Fall Down The Rabbit Hole At Luxury Brisbane Hotspot

Do you have a favourite bar? A No.1 fall-back place you know and love with a passion, at which you always choose to meet loved ones and celebrate all of life’s many ups and downs?

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For me, that place is Brisbane’s multi-award winning Emporium Hotel Cocktail Bar at the upmarket Fortitude Valley precinct. I adore its cosy, luxurious red velvet chairs; scrumptious food and to-die-for cocktails; and its sumptuous, enticing interior, including a grand onyx bar overlit by an amazingly opulent, antique crystal German chandelier, originally from a castle in Europe, home to elegant debutante balls. Then there’s the bar’s exquisite stained-glass wall which was originally a Parisian shopfront crafted more than 100 years ago. What’s not to love?

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NB: This is an unsponsored story – I recently stayed at Emporium Hotel and revisited my fave bar as part of a birthday present from my husband, but such is my love for the place, I thought I’d act as a kind of tour guide here. So, if you’re fortunate enough to visit the sunshine state during winter – when the weather is still very mild and warm – as a long-time local, this is definitely where I reckon you should go.

In fact, I’ve consumed so many celebratory cocktails with my friends at Emporium, I’m left wondering why there isn’t, in fact, one named after me? Just joking; I’ve marked engagements, marriages and babies; new love; lost loves and loved one’s deaths, all with a cocktail in hand there.

And, speaking of cocktails, the Emporium Hotel has just released its Winter Wonderland cocktail menu with which to warm the cockles, celebrate shorter days and brave the cooler nights. The menu plays homage to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – now, there’s a white rabbit hole I’d gladly fall down! Each section of the menu is inspired by a chapter from the much loved book-turned-movie – some that reference back directly to the title and others the subject within.

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I tried an aptly titled cocktail for my big birthday night out called Mother’s Ruin (pictured) from the enigmatic Chapter Two: The Pool of Tears chapter. It was an amazing blend of Beefeater Gin, lime juice, sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters. And no, I’m happy to say there were no tears afterwards; just many happy feel-good quaffing moments.

Emporium Hotel Food & Beverage Operations Manager Katrina York says the menu is unique in Brisbane. “The Emporium Hotel’s new Winter Wonderland features a range of uniquely crafted beverages and winter warmers, to spiced varieties and fruity blends with a twist, and is sure to lure locals out from under their covers this winter,” Katrina says.

“The Emporium Hotel menu has unique traits no-one knows about. We grow our own herbs, which creates the garnish on each cocktail, and we have our own beehive on the roof of the hotel, with which we source our honey from for the food and beverage menus – adding an extra Emporium signature to the Winter Wonderland range.”

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And the luxury hotel can also lay claim to an impressive array of accolades including recently being inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame and Winner: Best Luxury Accommodation, Queensland Tourism Awards 2014, 2013, 2012.

You can also enjoy a new Emporium Suite & Cosy Winter Package until August 31. It includes overnight accommodation in a room type of your choice; a bottle of red wine and a warming lavender wheat bag and Molton Brown massage oil on arrival; continental breakfast for two, served in-suite and late check-out at noon. Rates start from $249 per night. Check it out! Many happy cocktails to you, too.

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June 24, 2015

The Top 50 Luxury Hotels

The Definitive List


Our choices below were based on the following criterion of hotels and resorts both large and boutique (so size didn’t matter): a hotel’s unique culture; superb service; attention to detail; the “wow” factor such as beauty in interior design, architecture or setting; aesthetic sensitivity to the surrounding environment, city and culture of the country; great location (views, near landmarks, central etc); and that indefinable quality that sets great hotels apart from good ones.

Judging a hotel also depends on one’s personal experience during the stay; for example, if your luggage was stolen en route, you had a crap room above the kitchens, or you fought with your partner the whole time, you’re not exactly going to have sun-dappled memories of a hotel, are you? So if your favourite’s not listed below, write in and tell us about it in Feedback.

Counting down from 50 to 1, SheSaid’s list of the best hotels and resorts in the world are:

50 Shangri-La, Singapore

49 Four Seasons, Istanbul, Turkey

48 The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, Australia

47 Claridges, London, England

46 Halekulani, Oahu, Hawaii

45 Hotel Como, Melbourne, Australia

44 Brenner?s Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden Baden, Germany

43 Le Byblos des Neiges, Courchevel, France

42 Caneel Bay Resort, St John

41 La Residencia, Majorca, Spain

40 Hyatt Regency Maui, Hawaii

39 The Regent, Bangkok, Thailand

38 Hassler, Rome, Italy

37 Sacher, Vienna, Austria

36 Medusa, Sydney, Australia

35 Baur en Lac, Zurich, Switzerland

34 Four Seasons Beverly Hills, California, USA

33 Normandy Hotel, Deauville, France

32 Amanresorts? Hotel Bora Bora, Tahiti

31 The Tawaraya, Kyoto, Japan

30 The Oberoi, Lombok, Indonesia

29 Cipriani, Venice, Italy

28 La Brisas, Acapulco, Mexico

27 The Datai, Lankawi, Malaysia

26 Amangani Resort, Colorado, USA

25 Le Touessrok Hotel & Ile aux Cerfs, Mauritius

24 Inverlochy Castle, Fort William, Scotland

23 Hayman, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

22 Hotel Regency, Florence, Italy

21 Hyatt Tokyo, Japan

20 One Aldwych, London, England

19 La Colombe d’Or, Provence, France

18 Mandarin, Singapore

17 New York Palace, New York, USA

16 Hotel Paris, Monte Carlo, Monaco

15 The Lancaster, Paris, France

14 Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy

13 Perivolas, Santorini, Greece

12 Raffles Hotel, Singapore

11 Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy

10 Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles, California, USA

9 The Four Seasons, Bali, Indonesia

8 Gritti Palace, Venice, Italy

7 Peninsula, Hong Kong

6 La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

5 The Plaza, New York, USA

4 Hotel de Crillon, Paris, France

3 Ritz, Paris, France

2 Hotel du Cap-Eden, Cote d’Azur, France

1 Hotel San Pietro, Positano, Italy

January 28, 2002