Tried & Tested: The Fantauzzo, Brisbane

This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, winter 2019, issue 111

From beneath the leather skirting on my Art Series signature bed there’s a discrete cardboard sign popping out that I almost miss:

‘Yes, we clean here too’ the notecard reads. It’s one of many playful elements that greets guests at new Brisbane boutique hotel, The Fantauzzo.

Created in collaboration with acclaimed Australian portraiture artist Vincent Fantauzzo, The Fantauzzo Hotel, an Art Series Hotel, offers a fresh, chic and art-filled accommodation option in Brisbane’s hot new Howard Smith Wharves precinct – located beneath the Story Bridge on the Brisbane River, just a 10-15 minute stroll from the CBD.

Tried & Tested: The Fantauzzo, Brisbane

Arriving at the 166-room The Fantauzzo feels like a bit of a rock-star experience in itself. Earth-toned panels line the external walls of the building while bold signage of the hotel name glimmers from the roof, catching the light of the Brisbane afternoon sun. Music is playing at the hotel’s entrance on an external sound system as we pass parked white Fiats and Lekker bikes outside the lobby – both available for guest hire. Locals glide past on bicycles and electric Lime scooters.

A glass, automated sliding door opens to reveal a chic, black-hued lobby with originals of Fantauzzo’s most arresting and well-known artworks beside the check-in counter, including his 2012 portrait of wife, actress Asher Keddie; and the 2014 self-portrait All That’s Good in Me (self-portrait as son Luca) with his four-year-old boy Luca dressed in a Superman costume. His enveloping, deep brown eyes pierce through the canvas. To supplement the artistic focus, guests are offered complimentary daily art tours with an ‘Art Advocate’.

Tried & Tested: The Fantauzzo, Brisbane

Hotel rooms overlook either the textural rear cliff beneath the bridge, or the river and wharves district. A sleek, moody and minimalist design scheme reigns, with splashes of colour popping from a green velvet settee and a print of the Asher Keddie portrait above my bed. More quirks are revealed, including a mini bar that stocks an Art Series ‘Recovery Pack’ (with Panadol, electrolytes, spritzers etc.); a bottled Negroni cocktail from The Everleigh Bottling Co. that is packaged in a glass vessel resembling a cologne bottle; and, should the mood strike, an Art Series blank canvas with paints (items not necessarily used in that order).

Tried & Tested: The Fantauzzo, Brisbane

On day two, after a workout in the hotel’s gym and touring the city, I relax at the hotel’s level three pool and bar area. The pool is modest in size, but has a superb outlook over the pylons of the Story Bridge and all the action swirling below at the popular wharf. I dine at the hotel’s modern Italian eatery Polpetta, the menu from which you can also have ordered to your room. I also wander across the road to try some of the Wharf restaurants – try Greek restaurant Greca for seafood and Mr Percival’s bar for cocktails overlooking the Brisbane River.

Rates start from $309 per room, per night.

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