With its chic retro vibe and faded luxe colour scheme, Brisbane’s new Calile Hotel is arguably one of Australia’s most Instagrammed spaces – its stylish mix of brass, cork, concrete and sophisticated pastel hues proving difficult to resist for the design savvy.
“The pool is the focal point of the hotel, with the rooms wrapping around its raised podium, and Hellenika restaurant tucked neatly alongside,” says Ingrid Richards, co-director of Richards and Spence, the architects responsible for the brand-new build that has been described as an ‘urban resort’ and looks to locations rather than specific design periods for inspiration.
“We resisted the nostalgic reference to styles, instead we looked at other cities for precedence. We wanted to establish a civic vernacular that celebrates our own unique hot weather and outdoor lifestyle. In Brisbane, it is a mistake to reference cities like New York, London and Melbourne, rather we looked to other hot weather cities with a resort focus to inform our design – Miami, Palm Springs, Rio De Janeiro and Mexico City,” says Ingrid’s co-director Adrian Spence.
“For Richards and Spence, embracing our climate and tropical surrounds became the foundation to create what is Australia’s first urban resort. In our opinion there is no other city-based Australian hotel conceived as a resort. City-based hotels in our country are pitched to the corporate market, focussed on the conference, rather than on the pool and the hotel’s surrounds. The Calile has changed that,” says Ingrid.
“The pool area, with its associated outdoor dining cabanas and sun lounges has been key to creating that feel. As are the external naturally ventilated corridors and lift lobbies with ceiling fans and planters,” says Adrian who explains that operable windows and balconies continue the resort theme in the rooms.
“Our climate allows us to live outdoors most of the year. The naturally ventilated rooms allow guests to share our unique outdoor lifestyle, again reinforcing a sense of place that is uniquely Brisbane. Who wants to be in a conference room all day then go to a hotel room that is locked up and air conditioned? We live outside all the time in Brisbane, so why not do so in a hotel room if you can? Many rooms open onto a generous scallop-edged balcony,” says Ingrid.
Externally, there is enthusiastic use of white bricks – 270,000 to be exact. “White bricks form archways at the ground, and facades at high level and continue inside to maintain an outdoorsy vibe. Bricks endure over time physically and stylistically,” says Adrian. Breeze blocks were used too, for both design and ventilation qualities. “Again, we collectively associate breeze blocks with hot weather places which reinforces a sense of place,” says Adrian.
And as for the gorgeous interiors, they are comprised of a mix of cork lined rooms, luxurious brass and marble and a pastel palette that runs from terracotta to sage, peach and sea green. “It is a deliberately restrained palette, designed to endure over time,” says Ingrid.
Photography: Sean Fennessy