What Makes a Hotel Hot? Or Not?

Riverview Hotel review Brisbane

What makes a hot hotel for a city break?

On our recent night in Brisbane, after much debating and comparing of every single Brisbane hotel on my fave hotel booking site Wotif, we chose The Riverview Hotel in Hamilton because:

  • I’m a sucker for a nice view.
  • It has free parking.
  • It’s within walking distance of Fortitude Valley which we wanted to visit.

Here’s a fast, fun hotel review.


The hotel overlooks the Brisbane River and a busy road, but we never see much traffic normally, plus the bedroom was quiet and set well back from the road, so that was fine.

The Riverview Hotel is a 15 minute drive to the city center and we never ended up walking from the hotel to anywhere although you can walk along by the river.

Hotel Rooms

The first room we were showed was a bit slim on the river view.

So we called down to reception, who immediately sent a charming young man to carry our bags to a much roomier room, with a fabulous river view. Perfect.

I thought the decor was a bit dated with an old English style but I’ve seen worse. Much worse actually, and it was kind of like visiting your granny so quite homely really. I prefer modern interiors but if you like old style glamor, with chandeliers and pelmets The Riverview Hotel has it.

The Riverview Hotel, Brisbane reception area


We didn’t sleep well but I don’t blame the bed which was clean, comfy and inviting. Too much excitement probably.


In a word, excellent.

The hotel gave us a complimentary Sunday paper which included an article about how poor service is in Australia, but you couldn’t improve the service at the Riverview Hotel. The lovely staff were all super friendly from the moment we arrived, when the receptionist greeted the Mucho Man:

“Your name is Rich Candy? Wow! That”s amazing.”

This friendly, helpful service continued when we asked for a room transfer, and when we (well me) set fire to a chocolate croissant during breakfast. Ooops.

I couldn’t resist putting the croissant through the automatic toasting machine to see what would happen. Let me tell you it wasn’t good and the end result, a thoroughly blackened croissant which had been flame-grilled on both sides was inedible.

Still, the kind staff didn’t bat an eyelid. They just tactfully commented that the croissants did set fire in the toaster, then brought me a fresh one they’d warmed thoroughly in a conventional oven.

Totally accommodating.


It should be compulsory for hotels to include breakfast for their guests.

I always give my guests cereal at the very least, and like any good host, The Riverview Hotel’s breakfast was included in the cost of the hotel room.

It was much better than cereal too, although that was probably an option. The buffet breakfast was a feast with fruit, muesli, smoked salmon and crumpets for starters. Several trips to and fro between our table and the groaning buffet table were needed.

All that was followed by a massive cooked breakfast of hash browns, eggs and grilled tomatoes for me, with the manly mixed grill for the Mucho Man. It was all yummy but the mixed grill looked like enough meat for a week so I’m glad the Mucho Man didn’t eat it all. We hate seeing food go to waste though.

The pool looked good but it's winter in Australia, so no swimming for us

The Acid Test: Would we go back?

I’d definitely stay at The Riverview Hotel again, they treated us well and it was great value, but there are so many hotels in Brisbane, I’d probably try somewhere else next time.

I have my beady eye on the Sofitel in Brisbane.

The Sofitel looks amazing, plus they’re having the Fashion Stills photographic exhibition there from September 9 until December 26th 2011.

Fashion Stills has been on display across Europe and North America and offers a peek behind the scenes at classic designers like Dior and supermodels like Kate Moss.

Sofitel hotel Brisbane

The Sofitel Hotel in Brisbane is calling my name

The Sofitel is also right in the city center so we could avoid the stresses and near death experiences of driving round a strange city and walk everywhere.

As a big bonus the Sofitel also has a Stephanie’s Day Spa Retreat.

If it’s anything as divine as the Stephanie’s Spa I visited in Noosa that’s an experience not to be missed. You can read about the Noosa Stephanie’s Spa on this blog post I wrote for Visit Sunshine Coast: Speed Relaxing at Stephanie’s Spa.

Oh yes, if I can swing another night in Brisbane anytime soon, the Sofitel would be my first choice.

What makes a hotel hot for you? What are your best or worst hotel experiences?

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


  1. Barbara September 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    The croissant story cracked me up!

    The Sofitel is a great chain, but remember… it’s a chain. I always like the local ‘best’ over a chain.

    Keep going, though. Get In The Hot Spot could be a great ‘reviewer’ of the Local Best! I’ll open a branch for you here in the States!


    • Annabel Candy September 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Barbara,

      Yes, I know what you mean about big chains. Not sure how the Sofitel works but sometimes even the big chains do manage to give you that personal feel. It’s the people that really make a hotel experience good or bad.

      I’d love to do more reviews – see if they pass the hot croissant test;) I’ll try not to set any more on fire but it was a fun experiment!

  2. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living September 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Sofitel is French, isn’t it?
    Did the chocolate melt all over?
    I can visualize you standing close to the toaster and saying, “Did I do that?”

    • Annabel Candy September 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Sonia, oh, is the Sofitel french? Maybe that would explain my interest in it;) Love all things french. No the chocolate didn’t melt. Just the outside burnt! My tactic when I make a gaffe like that is just to pretend it’s the most normal thing in the world that happens every day. I was relieved when they said they always set on fire. Obviously I wasn’t the only idiot who tried it;)

      • Barbara September 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

        Yes, the Sofitel is french.

      • Annabel Candy September 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

        Merci Madame:)

  3. se7en September 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Gotta say: If my curious kids did that with a croissant I would probably kill them!!! It is amazing what grown ups get away with!!! Have a fun weekend!!!

    • Annabel Candy September 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Se7en, haha, lucky I’m not your kid then:) I’d be dead now! Lol.

  4. Dave Doolin September 17, 2011 at 4:43 am - Reply

    “What makes a hotel hot for you? What are your best or worst hotel experiences?”

    Mostly, what makes it hot is, uh, who’s in there with me. I’ll pass on Part 2 of that question, thankyouverymuch.

  5. QwkDrw September 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Really like the wide (angle) full width x short height photos that ‘compliment and clarify’ the body text. Also seems that ‘divide and organize’ the body text might be another successful way of using such photos. And did you actually take those gorgrous photos?

    All considered, a great post with exceptional visual simulation


  6. QwkDrw September 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    … exceptional visual stimulation. In a great post. All considered


  7. QwkDrw September 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    … gorgeous photos


  8. Harriet Cabelly September 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    I love quint B&B’s, off the beaten path of the busy area but close enough to walk to. We recently stayed at a great one in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
    The manager/owner can really make it more special by being warm and hospitable. And when the breakfasts are healthy and beautifully presented, well then you’ve got it made.
    http://www.farolito.com/home.htm with Wayne as its wonderful owner.

Leave A Comment