The new Capri by Fraser, Brisbane hotel tempts business travellers with a Club Lounge, free WiFi in every room and even free local calls for members of the Fraser World loyalty program.
Converted from an office block, Capri boasts 239 rooms with the largest resembling open plan hotel suites and even the smallest Studio Deluxe rooms having enough space for a money-saving microwave.
Location & Impressions
You'll find the Capri by Fraser on the corner of Albert and Mary Streets in Brisbane's CBD, with the main reception and car park entrances on Albert Street. The hotel is literally just three blocks from the 'biggies': Queen Street Mall for shopping and Eagle Street Pier for dining, and is within easy walking distance of the Riverside Centre (Financial District), Brisbane City Hall and also the South Bank Parklands.
Guests are greeted in a very modern, funky and artsy lobby, which tailors well for Millennials while also giving seasoned business travellers something out-of-the-ordinary to look at. When every hotel check-in around the world seems to follow the same repetitive formula – credit card, room key, breakfast hours and Internet details – having something unconventional in the mix is more than welcome.
We stayed in the most basic room category that the hotel offers – Studio Deluxe – but found there was nothing 'basic' about it.
Every inch of the room was well-considered, such as the workspace with access to both AC and USB power... ... folding up to provide a mirror and a selection of reading material. Then there's the bedside, again with handy AC outlets... ... along with a USB charging port on the clock radio, which also supports Bluetooth audio playback and worked flawlessly with this author's iPhone. There are also touch-operated and adjustable reading lights on each side of the bed... one of which became stuck in the 'on' mode during the stay, yet was fixed by maintenance staff within the hour: impressively prompt given the issue was reported late on a Saturday afternoon.
Fortunately, the bathroom provides an easy walk-in shower – as opposed to showering in a bath tub – complete with Malin+Goetz amenities, while the in-room safe squeezes in even the largest of laptops such as a 15.6-inch Dell XPS: The room's entryway offers a separate sink, refrigerator, plates, cutlery, utensils and a Nespresso machine... ... the latter of which we were encouraged to use in making a 'DIY Nespresso Martini' – one of the possible welcome gifts from the hotel. We followed the instructions to the letter and wound up with a satisfying cocktail: furthering the idea that the hotel isn't 'business as usual'. That's also shown through the presence of a microwave in the rooms...
... while the obligatory iron and ironing board are also present to keep you looking your best.
As the name implies, guests who book a Capri Club Room – a more expensive category than our Studio Deluxe – can make use of the hotel's roomy Capri Club lounge. Along with free wireless Internet, you'll also find breakfast in the mornings and refreshments to keep you going throughout the day. Absent were plentiful power points: we could spot only one – tucked away behind the bin on the far right side... ... along with true high-speed Internet access. While connectivity is indeed free for all guests, download speeds in the lounge maxed out at 1.89Mbps with uploads at 2.19Mbps during our tests, which is usable without being 'great'.
Less tolerable were the Internet speeds in the room, where downloads struggled to exceed a mere 0.31Mbps during peak times and necessitated using AusBT's backup 4G connection.
The hotel's in-house restaurant – Asana by Pete Evans – serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner with a strong 'paleo' influence over the menu options.
What we love: Plenty of options to satisfy travellers on 'normal', non-paleo diets including pastries, bacon and omelettes at breakfast and the succulent ginger braised beef short rib and paleo tiramisu later in the day.
The seeded crackers with beetroot hummus, baba ghanoush and chicken liver pâté are also a great starter or snack.
What we don't: You're not shown to a table at breakfast, making it difficult to locate a seat during peak times when used plates are also slow to disappear – leaving it unclear whether tables remain occupied or were recently vacated.
Full cream milk is also self-service at the buffet, but both skim and soy milks are only available by request, which seems silly.
Guests in Capri Club rooms can also enjoy breakfast in the Capri Club lounge, plus free wine, canapés and snacks in the evening – including the seeded crackers from Asana, but also hot items such as arancini balls and spring rolls, plus a well-presented cheese plate.
Prefer to dine in your room? The scrumptious club sandwich is anything but traditional: served on toasted rye with free range chicken, duck eggs, cheese, bacon, avocado and herb aioli and with sweet potato chips: Between 11pm and 6am, your choices are pizza, pizza or pizza but with also-unconventional toppings such as pork belly or prawns, while a more traditional pepperoni option satisfies as a backup.
Capri by Fraser comes well-equipped for both business and leisure travellers with a 24-hour fitness centre, yoga area, sauna and steam rooms and an indoor heated swimming pool.
The gym area also houses 'Spin and Play', where you can wash or dry your clothes free-of-charge and either workout or play foosball or Xbox while you wait – a feature sure to please travellers on longer journeys.
Also welcome is the extensive range of 19 pay TV channels spanning sport, news, music and general entertainment, along with the local free-to-air broadcasts offered in crystal clear HD where available.
All-in-all, Capri by Fraser is certainly a new brand – the Brisbane hotel being only the fourth Capri property to open across the globe – and yet it's still everything you'd expect of Hilton or Sheraton, bar the sluggish Internet.
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of the Capri by Fraser, Brisbane hotel.
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