ANGELA SAURINE and her son check out the rooftop pool and restaurants at the vibrant voco Brisbane City Centre hotel
A family-friendly hotel with a must-visit rooftop pool
Lying back in one of the poolside cabanas sucking on a Zooper Dooper at voco Brisbane City Centre, my four-year-old son is clearly in his element. As any parent will tell you, when you’re staying at a hotel with kids, a pool is a must, but they can be hard to find in the Queensland capital. So, the opening of the city’s first voco hotel at North Quay in 2022 is a welcome addition. The fact that staff deliver colourful flavoured icy poles to the rooftop pool is an added bonus for families.
It’s a hot summer’s day when we arrive, so I am pleasantly surprised to discover only a few other people there, and one of the two cabanas is free. The pool is only one-metre deep at the shallow end, making it perfect for Mr Four to plunge for dive sticks. Shade from the surrounding buildings means we don’t have to worry about getting sunburnt, and dance music pumping from the nearby W Brisbane hotel adds to the fun.
Vibrant and quirky features make it unique
Launched with the opening of voco Gold Coast in 2018, voco is an upscale hotel brand, whose name derives from the Latin word for ‘to invite’ or ‘to come together’. It’s the fastest-growing brand in the InterContinental Hotels Group’s premium collection, with nearly 50 properties around the world – each with their own distinct character – and plenty more in the pipeline.
Voco Brisbane City Central has 194 guestrooms decorated with vibrant artworks, with smart in-room technology and plush, sustainable bedding. We particularly like the bedheads, which feature abstract murals of the Brisbane River, with the real thing just outside our window. The view, which includes The Wheel of Brisbane, is especially spectacular at night.
Voco’s signature colour is yellow, which is one of my son’s favourites, so he loves seeing it in the carefully placed furniture and pictures dotted throughout the property. Coming from a family of birdwatchers, he also appreciates the sculptures of voco’s feathered mascots, including the wise owl, the curious finch and the bold flamingo.
Where to eat at voco Brisbane City Central
Located on the ground floor near the lobby, Kraft & Co. transforms from a café during the day into a lounge bar at night. On level two, the stylish Zuma Restaurant offers a substantial buffet and à la carte breakfast menu, with views over the river. But the real drawcard is at sister property Hotel Indigo next door, which is also part of IHG and can be accessed via a tunnel. Izakaya Publico, offers an authentic Japanese dining experience using locally sourced seasonal produce across the menu, including sashimi, noodles, tempura, gyoza, meat skewers and much more.
A sustainable hotel brand
One of the most impressive things about voco is its sustainable initiatives. I love seeing Antipodes soap in paper packaging and refillable amenities bottles in the bathroom. There are also aerated shower heads that reduce water and usage, while the plush bedding is filled with 100 per cent recycled materials. Guests can also borrow handcrafted bamboo bikes from Wyld Bikes to ride around town. It’s only around five minutes’ ride to South Bank, on the other side of the river, which has an artificial beach and lagoon called Streets Beach ideal for kids, a water play area with water jets and tipping buckets, playgrounds and family-friendly attractions including the Queensland Museum and Queensland Maritime Museum.
Rooms at voco Brisbane City Central start from around $300 per night. Guests can park overnight for $36 in the car park next door.