Review: The Calile Hotel brings true five-star luxury to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley

This month marks the one year anniversary of the opening of one of the finest new additions to the Brisbane hotel scene, the five star Calile Hotel, set on the edge of the Fortitude Valley, on the booming and revitalised James Street.

Local architects Richards and Spence designed the $100 million urban resort, with balconies for all guests, a spectacular pool surrounded by cabanas and palm trees, and one of the most stunning designs you’ll find in any hotel internationally. There’s a simplicity to it that will marvel, yet the level of detail (not to mention consistency) is astounding. It’s no surprise that it was recently named as a finalist as Hotel & Development of the Year in The Urban Developer awards.

The lobby was vast and immediately impressed a feeling of class; but it was in the room that this, and the newer technologies they’ve built into the space, truly came to life. Window shades opened as I walked in and there was a welcome drink on the table, as well as music playing from the massive flat screen television hanging over the wall. The room had a balcony which looked over a pool, and area that was reminiscent of Sydney’s Ivy. In fact the building itself had a lot of the similar design hallmarks. But here is certainly designed as a place to relax.

There’s impressive branding throughout the hotel, with The Calile Hotel (a beautiful typeface, I may add) finding its way onto tags in all the massive and comfortable towels, for instance, and of course the excellent bathrobes. Grown Alchemist provide the toiletries – the geranium leaf body cleansing bar with bergamot and Patchouli is the sort you want to take home with you so you never smell of anything else again. So of course I did that.

At the room’s centre, is a firm, comfortable king bed, with excellently long pillows. Having just travelled around Europe where they seem to love miniature pillows, this was a welcome feature. You’ll find a comfortable recliner chair by the window, with a beautiful plant at the end that really ties the room together. The colours elsewhere are beige and pink marble – with gold, white and silver the focus of the room. There’s a circular table the centre of the room with two chairs, a pink marble top and golden legs. The lights all add a nice ambiance to the room – the globes next the bed carrying a certain Art Deco quality,

On either side of the bed, you’ll find AC plugs and USB adapters to charge your devices, with master control button for the lights in the room (as well as the blinds). Though it’s not clear which button is which until you play with them, the lights are quite smart; for instance there’s a night mode where the lights are limited in the bathroom – though as with the buttons by the bed you have to take a moment to guess which button is which. So I recommend you take some time to get to know the room once you arrive.

Speaking of all the latest technological features, your TV has Bluetooth and chrome cast, free movies including recent releases and all the DTV channels. There’s an external Samsung speaker on the wall below it, which is ensuring the sound is grand.

Archways are a strong part of the design, joining the open planning of the room to give it a unique flair – you note it on the balconies and as you’re laying in bed, looking at your flat screen TV you’ll notice that you walked through an archway to get to your room. And looking to the left of the bed you can also see the bathroom – unless you chose to close the mirrors shut, to an area which also doubles as the wardrobe for the room; two comfortable robes, custom made by Venroy, hanging at full display, and plenty of room to put your bag. There’s even some drawers underneath. There’s also curvature in the shower, with a rain shower that is built into the wall. Every nook and cranny has been well thought out here.

Even your mini-bar has charm, hidden away behind golden doors with self service snacks and alcohol. Every aspect of the design feels well thought out and practical; not just adding to your needs, but adding to the aura of the space, one that blends modernity with high class design and tastes of a tasteful past – Art Deco at times, while the curves are reminiscent of Californian architecture from the early 1900s, when Spanish Revival design was all the rage.

The 27-metre pool is the centrepiece of the hotel, with a bar, and cabanas to waste away the afternoon under the hot Queensland sun. You’ll also find the KAILO Spa on site. As for dining, Hellenika is a Greek restaurant on the second floor (head to their website for more details), and then in the lobby you’ll find the hotel’s own bar and restaurant, where they also serve breakfast between 630am and 1130am, and drinks and bites through the night.

The lobby restaurant has a small, healthy menu with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The space continues the design of the rest of the hotel, with pink marble making up the bar and your table. Like the room, everything here has been meticulously presented, with a small golden pepper grinder, chunks of brown sugar, and a pallet of table salt. I had a croque madame for breakfast, taking their croque monsieur and adding an egg ($24), as well as a green tea, which arrrived loose leave in a beautiful glass teapot. The sandwich came out deep fried, which I hadn’t seen before. Was quite a heavy start to the day, though a delicious one.

Beyond all this, you’ll find easy login for free wi-fi for four devices, at a restricted speed, of you can pay a small fee for faster internet and more devices. Though the restricted speed was more than reliable enough to do anything the everyday traveller would need.

I mentioned James Street at the start of the article, and indeed, the hotel itself is in a recently gentrified area of Brisbane, with a lot of boutique shopping and dining in its vicinity. There’s definitely a feeling like the hotel sits at the heart of this, and that a visit to the city could be as much to experience the hotel itself, as it might be to experience the broader area. From the beautiful hotel pool, to the charm and class of the room, it’s hard to want to leave. And with room service you certainly don’t have to.

Final Verdict

The Calile Hotel is one of contemporary luxury – with a playful call back to the design of the past. It’s a place you come if you want to feel pampered and “away from it all”, even though you’re in the heart of Brisbane’s most bustling precinct. Everything about the room provides class, comfort and a stay that you’ll be thinking about long after you leave. There are few hotels like it anywhere in the world, and to have it in Brisbane is truly a treat.


The Calile Hotel is located at 48 James St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, Australia. Rooms start from $259/night. Head HERE to book a night at the hotel.

The author stayed as a guest of the hotel for one night. Photos by Sean Fennessy, except for the photo of the food, by the author.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.