From here to Serenity with La Grande Dame Adina
You can bank on the best night’s sleep in a heritage-listed, neo-classical building that is now a ravishing apartment hotel, says Helen Flanagan with a sigh.
Defining the harmony between modernity and antiquity, the sandstone-clad former Queensland Government Savings Bank – and home
of the first high rise government office in Brisbane – has morphed into a stunning upscale hotel where you can bank on more than a good night’s sleep.
Emerging in all its 1920s glamazon armour, the immense banking chamber on the ground floor – with massive ionic columns; ornate plaster ceiling; detailed cornices; and grand marble checkerboard floors – dishes out a warm welcome as the lavish lobby for guests of Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane.
Much has been restored including the staircase on Elizabeth Street with ornamental wrought iron balustrading, cedar handrail, green tiled dado, concrete treads and landings with original detailing on all floors, as per the original drawings from 1910.
The addition of five extra levels to complement the historic building plays host to apartment-style rooms and suites, most with stunning views over the Brisbane River, Anzac Square, and similar heritage buildings such as The Treasury.
Generous interiors with a chic grey and white palette, are kitted out with classy accoutrements from a king bed, televisions (yes two big ones), a comfortable sofa, to a kitchen designed for those with a penchant for creating dinner for two or drinks with friends before heading downstairs to Donna Chang restaurant.
Calm down Seinfeld fans, this is a different Donna Chang. With a gentle tongue-in-cheek tribute to the famous 1994 episode The Chinese Woman, this gastro-dome with brass, marble and timber panelling and sweeping half-moon booths in pastel pinks and blues, has an overtone of Victorian pomp. Looks only!
Admire the buzzing ‘stage’, the open kitchen, tanks of live lobster and fish, lines of shiny roast ducks and a menu which draws inspiration from Sichuan and Cantonese cultures. Myriad dim sum, crunchy sweet acidic and fragrant Sichuan pickled vegetables, every dish, every morsel delivered with first class produce and a creative masterstroke.
Oh, and let us not forget excellent service especially the young gun who remembered all the dishes, drinks and the names of our four delighted diners.
Adina Brisbane’s perfect location on the corner of George and Elizabeth Streets means it’s within easy walking distance to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre cultural hub; Queen Street Mall for high-end shopping; the Brisbane Riverwalk; and one of 24 hop-on, hop-off terminals for the most cruisy way to glide, twist and turn along the Brisbane River using the CityCat.
From the magnificent University of Queensland to redeveloped industrial sites, riverside mansions, bridges, parklands, landmarks such as Kangaroo Point Cliffs, and the multi-million dollar renovation of the heritage-listed Howard Smith Wharves beneath the Story Bridge with its plethora of floating riverside bars, boardwalk restaurants and a CBD craft brewery.
Understandably with almost 300 days of sunshine per year and long, warm summers, a thirst needs to be quenched so why not hot foot it back to Adina Brisbane and the Boom Boom Room Izakaya in the basement for shakin’ cocktails where the building’s bank vaults used to be. The original vault doors of heavily reinforced concrete, approximately 800mm thick, have been retained and mix well with the moody décor and sassy vibe.
Mission accomplished. Boom Boom!
If You Go…
Adina Apartment Hotel on the corner of George and Elizabeth Streets, Brisbane has over-generous rooms and is self-contained. It is in the heart of the Brisbane CBD, a stone’s throw from Queen Street Mall and Queen’s Wharf, or a brief stroll will find you amongst Southbank’s cool bars, restaurants and parklands.
Donna Chang and Boom Boom Room Izakaya
171 George Street, Brisbane,
3243 4888 www.donnachang.com.au