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Stay here next
aybe it’s because it’s the first of many NEXT Hotels
and so new that the staff are super-attentive, but
NEXT Brisbane, feels like you’re staying with friends.
There are 304 rooms in the newly refurbished
former Chifley at Lennons Hotel on the Queen Street Mall, so you’re
unlikely to be the only house guest, but it’s rare, and a welcome point
of difference to find such warm hospitality and focus on good service
in a big city hotel.
This is a beautiful $37 million transformation of the old Lennons – an
institution from 1972 until mid-2013 – into a hip city haven sandwiched
between the bustling Queen Street Mall shopping strip and the late-
night bars and chic restaurants of Burnett Lane.
The rooms are comfortable and modern, but the little extras set this
hotel apart – the hospitality rating is high here.
There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel for an unlimited number of
devices, and guest are offered a choice of four free mini-bar items
daily from a quality range of snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic
drinks. There’s also an old-fashioned “we trust you” honour-box
policy, displayed in your room, that states, “We won’t ask you if you’ve
consumed anything beyond the free items”.
There are also free movies on demand, a pillow menu and a very
good in-room espresso maker.
All guests have 24-hour access to the Club Lounge, which offers
complimentary tea, coffee and a range of tasty snacks. For guests
who arrive before check-in or need them after check-out, there’s
access to the gym and pool area, shower facilities and space age
sleep pods where you can grab 40 winks. These thoughtful and
generous inclusions make a real difference to travellers in terms of the
bill and the lasting positive impression they make. Well done NEXT!
Cocooned in privacy
The bar and outdoor pool deck overlook the Mall and the ornate
façades of the York building (circa 1929) and the old Barry &
Roberts department store, which is now the Myer Centre. Here
you’re cocooned in privacy and comfort, yet in the thick of the CBD
shopping, dining and bar precinct.
If you’re a technophobe you may find NEXT a little challenging at
first, as everything from the in-room lighting and air conditioning to the
phone and TV can be controlled by a Samsung Smartphone perched
beside the bed.
But fear not. There are still manual switches and air conditioning
and TV remotes. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a breeze
and help is at hand. Reception run you through the Smartphone’s
functions when you check-in and again in your room should you need
The smartphone is very handy, particularly for turning off the
bathroom lights without getting out of bed! Local landline calls are
free and it’s preloaded with useful maps, local attractions and public
transport information, so it’s useful to take out and about.
Lennons Restaurant and Bar on the second floor is contemporary
and urbane, reminiscent of an airy New York loft. It’s an interesting and
intimate space with an artisan feel, juxtaposing classic materials like
wood and marble alongside wire and felt. In fine weather large picture
windows, overlooking a lovely fig tree and the shopping strip below,
slide open to bring the outdoors in.
The service is friendly and efficient and you can watch the theatre of
the open kitchen – chefs working flaming woks, a glowing wood-fired
oven, and a sizzling Brazilian barbecue and grill.
Executive Chef Todd Adams’ menu is inventive and well priced.
It features local produce, gourmet comfort food like Wagyu beef
spaghetti bolognaise and a good selection of all-day dining. Don’t
miss the wood-fired octopus, smoked paprika chorizo and buttermilk
fried chicken with southern style salt and blue cheese aioli or the
heavenly Valhrona chocolate tart.
This modern, service-focussed sanctuary sewn into the seam of
the Queen Street Mall could well be the next big thing.•
Visit: [@] www.silverneedlehotels.com/next
The writer was a guest of NEXT Hotel Brisbane.
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPH JANE HODGES
CITY STAYS: BRISBANE
A LANDMARK BRISBANE HOTEL HAS BEEN RE-IMAGINED AS A HIP, CITY
SANCTUARY WHERE GOOD SERVICE STARS – SO WE STAYED THE NIGHT.
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