Crystalbrook Vincent brings a creative contemporary and sustainable edge to a Brisbane hotel stay at the Howard Smith Wharves precinct under the iconic Story Bridge. Find out what to expect in a Promenade Room and Promende Master Room and with this Crystalbook Vincent review.

It’s smart, and it’s sleek in a moody, urban kind of way, and it is the perfect base and an interesting place to stay in Queensland’s capital Brisbane to explore this booming riverside area. Formerly known as The Fantauzzo, this is the Crystalbrook Collection’s seventh new property in three years.

Crystalbrook Vincent has opened with heavy sustainability principles. It’s cash-free and paper-free – check-in is on an iPad and I had to note the car park code on my iPhone rather than on paper. Bathroom toiletries are in bulk pump packs and the room compendium is on a screen. It’s all about saving the planet one cardboard coat hanger at a time.

Below The Story Bridge, Brisbane River and city skyline from room 504. Photo Kerry Heaney

Crystalbrook Vincent review
Crystalbrook Vincent day view

Above: The Story Bridge, Brisbane River and city skyline from Room 504. Photo Kerry Heaney

Crystalbrook Vincent review

With only 166 suites Crystalbrook Vincent fits neatly into its cosy spot carved into the cliff under Story Bridge with an impressive presence overlooking the new Howard Smith Wharves prescient,

The first thing that you’ll notice in the reception area are the paintings by Vincent Fantauzzo, who also gives the hotel its name.  There are original artworks and slick giclee prints throughout the hotel and walking down the corridor to your room feels like an art gallery tour. If you think that the female portraits look familiar, you are right. Vincent’s wife and one of his favourite subjects is actor Asher Keddie, famous for her role in Offspring.

I have stayed in two different rooms at Crystalbrook Vincent – a Promenade Master Room and Promenade Room 504.

Crystalbrook Vincent promenade room

Crystalbrook Vincent promenade room 504

Crystalbrook Vincent review – Promenade Room 504

We started the weekend off right with a cheeky stay at Crystalbrook Vincent in Promenade room 504.  I like the room’s dark moody interior which highlights the pops of art and decor (deep green couches are so on-trend).

It has everything I want in a hotel room – a king bed, fast and free wi-fi that is exceptionally easy to connect, a tablet to control everything, blackout blinds (although I couldn’t hide the view), a rainforest shower for that luxurious feeling, and a Nespresso machine with recyclable pods. There’s a large television equipped with Chromecast if you want to stream and also complimentary movies.

The clothes cupboard is so well hidden that K2 couldn’t find it. That would be a shame as that is where the robes, slippers and ironing board live.

A glass wall separated the bathroom from the bedroom which can be hidden with a curtain for modesty or if you don’t want your partner to watch you on the toilet!

This room had an amazing view of Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge and I woke up to thick fog obscuring the end of the bridge.  It was a bridge to nowhere! I would recommend it to anyone interested in photography and seeing the city from different viewpoints.

The Story Bridge obscured by fog. Photo Kerry Heaney

Story Bridge, Brisbane

Crystalbrook Vincent review – Promenade Master

I really scored here with this large luxury room with views across the top of Howard Smith Wharves towards the river.  It was brilliant in the morning and evening watching the sun play across the river and the twinkling city lights.

Almost as fascinating was the cliff wall behind the room.  It was so close I felt I could almost touch it, and it gave the room a really solid, cocooned feeling.

With all the windows in the room, I was worried I might be living in a fishbowl, but surprisingly there was little opportunity for people to look in from above or below.

The bed was king size, but can be separated into two singles, and was supremely comfortable.  You can even buy one to take home if you like it that much. USB and powerpoints on each side made keeping my devices charged an easy task.

Cyrstalbrook Vincent review room

A desk workspace, a lounge area and a kitchen come bar filled the rest of the room space.  It was certainly a place where you could kick back for drinks with friends.

Moody lighting was a feature of the room with several lamps which created a charming ambience.  Working out how to turn them off was not so much fun.  I would recommend you contact reception early if you have a problem working out the switches, rather than waiting until you are tucked up in bed in your pyjamas ready for sleep.

The smart television is equipped with Chromecast, and the wifi is free and good.  This means you can watch anything where you have a subscription – knock yourself out! However, there are much better things to do just a few steps from the front door at Howard Smith Wharves.

The bathroom

Again, it is sleek and dark in here with a conveniently long bench that will hold all your bathroom needs.  The toilet and shower are in the one room, which does limit options,

Bathroom products are all presented in pump packs for high sustainability.  No wastage here!

Crystalbrook Vincent bathroom products
Roasted Karbullah lamb Mews Crystalbrook Vincent.

Crystalbrook Vincent drinks and eats – Mews and Fiume

Head downstairs for a hotel breakfast, lunch or dinner in Mews, which is just to the left of reception. There are many excellent restaurants just outside the door in the Howard Smith Wharves precinct but it’s no compromise to be dining here. See my full restaurant review here.

Crystalbrook Vincent has a strong sustainability focus which includes their food service. Their goal is to minimise their food carbon footprint by ensuring that at least 8 per cent of all produce served within the hotel is sourced within a three-hour radius.

Upstairs is the rooftop bar and an unexpected sneaky pool with a close-up view of the river. The hotel’s rooftop bar, Fiume, is where you will also find the pool.  This is a great spot to enjoy a drink away from the crowds at Howard Smith Wharves.  The views from here are worth checking out.

The Story Bridge view from Fiume.

Story Bridge from Fiume
The Jackson Pollock dessert at Mews

Above: Dinner at Polpetta

Outside Crystalbrook Vincent

With the whole of Howard Smith Wharves at your disposal, you really should get out and explore the area.  Have a cocktail at Mr Percival’s, tuck into some great Greek food at Greca or have a locally brewed beer at Felons.

For a bird’s eye view, take the cliff lift to the top and see the Story Bridge straight on, or stroll along the river walk.  It heads to New Farm in one direction and the city CBD area in the other.

If you feel like a bicycle ride, there are Lekker Bicycles available for hire, or there is also a Smart Car available for a day or by the hour.

The verdict

You can see from my Crystalbrook Vincent review that I like this hotel. It’s sassy and full of personality which suits me so much better than hotels where the decor blends into the background in an attempt to make everyone happy.  You won’t be bored here and with one of Brisbane’s premier playgrounds on your doorstep, there’s plenty to occupy the traveller. This hotel suits the young or young at heart who want to explore the city on foot and revel in urban buzz.

Take a morning walk on the riverside boardwalk and explore Brisbane city, stroll across the Story Bridge and explore Kangaroo Point, shop your heart out in James Street or relax in the Botanic Gardens.  All these options are walkable from the hotel.

It’s a thumbs up from me for Crystalbrook Vincent. This hotel has both style and cred. The Howard Smith Wharves precinct location is enviable and the experience is a winner. Pick it for your next Brisbane stay if you are looking for a classy city vibe with a conscience.

Still making up your mind where to stay? Match your Brisbane hotel stay to your personality here!

Staying there

Rooms at Crystalbrook Vincent start at $275 per night for those facing the rock wall (preferred by some). The Promenade Masters is from $345 per night  (July 2021). Find it at 5 Boundary St, Brisbane City.

TIP – you will get a much better rate if you book direct.

Disclaimer: Eat drink and be Kerry stayed as a guest of Crystalbrook Vincent.