By Mario Ng
While doing some research on Brisbane hotels, I saw the usual premium brands like Westin and Sofitel. However, I know the art scene is quite strong in Australia, and chanced upon the The Fantauzzo, which is part of the Art Series sub-brand. I did a check and found out it is located at Howard Smith Wharves, which is the trendy place to have dinner and drinks in Brisbane. The highlight, however, is how the hotel lies directly beneath the historic Story Bridge. For guests who book the Deluxe Riverview Balcony room, you are promised a fantastic view of the bridge, and might even be tempted to spend all your time in the room. With these in mind, I decided to book a night at The Fantauzzo. Check out my review of the stay below!
Check out our Facebook page here for more pictures taken during our stay at this hotel!
When I first arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by a lovely staff, who went through with me all the necessary information efficiently. It was typical Australian hospitality that we sometimes take for granted. It was pleasant and everything was sorted out quickly. I did not have too many chances to interact with other hotel staff, as I was either in my room or headed out to explore Brisbane’s sights via the underground carpark, accessible directly from my room’s floor.
The other times I managed to at least communicate with other staff was during breakfast and when I ordered room service. On both occasions, the service was fantastic. In fact, when I attempted to order room service that night, I was having some trouble with the menu as it mainly served Italian dishes. I tried to tell the staff what I wanted and he could not seem to find it in the menu. He took the initiative to find out exactly what I was referring to and did not assume, since I am in no way an Italian speaker. This gesture might seem small and to be expected, but having such an issue during the peak dinner period can at times frustrate staff. I was glad this did not happen, and the staff went out of his way to get the dish I desired. In the end, I enjoyed a lovely room service meal.
In terms of the hotel facilities, it is relatively basic, in the sense that it differs from the other usual premium brands where a large swimming pool and spa are standard offerings. Instead, The Fantauzzo really seeks to target guests who are into the artistic side of things (hence it is part of The Art Series). Having said that, we really should zoom into the swimming pool first. Located on level 3 of the hotel, it is a rooftop pool that offers a jaw-dropping view of Story Bridge. It is an infinity pool that is also a lap pool, and allows you to enjoy the most amazing views of Story Bridge.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane - View of Story Bridge from the infinity pool
If you really fancy, you can start hanging out at the pool from late afternoon onwards, and see how the bridge lights up as the sun sets. Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege of doing that as I was away at Mount Coot-tha lookout checking out the city view while the sun set. After your dip at the pool, you should also indulge in some light snacks at the rooftop bar, just next to the pool. Of course, you might be tempted to try out some restaurants below instead, and we cannot blame you!
The Fantauzzo Brisbane - View of the hotel and Howard Smith Wharves just below
The art scene is really strong here and one of the benefits of staying at The Fantauzzo is looking at all the art pieces. From the lobby to the walkways to your own room, there are various paintings by famed artist Vincent Fantauzzo, and you can really indulge in viewing them. One of his pieces is also incorporated into the welcome screen of your room’s television, so you will always get a dosage of art while staying here! My personal favourite is the image of the giraffe that is displayed by the elevators at the lobby. There is just something magical about animals that I like so much. For fans of Bollywood, make sure you snap a picture with Amitabh Bachchan, whose portrait hangs in the lobby.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane - Strong art scene at the lobby
For those who require a car for a day, or a bicycle for those who wish to go green, The Fantauzzo provides these for hotel guests, at a charge of course. I did not ask how much they cost, but you should be happy to find out how aesthetically-pleasing these vehicles are. 2 cute Fiat cars are parked by the entrance ready for guests to hop in, while the bicycles are also there standing ready. It should really make for a fun day out, especially for couples and families who wish to have a picnic somewhere quieter! Technically, you can cycle to Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park for a nice picnic!
The Fantauzzo Brisbane - Fiat cars available for rent during your stay
Breakfast is served at the hotel’s main restaurant, Polpetta. Really an Italian restaurant, this explains some Italian options for breakfast. For those who prefer a more conventional American/British breakfast, you should be pleased. I went with the toasted sourdough with eggs, bacon, and avocado, and it was delicious. Simple and appetising, it was just the perfect start to the day. Unlike some hotels who serve brewed coffee for breakfast, this one does it differently. Espresso-based coffee is the order of the day, and you can have your pick of a cappuccino, latte or the likes. The coffee beans are sourced from St. Dreux, a coffee roaster from Sydney. This tells you how serious Polpetta takes their coffee, and you should feel confident in the caffeine choices. I had a simple latte and it was a satisfying end to my breakfast. Their teas are by T2, and that needs no explanation.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane - A proper and delicious breakfast at Polpetta
It might sound a little disappointing for those expecting a large buffet breakfast, but I would think that The Fantauzzo goes for quality rather than quantity. The food at Polpetta is seriously good, and I can see myself heading there for a meal if I wish to have some brunch or an Italian meal. Hence, if you are thinking twice because of the breakfast situation, please don’t. The breakfast is really good, and you can save some of that space for all the other delicacies Brisbane has to offer!
The Fantauzzo Brisbane - Al fresco seating available at Polpetta
At 64 square metres, it is one of the largest rooms we have stayed that is not considered a “suite” by the property. Having said that, it is the largest offering by The Fantauzzo, besides the one and two bedroom apartments. In our opinion, if you are staying as a couple, this could be the best room at The Fantauzzo.
When you first step in, you can immediately feel the spaciousness of the room. In front is the large living room, with a television mounted on the wall. This enhances the roomy feeling with the removal of any unnecessary furniture. A comfortable sofa that can fit a party, this can also be the place for large gatherings to take place. Just behind is a home-sized dining table, so families can gather together for a meal everyday. For those who need to do some work, the dining table is great, as once you have completed your meal, you can immediately do some work on your laptop, such is the length of the table. I had some delicious room service and after I was done with the three-course meal, I proceeded to do some work on the table, while watching television. It was just like being at home! As someone who enjoys feeling at home while staying overseas, the comfy feeling I got from this room hits the spot.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverside Balcony Room - View of the living area and bedroom
Coffee and tea are provided by Nespresso and T2 respectively. Great brands, it is clear The Fantauzzo goes for top quality. In fact, they are quite generous with the tea bags, where I counted 4 types of tea provided, with 2 tea bags for each type. Coupled with 4 Nespresso capsules, you get to enjoy 12 cups of top-quality beverages. This is quite impressive!
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverside Balcony Room - Nespresso coffee for guests
As with any hotel with artistic vibes, the dining area wall is filled with art. Beautifully-done, I enjoyed looking at them whenever I walked into the room. It just gives off the artistic feels, which I appreciated.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverview Balcony Room - The art scene is strong even in the room
Intelligently-designed, the bed is located next to the dining area, diagonally from the living area. Because the room is not physically separated into a dining, living, and bed room, the entire area becomes so large and spacious as a result. Hence, even though in reality the bedroom is quite small, you do not feel it in any way at all.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverview Balcony Room - The bedroom
The King-size bed was a joy to sleep in, with numerous choices for pillows. One good thing I like about this hotel is the default pillows provided. Unlike many hotel chains whose pillows are always flat the moment you lie on this, The Fantauzzo’s pillows are large, fluffy, and firm. This means that they provide great neck support, and they would be good substitutes to the ones you use at home. They were so great that I did not need to request for other pillows at all. I had a great night’s sleep in the end.
The bathroom, which I initially almost missed (for some reason!), is hidden away right next to the bedroom. For a moment, I forgot that a room should have a bathroom, and it was only when I started exploring the wardrobe that it hit my mind. Artistically minimalist, such lovers should enjoy the bathroom. Toiletries are provided by Bal D’afrique, an Australian brand, while there is a rainforest showerhead, which is really quite necessary nowadays. As I am not a massive fan of minimalistic styles, I cannot say I love the bathroom, although I enjoyed having a shower in it. It was spacious and had the necessary equipment a bathroom should possess!
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverview Balcony Room - The bathroom
The best part of this room, which I have saved till last to address, has got to be the views. As the room name suggests, it has a balcony that covers the entire length of the room. There are 2 sun lounge chairs where you can sunbathe in private, while there is also a dining table for guests who enjoy an al fresco meal. The view you should be looking at each time you are in the room or at the balcony, is Story Bridge.
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverview Balcony Room - View of Story Bridge from the balcony
Situated at an angle at the right side of the bridge, you get the most spectacular views from the privacy of your own room. For those who like a great sunset view, you should order some room service and enjoy a meal at the balcony while waiting for the bridge lights to be switched on. While I did not get to see this (I was away at Mount Coot-tha lookout), I was wowed by the lights when I arrived back at night. It was really beautiful. In fact, when I was having my room service at the dining area, I made sure the curtains were pulled back so I could see the lights while enjoying my meal. Even when I went to bed, it was the last thing I saw before closing my eyes. TMI perhaps, but this is really the reason why you stay in this particular room, besides the comfort levels provided of course. Story Bridge is just so beautiful!
The Fantauzzo Brisbane Deluxe Riverview Balcony Room - View of the balcony
For those who are intending to head over to Brisbane for a visit, and has at least a night to spare, you should really check out The Fantauzzo and consider staying for a night. The killer views you get, the top-quality food you get, the superior levels of comfort you get, added alongside the amazing night scene right below the hotel as part of Howard Smith Wharves, should be more than sufficient to convince you to stay a night here. For art lovers, architecture lovers, and aficionados of bridges, we need not say more. Just get going and book a room today!
Click here to find out more about The Fantauzzo Brisbane - Art Series Hotels and book a stay today!
Cost of Deluxe Riverside Balcony Room: A$589.00 per night - stayed over a weekend in February 2020
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