Rhodes Well Travelled
Grown up travel, (mostly) with kids


Stop. Pool Time

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Once upon a time before children (BC), I often stayed at hotels and never gave the pool a second thought. But after kids, I must say it's become almost my top requirement when researching where to stay. Think about it. Babies and toddlers love the water; it's soothing for them and heaps of fun. For kids a little bit older and with more water confidence, well that's their entertainment sorted for the duration of the holiday. The hardest thing will be getting them out of the pool. Try my tack and use bribery. You know, along the lines of... "After we visit this amazing (insert preferred adult attraction XYZ here), you can have a lovely swim". Works every time. And tweens and teenagers, pffft! They love nothing more than hanging out by the pool, floating on some pool toys and listening to a little bit of Ed Sheeran.

So when we were planning a summer break with two families and three kids aged between eight and 13, the Johnson in Brisbane ticked all the boxes. A 50m Michael Klim-designed outdoor lap pool (it's seriously as good as the pictures), cool surrounds for parents, spacious rooms, funky artwork and the ability to order a cocktail from your sun lounge. Pretty much that was our holiday sorted. My favourite God daughter Emerald actually turned 13 at the Johnson and this newly minted teenager certainly gave it a huge thumbs up. Here's my review of this ultra cool inner city hotel. We love it so much we're thinking of heading back again this summer for a couple of nights. Oh and did I mention what good value it is?!

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Brisbane’s sleepy inner city suburb of Spring Hill, is dotted with restored Queenslanders, miner’s cottages and glorious jacaranda trees a mere two kilometres from the CBD. Bordered by Roma St Parklands and Victoria Park (with plenty of bird life, playgrounds and trails for jogging and walking), with the city and Fortitude Valley to the southeast.

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Having just celebrated its first birthday, the Johnson opened following a three-year overhaul of the heritage listed ‘Main Roads Building,’ designed by influential Queensland architect Karl Langer in 1967. The hotel’s 97 spacious and contemporary suites and three swish penthouses mirror the building’s minimalist, industrial heritage. All rooms are spacious with muted tones, all mod cons, original art work, and pops of colour. Balcony rooms offer city vistas all the way to Mount Coot-Tha. Even the entry rooms are spacious enough for a family of four (our friends stayed in one of these with two kids). The clean lines, natural materials and light filled spaces of this modernist property make a brilliant canvas for the works of Australian abstractionist painter, Michael Johnson, after which the property, an Art Series Hotel, is named. 


Within striking distance of the city and 15 minutes from the airport, the Johnson makes a terrific base for exploring Queensland’s capital. Its best asset (as Ella, my God daughter and her sister attest) is the impressive 50m, Michael Klim-designed outdoor lap pool dotted with cabanas, sun lounges, a sundeck and gym with north facing views. We literally spent most of our time parked right here. For breakfast, or a casual bite, there’s an adjoining restaurant, bar and café; Tumbling Stone.


Take a stroll to Fortitude Valley for dinner at the fabulous Umami, have a drink at the rooftop Sixteen Antlers in the city and take a ride on Brisbane’s CityCat. 

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Leisure travellers, corporate warriors, families wanting to indulge in some serious pool time.

from $165 for a studio suite.