Picturesque and charming, Queensland is home to a wealth of culture and must-visit destinations. Long time friend of Parlour X Renee Lee gives us an insiders look into her home town & the capital of Queensland; Brisbane.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I love fashion and have been involved with it one way or another my entire career. I am the founder of the High Street Runway App. High Street Runway connects owners of beautiful clothes with lenders. The app is designed for High School and University students who covet designer fashion, but can’t quite afford. As a teenager I was the girl who would save all their money to buy that one designer piece, a piece I absolutely loved and as a result still have some of these in my collection. By creating an App where young women can share clothes, it is my hope that girls can hire out those one off pieces while also renting from others in the same space, eliminating the need of fast fashion. Before High Street Runway, I was a fashion blogger, designer and boutique owner, winning numerous industry awards along the way.
Describe your Brisbane experience and what makes it so special to you
Brisbane has and always will hold a special place in my heart. I’ve watched it grow from what at times felt like a big country town to a thriving city that is now bustling and full of life. I’ve raised my children here and my extended family all live close by.
I live in Paddington, a suburb in the inner city. I love my neighbourhood; in my opinion the hills in Paddington are some of the prettiest you will find. The mix of workers cottages and modern homes adds to the diversity and interest, with blocks big enough for privacy, but close enough that most people make great connections with their neighbours
In my opinion, Brisbane has so much to offer. We are spoilt for choice with our arts, music, great restaurants and bars, not to mention world class shopping destinations and fabulous new hotels. Although COVID has been tough and prevented travel I feel I haven’t missed too much this year living in Brisbane.
How would you explain the lifestyle, culture and essence of Brisbane?
Although everyone is working hard in Brisbane the city still has a relaxed and friendly vibe. It can be very social if that's what you are looking for, but if you require some solitude there are beautiful parks, art galleries, shows and movie theatres to hide away in. Brisbane is very multicultural with many delicious diverse restaurants. Because we have such a warm climate with so many blue-sky days, Brisbane people love a long lunch or an afternoon drink on a friend's deck. We love to be outdoors most of the year except in the peak of summer when you will find us in our pools or hiding in indoors with the air-conditioning.
What sites in Brisbane are your favourites that you recommend to other visitors?
My favourite areas are New Farm Park, South Bank and Howard Smith Wharves. These places are bustling all the time. If you’re after shopping, head to James Street and Queens Plaza for high street and designer fashion.
What are Brisbane’s best locations to stay; hotels, boutique hotels or resorts private residence
The Calile - 48 James St, Fortitude Valley
The Emporium Hotel South Bank - 267 Grey St, South Brisbane
The W - 81 N Quay, Brisbane City
The Fantauzzo - Howard Smith Wharves - 5 Boundary St, Brisbane City
List your top 5 coffee / breakfast / lunch locations
Tognini’s Date Deli - Milton Village - 12 - 36 Baroona Rd, Milton
Botero - 258 Adelaide St Brisbane City
Billykart West End - 2 Edmondstone St, South Brisbane
Paddington Social - 167 Given Tce, Paddington
Bellissimo Coffee - 30 Wandoo St, Fortitude Valley
Corner Store Cafe - 113 Sylvan Rd Toowong Everything on menu is delicious
Anouk Cafe - 212 Given Tce Paddington
Little Loco - 121 Merthyr Rd, New Farm
Morning After - Cambridge St , West End
King Arthur - 164C Arthur St, Fortitude Valley
Harveys - 4 / 31 James St, Fortitude Valley QLD
Hellenika at the Calile - 48 James St , Fortitude Valley
SK Steak & Oyster - 48 James St, Fortitude Valley
Le Cache au Vin - 215 Wharf St , Spring Hill
Yoko dining - 2/5 Boundary St, Brisbane
Any hidden gems only locals know about
Joy Restaurant Shop 7, 694 Ann Street Fortitude Valley - make sure you book they only seat 10
Ngon Vietnamese - 233 Given Tce , Paddington - the best Vietnamese I have tasted in Brisbane
Leftys Music Hall - 15 Caxton St, Petrie Terrace
Blue Room Cinebar - 151 Baroona Rd, Paddington
Brookfield nursery and cafe - 2371 Moggill Rd, Brookfield
Sunnybank Food Tour - Experience multicultural food at its most authentic
The Jan Powers Farmers Markets - Every Saturday morning at the Powerhouse.
For those interested in a luxury retreat or pampering – what are your favourite spa’s, nail salons, hairdressers or massage locations?
One Wybelenna - 1 Wybelenna St, Brookfield - Have the advanced Pro-Collagen Facial and the Soul to Soul Body treatment
Kailo Wellness Medispa- Level 1, The Calile Hotel 48 James St
Lost World Spa - O”Reilly’s - At the end of Lamington National Park Rd - stay at this resort for a night
Brooklyn Beauty Bar - 5/15 James St, Fortitude Valley - best nails and fake tan in Brisbane
Left: Tamborine Mountain
For adventure seekers, what do you recommend?
Moreton Bay! Brisbane is the gateway to Stradbroke and Moreton Islands, which are only an hour away on a ferry making it perfect for a day trip or longer stay. Snorkelling at the Tangalooma wrecks is a must.
If you’re a hiker grab a car and head to Lamington National Park for the day.
Where are the top 5 dinner/dining locations (or more)?
SK Steak & Oyster - at the Callille - 48 James St Fortitude Valley
Stanley Restaurant - 5 Boundary St Brisbane
Mosconi - 1648 Arthur St, Fortitude Valley
Dan Arnold - Contemporary Australian - 959 Ann Street Fortitude Valley
Otto - Level 4 , 480 Queen St, Brisbane QLD
Gauge - 77 Grey St, South Brisbane
The Wolfe - 989 Stanley St, East Brisbane
Montrachet - 1/30 King St, Bowen Hills
Grappino - 226 Given Tce , Paddington
Donna Chang - 171 George St, Brisbane
Are there any neighbouring locations or must-see spots you can suggest?
Mt Tamborine - beautiful hinterland and restaurants. Lots of B and Bs. Try Villadellarosa Bed and Breakfast - 5 Platt Place, Tambourine Mountain
The Gold Coast - Stay at The Star Casino. Its a food Mecca. My current favourite is The Social Eating House - 2 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
The Overflow Estate Winery - 1660 Boonah/Beaudesert Rd, Wyaralong - Go for a day trip and lunch
Maleny - take a day trip check out the town in the morning and drive 30 mins north to have lunch at The Spirit House - 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina
Noosa - Stay at the Sofitel 14-16 Hastings St Noosa Heads. Eat at Sum Yung Guys Restaurant 8/46 Duke St, Sunshine Beach
Sandstone Point Hotel - 1800 Bribie Island Rd, Sandstone Point
What is your ideal day in Brisbane?
My ideal day in Brisbane starts with a walk or run along the Brisbane River starting at West End and running to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and back. Breakfast at Anouk in Paddington, followed by a manicure at Brooklyn Beauty Bar, lunch at S and K Steak House, a stroll around the shops in James St, a quick cocktail at the cru bar then another cocktail at Mr Percival’s to admire the river and city as the sun goes down and finishing with a delicious pizza and a glass of Pinot Noir at Julius Pizzeria - 77 Grey St, South Brisbane.
Share your insider tips and interesting insights that a new visitor to Brisbane wouldn’t normally know about
The Palace Supper Club - In the heart of the Chinatown Mall, fortitude valley- venture upstairs to discover an amazing nightclub / bar.
The Elizabeth Picture Theatre - Refurbished gorgeous historic cinemas.- 175 Elizabeth St, Brisbane City
Eat Street Northshore - Fun market with lots of tasty meals - 221D MacArthur Ave, Hamilton
Fish Lane - Diverse array of restaurants, bars and cafes - Fish Lane , South Brisbane
Spring Hill Baths - 14 Torrington St, spring Hill
Describe the nightlife and what you would wear on a night out?
Fortitude Valley and Howard Smith Wharves are alive at night with some great bars, heaps with a view. I prefer a great meal followed by drinks at a bar.
My favourite Parlour X outfit for a night out is:
- Jacquemus - La Robe Bahia Dress Lilac
- Bottega Veneta - Board Mules 90mm Pear
- Paco Rabanne - Chain Link Chunky Bracelet Gold
- Saint Laurent - Monogramme Quilted Clutch Pebble / Gold
The Port Office Hotel - 40 Edward St, Brisbane
The Regatta Hotel - 543 Coronation Drive, Toowong
The Breakfast Creek Hotel - 2 Kingsford Smith Drive, Albion
The Norman Hotel - 102 Ipswich Rd, Wooloongabba
Felons Brewing Co - 5 Boundary St, Brisbane City
Mr Percival's - 5 Boundary St, Brisbane
Maker - 9 Fish Lane - Brisbane
The Gresham Bar - 308 Queen St, Brisbane City
Death and Taxes - 36 Burnett Lane, Brisbane City
Savile Row - 667 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
Cobbler Bar- 7 Browning St, West End
Cloudland - 641 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
Prohibition - 206 Wickham St , Fortitude Valley
Birdees - 608 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
The Met - McWhirter’s Farmers Market, 256 Wickham St & Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
The Fortitude Music Hall - Brisbane’s Premier Live Music - 312 - 318 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
What is your Parlour X dress-code when in Brisbane?
How long should you stay in Brisbane when planning a visit?
A 3-night weekend would be fun but you wouldn’t be bored if you stayed for 10 nights. There is plenty to do.
When is the best time of the year to travel to Brisbane?
I think the best time to travel to Brisbane is in spring or autumn, although compared to the winters down south ours are a beautiful temperature, with maximum temperatures below 20 degrees considered rare.
Images Via: The Calile via Travel Temple, Bellissimo Coffee via Broadsheet & Stanley Restaurent via The Australian