Now sleek and elegant, The Johnson is an Art Series Hotel created by a massive renovation that’s turned a formerly boring public service building into a visual delight.

This is a story about an ugly duckling transformed into a swan, but it’s not a fairy tale.

I spent many hours sitting in the waiting room here, wishing that my number would be called so I could update my car registration details and totally missed the clean lines of this building. Now I would be happy to spend that time again to enjoy the ambience of this luxury hotel.

Home to Queensland’s Main Roads Department since 1967, the heritage-listed building was designed by architect Karl Langer and was occupied by the department until 2012. It’s located on busy Brunswick Street, within walking distance of Brisbane’s CBD.

The Johnson takes its name and style from celebrated Australian abstract artist, Michael Johnson. His art hangs in the hotel foyer.

Strawberry roulade dessert


The renovation has resulted in a hotel with a 50-metre swimming pool, and sub penthouses with dramatic views over Brisbane. Designed to fit into existing office spaces, the rooms are spacious with extensive views over Brisbane’s inner city areas. Look out the windows, and you’ll see the distinctive timber and tin architecture as it winds its way around the hills and valleys.

Take a quick walk through this hotel and you’ll see what I mean.


Tumbling Stone restaurant

At the front is Tumbling Stone, a restaurant which fills a corner space between Boundary and Upper Edward Streets. It’s a spacious, light and open space with warm wood detailing, all rather like walking in to someone’s stylish home.

The menu has a focus on local produce featuring Bangalow pork, Vannella burrata, heirloom tomatoes and consists of small and large plates, salads and sides.


Freshly picked strawberries

Where is The Johnson?

Find The Johnson at 477 Boundary Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane.

Ed+bK rating

The Johnson was a walk through only, so no rating from me.  I’ve dined at Tumbling Stone several times, both as a guest and a paying customer, and enjoyed the experience.

Bottom line: Tumbling Stone: small plates $8 to $16, large plates $18 to 36.  Best room rate I could find at The Johnson was $158 for a studio suite.  Good value, methinks!

Best tip: Street parking here.  Download the BCC parking app and make it easier to find a spot.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of The Johnson and Tumbling Stone at an Australian Society of Travel Writers lunch.