Travel Story Rustic style flows through Rydges

Photo of Gemma Nisbet

Agriculture infuses a hotel stay in Brisbane.

Describing a hotel as having “an agricultural feel” might bring to mind unflattering comparisons to a farmyard but when a staff member at the new Rydges Fortitude Valley uses just such a description, it translates to something rather more stylish and comfortable.

The hotel is across the road from the Brisbane Showgrounds and draws stylistic influences from that venue’s signature event — the Ekka agricultural show, which draws some 400,000 visitors each August. These include everything from hallway carpet designed to resemble a barn’s timber floor and cute throw cushions depicting farm animals to themed photographic prints on the walls.

Guests staying in the arena- view rooms can take in the action in the showground’s main arena from their room, while for other guests a live stream of the arena is available on the big in-room smart TVs, which also feature the Press Reader app, providing free access to digital newspapers and magazines. 

The hotel, which opened in February, is part of the $2.9 billion Brisbane Showgrounds Regeneration project, which is creating a residential, commercial and retail precinct with apartments, restaurants, bars and more. 

The project is ongoing and there’s construction going on in the vicinity but I don’t have any problems with noise during my visit. 

I stay two nights in a Superior King Room, equipped with a comfortable king-size bed, an easy chair, desk, a mini-bar with tea and coffee-making facilities, free wi-fi, a cupboard with hanging space, a safe and an iron and ironing board, and a bathroom with a shower featuring a rain showerhead. 

Among the various room types and 208 rooms there are four Executive King Suites, which have a separate bedroom and lounge (with a fold-out couch), a bath in the bathroom and a Nespresso machine. 

For a buffet breakfast there’s the Six Acres Restaurant, which is also open for dinner a la carte five nights a week. 

For something more casual at dinner and lunchtime, the Paddock Bar serves burgers, pizzas and the like, and has a nice outdoor deck built around a big, venerable fig tree. 

Technically in the inner suburb of Bowen Hills about a 10-minute drive from the city centre, the hotel is on the edge of Fortitude Valley, an entertainment district historically with a seedy reputation but which is now equipped with plenty of good restaurants, interesting bars and vibrant arts venues. Storied music venue The Tivoli is just around the corner, while the designer boutiques and stylish restaurants on James Street are a 15-minute walk away. 

Fact File

Flexible rates at the Rydges Fortitude Valley start from $189 per room per night. rydges.com or (07) 3188 3000.

Disclaimer

Gemma Nisbet was a guest of Rydges and Airtrain.

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