Belinda Henley stays at Rydges, South Bank, Brisbane, Australia.
The hotel is less than a half-hour drive to Brisbane Airport and also it's close to bus, train and river ferry services for getting around the central city. Overnight parking at the hotel is available at $40 a night. We tied in a night in Brisbane with a weekend trip to Byron Bay. It's an easy two-hour drive (all on motorways) south to Byron; closer still are the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, less than an hour away.
Check-in experience: Quick and easy. Helpful staff who were quick to suggest local restaurants and point out all the features of the hotel.
Location: In the heart of Brisbane's rejuvenated South Bank, it is a short walk across the river to the city centre and easy walking distance to the many bars and restaurants. The hotel is also right by Streets Beach, Australia's only inner-city, man-made beach.
Room: We were lucky enough to get one of the hotel's corner suites on the ninth floor, with a wrap-around balcony offering views up and down Brisbane River. South Bank has become one of the most popular spots in Brisbane city and it's certainly a lot different since last time I was there for Expo 88. It was lovely to be able to go out on to the balcony and take in the busy cityscape.
The bed: Huge and very comfortable. The suite offered a separate bedroom and lounge, both with huge flat-screen TVs, which we didn't use, but would be a huge bonus, especially with kids.
Toiletries: All the essentials, stocked from Biology, a natural range of Australian-made skincare.
Food and drink: We were only there for a night but managed to squeeze in two dining experiences in the hotel. We had wine and a platter by the pool, featuring delicious local cheeses. We also enjoyed the breakfast buffet the next morning, which was extensive and featured the best mushrooms I've ever sampled from a buffet.
Bathroom: A large bath and walk-in shower. Neutral decor, modern, clean and spacious.
Noise: Despite being close to the river and main roads, it was very quiet. I would suggest asking for a room as high up as possible to maximise the view and minimise the noise.
Exercise facilities: A newly refurbished gym, Rydgenerate, had all the equipment needed, modern, well-maintained machines and, my favourite, plenty of clean yoga mats.
Wellness: There is a spa and sauna by the gym for beauty treatments. You can also book an in-room massage.
Perfect for: Couples, families, and travelling businesspeople.