It’s official! Travellers have voted this hotel #2 in Australia in the 2024 Tripadvisor Traveller’s Best of the Best Hotels in Australia Choice Awards. You’ll be impressed too! Read my Emporium Hotel South Bank review and see why the full-frontal Brisbane rooftop bar views, luxury hotel suites and high-tech rooms offer a perfect stay.

The Emporium Hotel South Bank stood out for travellers with its unique blend of sophisticated design, exceptional dining experiences, wellness facilities, and personalized service, conveniently located near Brisbane CBD and the South Bank Cultural Precinct. It offers guests the perfect balance of indulgent city living and a serene retreat. It’s the only hotel in Brisbane that made the top 10!

Since its opening in October 2018, the Emporium Hotel South Bank, recognised with numerous accolades, has consistently earned acclaim, notably as Australia’s Leading Boutique Hotel in the World Travel Awards Oceania for six consecutive years.  

Eat drink and be Kerry answers your questions in a review of this luxury five star hotel and its top Brisbane rooftop bar, The Terrace. (pictured below)

the Terrace, Emporium Hotel South Bank review
Emporium Hotel South Bank review - River City King Suite

Emporium Hotel South Bank review

Although I am a Brisbane local, I enjoy a hotel staycation no matter where it is located.  I’ve stayed as a guest several times at Emporium Hotel South Bank and always leave feeling pampered and refreshed.  Here is my Emporium Hotel South Bank review. 

I’m enthralled even before I enter the hotel as the concierge spots me walking towards the hotel down the busy street with my suitcase, takes it, and ensures it is in my room when I walk through the door. Check-in is completed in an impressive double-height lobby with a green wall behind the reception desk featuring sprays of white orchids.  The staff are efficient and friendly and remember to explain all the details a guest needs to find their way around a hotel that is new to them. For those guests coming late or leaving early, the concierge and desk are staffed 24 hours.

Inside room 1004 at Emporium Hotel South Bank

The curtains automatically glide back across the glass wall to reveal a substantial slice of Brisbane as I walk into the room.  It is a glorious river city view that gets better as the day turns into night. To catch every glimpse of the view, the doors open onto a narrow balcony which provides just enough space to stand and enjoy the panorama. This is a room designed to impress, but it is also extremely functional. The wardrobe is spacious, and right next door to the large suitcase rack makes it very easy to hang your clothes.  There are large sliding glass doors that hide all of it away.

The bed is a Seay Posturepedic Dynasty with down bedding.  Translated, this means a very comfortable night’s sleep.  It is soft but not cocooning. There is a pillow menu with six options ranging from a Swedish memory pillow to a pregnancy pillow. If you forget your pyjamas, that’s not a problem either. The hotel has its own bright red pyjama line available at reception and online. So, if you are tempted to pack the luxurious robe, just buy one instead.  By the way, the slippers are yours to take home.

A good night’s sleep

I can’t hear the traffic noise apart from a background hum, but emergency vehicle sirens penetrate the cocoon.  However, I have an excellent night’s sleep courtesy of curtains that blackout the room. The television is a 55-inch screen set into a custom-made gold frame. Movies are pay per view with 100 titles available. To play your music, just Bluetooth to the Bose soundbar. The internet is free. It jammed on my phone but worked fine on my laptop. I didn’t try streaming anything, sorry.

Lighting in the room is straightforward and comes with an easy night light option. The bedside lamps have a swivel shade to get them into the right reading position quickly.  No need for any additional lighting in this light-filled room. The in-room dining menu is available 24 hours.  Breakfast includes fresh Queensland fruit with honey harvested from the rooftop, Tamborine Mountain free-range eggs, and a selection of four hand-crafted organic juices. If you want your Coco Pops or cornies, you can have that too.  The lunch/dinner menu and dessert menu also are filled with local choices, and there is a separate children’s menu.

Exploring the Emporium Hotel mini bar

Always wanted a wine fridge? Well, this is your moment.  The in-room EuroCave wine fridge is stocked with a bespoke collection of ten local and imported wines.  Expect three beers and a selection of spirits and mixers. The minibar is well stocked with snacks, including locally sourced items and fresh milk. There is a desk area with good, functional lighting, a swivel chair, and a pop-up tower powerpoint for charging laptops that always seem to be running low on battery power in my world.

More luxury in the Emporium Hotel bathroom

It’s luxury all the way in the bathroom with enough marble to make a Roman god jealous. The spa bath is built for two but if you can offer selected viewing via the glass which turns opaque at the flick of a button. There are twin basins and an oversized shower with a rain shower head option. It is all enclosed, so there is no danger of water escaping. The toilet is separate and behind a door. The makeup mirror has a light, and the hairdryer is powerful. Products are Moulton Brown and have a luxury feel and pleasant fragrance.  Razors, toothbrushes and shaving cream are among the free extras available from housekeeping, but you must pay for deodorant and stockings which they also have on hand. GHD hair stylers are available for loan.

Emporium Hotel restaurants and rooftop bar

The Terrace on the 21st floor is set to become the must-visit Brisbane rooftop bar.  It has plenty of wow factor, including impressive views over Brisbane. With a ceiling that folds back, a floor that lights up and an oversized video screen, it is Brisbane’s most stunning bar. The Terrace is open from 6.30 am until late for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Belle Époque on the ground level is a French-inspired café open daily until 4 pm.  They serve delicious high teas here.

The hotel’s restaurant, Signature, is a stunning peach pink-themed space with a walk through wine wall.


Yes, there is a rooftop pool!

The 23-metre rooftop pool on Level 21 is restricted to hotel guests and visible only from the lift lobby or through a window in the rooftop bar.  From the infinity pool edge, it feels like you are swimming over Brisbane.  It’s a very cool space.  There is also a gym, steam room and sauna plus an in-suite spa menu with a full range of treatments.

Sigh with happiness factor?

Very high. You will feel very special in this room, ensconced in the lap of luxury.  If the view doesn’t do it for you, the spa bath or EuroCave will. Personally, I could play with the obscure switch in the bathroom wall for hours, but then simple things…

What’s outside at South Bank?

With South Bank and South Brisbane at your feet, the options for dining and entertainment are almost limitless. South Brisbane’s Grey Street and Little Grey Street are filled with restaurants. The Performing Arts Complex and Goma offer endless options for art, artifacts, and entertainment.  Riverside walks and Brisbane’s sand beach at South Bank Parklands await full exploration.  The CBD is a walkable distance just over the river.

Here are just some of the options available at South Bank.

Staying there

Emporium Hotel has 143 suites and is located on Grey Street, South Brisbane. 

Brisbane’s hotel market is booming with a wide choice of new options.  Here are 10 you need to know about.

If you love a luxe view, take a look at this Sydney hotel.  For a different type of stay, try the new Calile Hotel at James Street, New Farm or the classic CBD glamour of Treasury Hotel Brisbane.

Disclaimer: Eat, drink and be Kerry stayed as a guest of Emporium Hotel.