Hotels that offer a little luxe escape always poll high on our list and when we had the opportunity to visit Gambaro Hotel in Brisbane for an indulgent mummy and me weekend away recently, we jumped right in.
At first glance, Gambaro Hotel is understated and perhaps more famous for its street-facing bar, but once you enter, the hotel unveils a decadence in décor, service and dining that would rival most five-star hotels anywhere.
Rooms feel cocoon-like, swaddled with luxury bed linen (including silk pillows) and with billowy curtains that lead out to city facing terraces. Fluffy robes, beautiful toiletries and a comfort factor that screams to just stay in bed – but when the food has a bigger reputation than the comfort – staying in can wait.
Gambaro’s Seafood Restaurant has been a Brisbane icon since 1953 as one of the most notable restaurants serving a bounty of the country’s best from the ocean, so we dined on Moreton Bay bugs, Mooloolaba prawns and line caught snapper just to make sure. Across the road and also part of Gambaro’s is Black Hide Steakhouse, another of Brisbane’s best and most awarded steak restaurants serving Stanbroke Black Angus and prized Wagyu.
As difficult as it is to leave this hotel, Brisbane has so much to offer and we jumped on one of the Quick Cats on the Brisbane River to get our bearings and also work out what we wanted to do. We enjoyed a hop on and hop off day of exploring the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, wandered through Brisbane city with a stop at the iconic clock tower, and ended up at our favourite – Southbank. Southbank is a must visit complete with a giant beach like lagoon, immersive playgrounds and the bougainvillaea laden archway that snakes its way through the parklands, which is one of Brisbane’s most photogenic attractions.
We stopped only for ice cream and hopped on the Brisbane Eye for a view of the city back across the river and a bird’s eye view of the ferries forever crisscrossing that had Tiah enthralled. We returned to Gambaro tired, and hungry… and once again feasted on delectable fare that we ordered in-room while watching a Paw Patrol Marathon until Tiah fell asleep cuddling the only thing she has ever traded for her lavender teddy – the champagne coloured silk pillow.
The next morning we café hopped around Paddington, one of Brisbane’s most eclectic suburbs fusing designer with vintage, and feasted on Macaroons and French treats at famed Le Bon Choux. Afterwards, we headed out to the western suburbs to take in the views from Mount Cooth-tha, wander the botanic gardens and visit the awe-inspiring Planetarium that I remember visiting as a child.
Brisbane has so much to offer, and while we only made a small dent in an overwhelming array of options over our weekend, we will be back. It was a real eye-opener for me to play tourist in a town I normally only associate with work.
Getting there: As Queensland’s capital city, flights into Brisbane Airport are frequent and convenient. A simple train ride or Uber trip will take you into the city’s inner suburbs quickly and easily. Road tripping by car is also an easy option, and living just over an hour away at the Gold Coast, this was the means of transport we opted for.
*Disclosure – A Little At Large was a guest of Gambaro Hotel