and relax in the warm afternoon sunshine with a great glass of wine or cold drink.
Inside, the suite was a generous suite complete with an entryway, kitchenette, a large living area featuring a desk and chair, small table and chairs, L-shape lounge and huge flat-screen television. With such a great view outside, having a living area of this size was perfect as, with the curtains drawn open, it felt like we were enjoying Brisbane the entire time, even when we were indoors relaxing.
We found the desk area useful for editing photos and catching up on emails, while the small table was the perfect spot to sit and have a bite to eat. I actually used the table as my morning make-up spot as it offered the perfect lighting. The couch area was very comfortable, giving us plenty of spots to sit and relax.
The separate bedroom featured a very comfortable king-size bed adorned with a large number of pillows! I mention this because sometimes at hotels you find yourself with only one or two pillows, occasionally of very questionable quality. It was great to have a large number of pillows to choose from.
The bedroom also featured plenty of cupboard space, a digital safe and flat-screen television. Being so close to the CBD and freeway, with lots of traffic passing through South Bank each day, I was unsure how noisy the hotel room would be. When we shut the balcony doors and our bedroom door, we couldn’t hear a peep! One other thing I noticed is the room is completely dark once you close the curtains (and turn the bedside alarm clock off). It may not be something other travellers need but, personally, I need my bedroom to pitch-dark when I sleep.
The bedroom itself was a great size as, with such a great view and generous living space, we found ourselves not needing to spend much time in the bedroom so it really was a great use of space. The bathroom can be found off the bedroom, a modern space with a very large mirror, walk-in shower, bathtub, and single basin.
The shower had great water pressure and plenty of hot water. I also noticed a few modern touches in the bathroom which were really great, like the mirror being anti-fog in one spot right above the basin and the mirror having this great lighting behind it!
There is a range of different room types to choose from depending on your personal preference and budget. They include Queen or Twin, Superior Queen or Twin, Deluxe Queen or Twin and onto Junior, King Two Bedroom, Two Bedroom Superior and Deluxe King River View Suites.
Let’s talk about the food situation
A stay in South Bank will see you spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options. There’s no shortage of fantastic cafes, restaurants, cafes, and bars all within walking distance of the hotel. But, I want to talk about the on-site dining.
We started off our stay with a visit to Soleil Pool Bar, located on one of the lower floors overlooking Grey Street. It was a Friday afternoon so the pool bar had a great pre-weekend buzz with a live DJ playing great songs to set the mood. We got stuck into some delicious cocktails and a bite to eat from the grazing menu, sharing a burger, greek salad, and trip of dips with Turkish bread. Everything was really delicious and the service was great too!
When it comes to breakfast you can opt to head down to Bacchus Restaurant for their buffet and barista-made coffee or order in-room dining from the ‘Replenish’ menu, complete with a glass of Moët, if you like! You can also find CBD Cafe Bar Dining offer breakfast, lunch and dinner favourites like stone-baked pizza, salads, burgers and more. If you fancy a special afternoon, Bacchus also puts on a spectacular High Tea, complete with freshly baked goodies, tea, coffee and a little something stronger, if you prefer.
By far, the most memorable dining experience from our stay was the exceptional four-course degustation at Bacchus Restaurant. Each course was absolutely delicious, giving us the chance to try things we’ve never tried before and enjoyed a true food experience. Not only the food was amazing but sommelier, Andrew, did an outstanding job pairing wine perfectly with my meal. I’m very inexperienced when it comes to wine and Andrew chose perfectly, explaining everything in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-appreciate way.
What other facilities does the hotel have?
While we spent most of our time enjoying the room, eating delicious food or exploring, it’s important to take note of the hotels’ other amenities. The on-site gym was overhauled during the refurbishment, featuring brand new machines and a sauna. While not huge, the gym offers a great variety of machines and free weights to get in a great workout!
The swimming pool, located next to Soleil Pool Bar is located on the lower floors, overlooking Grey Street. It’s probably about the same size as a pool you might find at your friend’s house, for example, with nearby Streets Beach complementing it nicely.
The hotel offers a valet parking service, concierge, in-room dining and there’s a business centre with two desktop macs located in the foyer. Personally, I think the hotel’s location is such a strength as it ads on all these extra amenities simply by them being so close. You’ve got a great variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars located very closeby as well as the amazing swimming at nearby Streets Beach and entertainment galore in the surrounding area.
Matt and I made the most by heading to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), located a very quick 5-minute walk from Rydges South Bank. We saw ‘The Book of Mormon’ and absolutely loved it! It was just a great evening out. We got all dressed up, had food and drinks at Soleil Pool Bar and then walked over for the show, taking some time to stroll through the gardens and along the water at South Bank. It was perfect!
There are a large number of hotels in Brisbane so, when it comes time to choose one, you really have to look at what sets them apart. For me, Rydges South Bank stood apart for its perfect location, fantastic views and the delicious degustation offered at Bacchus Restaurant.
For those visiting from out-of-town, the hotel offers everything you could need, including great dining options, convenient location, and comfortable surroundings. For locals on a staycation, the location makes it absolutely perfect for taking advantage of all the great entertainment and dining options nearby. As locals, we loved watching the show at QPAC, having a really special dining experience and exploring our home town again.
The hotel is classy and quiet, meaning it would be an appropriate spot for anyone ranging from a couple on a weekend getaway, a family visiting from overseas or even someone on a business trip. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, I would recommend visiting Bacchus to sample the degustation as a special dining experience. It was a truly memorable meal for us and well worth visiting for.
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Our two-night stay at Rydges South Bank was generously hosted by the hotel. This review was not paid for and all opinions are, as always, our own.
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