I am a fairly frequent guest at the Hilton Brisbane, with about six stays there over the last year. This review is from a stay I had there in April 2016.
The hotel’s location is in the centre of Brisbane’s central business district, with many of the city’s frequented hotspots nearby, including spots for locals and tourists alike. From the airport, it is about about a 15 to 20 minute drive. By taxi this would be about AUD 35. The property can also be reached door to door via the Airtrain in about 30-40 minutes, with the closest station being Central.
Nightly room rates fluctuate between AUD 170 to 260, but it is useful to note that the hotel can often be had with a Hilton Best Rate Guarantee claim, which will knock an additional 50USD off a non-Hilton competing provider. Details of Hilton’s BRG program are available here.
I arrived at the hotel at around 2pm on Saturday, 23 April 2016. This weekend coincided with Australia’s ANZAC Day long weekend. However, occupancy at the hotel seemed medium at best.
Upon entering the hotel via the porte-cochere from Elizabeth Street, there is a large sweeping concierge desk, accompanied by couches, fresh flowers and a large television. There is another entrance to the hotel from the Queen Street Mall side of the hotel, which is much more convenient when arriving on foot.
To check in, one will have to take the elevators to level 6. On this floor, there is the check-in desk, an open bar space and the award winning ‘Vintage Bar+Grill’ restaurant.
The check-in process was smooth and efficient. I enquired about whether there were any HHonors Diamond complimentary suite upgrades available, but was denied despite them still being sold on the Hilton website. This availability continued throughout the course of my stay. Nevertheless, the check-in agent was professional and upgraded my to a twin room on one of the executive floors. I was also provided with a letter explaining HHonors benefits available.
The property itself is an older atrium-style building. Those suffering from vertigo should be wary not to look down, especially if staying on a higher-floored room!
The Twin Executive Room I was assigned was fairly spacious and perfectly functional. The beds are quite soft, which is slightly different from the standard Hilton, as with the linen which may be slightly dated. However, brand standards aside, they are perfectly comfortable.
Shortly after entering the room, there was a knock at the door. To my surprise, I was delivered a bottle of sparkling wine as a welcome amenity from the front desk team. A big plus to the team!
A glass desk is provided which is very large and practical for getting any word needed done. The mesh chair is also very comfortable and provides great lumbar support. The accompanying TV is on the small side and has average picture quality, but has PayTV options available.
There is also ample closet space available, including bathrobes, an in-room safe, iron and ironing board.
The mini-bar is quite well-stocked, especially with alcohol. The snacks available are quite. However, the soft drink varieties are quite vanilla, especially given that the same options can be had for free in the executive lounge, as it is an executive room. It would be better if better drink varieties are offered, such as San Pellegrino soft drinks.
The bathroom is very simple, with a shower and sink separated by the toilet and a glass screen. There is no bathtub.
As with other Hiltons, the amenities provided are Peter Thomas Roth. Dental kits and shavers are not provided by default and have to be requested.
There is also a small in-house gym. There are some free weights and weight machines available. However, the options are very much cardio heavy. There are no power racks, so fitness junkies may have to make other arrangements!
Free water and apples are also available in the gym. Something about sweat in the air infusing with apples made me think twice about taking a bite though.
An outdoor pool is also available, with accompanying sun lounges and parasols. There is also what appears to be a jacuzzi next to the pool, but I believe it needs to be turned on by a staff member.
There is also a tennis court for complimentary hire, but was undergoing renovations during my stay. I have previously used it and it is functional and also has the added feature of spectators from neighbouring high-rise apartments offering their not-so-constructive feedback on my backhand technique.
I went to executive lounge for the evening hors d’oeuvre service. While the lounge is fairly spacious, it gets extremely full in the evenings. My recommendation is to get in early, or even a little before canapés begin. Or else you might be stuck with a counter seat or with none at all!
The lounge also has ample magazines to read for lazing around and a computer which can be used for printing things. However, the cost per page for printing is fairly high (if I recall correctly, it was 40c per page).
The hors d’oeuvres available are decent, but won’t be able to substitute a full meal. As an Aussie, the mini party pies were well appreciated.
Drinks include around four varieties of beers, wines and soft drinks. Basic mixes are available on request from the staff. As the lounge is very busy at night, I would recommend not overloading the staff with requests. They are under-resourced and I only saw about 2-3 staff on duty.
I also brought along my brother and sister-in-law to the lounge, expecting to pay full price for both of them. The lounge attendant was very gracious in only having me pay for one of them, as compliments for diamond membership. In return, I filled out a ‘Catch me at my best’ form for her.
VINTAGE BAR+GRILL (BREAKFAST)
As a Diamond HHonors member, the full breakfast buffet was provided in the Vintage Bar+Grill restaurant. Gold members are provided a continental breakfast here, but can upgrade to the full spread for 10AUD per person.
The selection is extensive, including your usual breakfast fare, plus some extras such as eggs benedict and some Asian varieties.
The cold section also has quite a few yoghurts and smoothies available. The cold cuts, cheeses and fruits are your standard buffet variety.
There is also a large array of breads and pastries available, from scrolls, pain au chocolat to danishes and muffins. Those with a sweet tooth will be love it!
However, perhaps my favourite part is the juicer machine, which can be used to make fresh juices from pre-prepared fruits. Other juices and iced minted water are also available.
In summary, this is a very functional hotel in the heart of Brisbane. You will be in the hustle and bustle of the major hotspots if you stay here. The service is typical of what you would expect from a Hilton and the food and beverages quite agreeable.
However, those hoping for something special may be left a little underwhelmed, as the hotel is starting to be a little dated.
With the new W Hotel and Westin opening in 2018, the Hilton Brisbane will definitely have to step up their game. However, when compared with the current offerings in the city, it is still a solid choice especially given the price point.
There is also a Four Points nearby, which is very new. Incidentally, I will be staying there next weekend, with a review coming up…
For the time being, I would definitely recommend the Hilton Brisbane when visiting Brisbane on both business and leisure.