Novotel Brisbane South Bank

Spaciousness combined with modern, inviting surrounds, greet you in the bar/restaurant area of Novotel Brisbane South Bank.

Refreshing to see such a large area devoted to comfortable lounge style seating in front of the bar. Add to this the bar stools, and you know you’ve found the ideal space to enjoy a coffee, pre dinner drinks or just wile away some time.

Friendly staff help to make this home away from home experience even more enjoyable.Unfortunately on this occasion, we did not have the luxury of staying, this was merely a visit for a business function. Very lucky though to be given a tour of this fabulously fresh and new hotel.

Given the standard of the food we did try, combined with the atmosphere, delightful staff and overall feel of this venue, Dine Live Travel will be back.

A lot of thought went into the design and decoration of this new hotel. Only opened in May of this year, this particular Novotel has been based on a European design which embraces the local area. Here, the outside comes in.Given the handy location to South Bank and all amenities in this area, how cool to see rooms with the bed head area dominated by these incredibly real depictions of the local area!

Immerse yourself in the city of Brisbane, drifting off to sleep under the very real feeling, canopy of the South Bank Arbour. Or, perhaps your room will feature the Channel 7 Wheel of Brisbane.

What a nice surprise when you open the room door to see what delightful artwork is waiting to make you feel a part of this vibrant city. Looking forward to hearing what you think!

From standard hotel rooms to suites with their own lounge, there is plenty on offer for you to to overnight or take a well needed staycation. Some rooms face over the spacious greenery that is Musgrave Park, others towards Southbank and the city. Maybe you will be able to clearly see the real Wheel of Brisbane from your room.

Suites feature an inviting deep bath. Immerse yourself here, with bubbles and champers. Oh yes, can you feel it??

The on site restaurant Spice Central, gives you some pleasant dining options. Here you can choose table dining, or, perhaps you would like to interact with kitchen staff. In this case, choose the bar stools located around the open air kitchen. What a great way to become a part of your meal production process, without the work or the dishes!Highly suggest you pay this venue a visit. It really does tick those boxes. And for those looking to enjoy the many events on offer either at South Bank or in the city, then this location, will definitely suit your needs. Give it a test run, we are going back. Might see you there!

Sofitel Brisbane Central & Queensland Ballet Mothers Day Performance

Sofitel Brisbane Central hosted High Tea with a performance by Queensland Ballet pe professionals for Mothers Day 2018. I was one of the lucky mothers to be treated to this experience.

High tea was superb with a mouth watering selection of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. Table were set to impressively high standards, with crisp white linen and every little detail covered.

In the background beautiful music gently flowed across the tables of families spoiling their mums, daugthers and sons treating treating their mothers, as well as groups of friends.

The premium package gave us stage side seating with free flowing French Champagne. Ooh La lah!! Clever lighting added to the ambiance of the entire ballroom, with wonderful lavender hues flooding across the tables.

Even the lights above looked superb!. We were treated to a most spectacular performance from Queensland Ballet pre professional students.

Raw emotion was etched on the faces of these superb dancers as their fluid movements told a nurturing story, ending with true love.

The strength, agility and impressive expression of these highly talent dancers, drew you into feeling the emotion behind the performance. Choreography, direction and execution of this heart wrenching story was simply superb.To experience this, whilst sipping on French champagne and indulging in a painstakingly put together high tea was quite special. The high tea included a sense a humour from the chef…

We were also treated to a short heartwarming speech from the very special Li Cunxin. Author of the autobiography, depicting his life as he fought to rise from poverty. Number six of seven brothers, Li started from humble beginnings to progress and become a hugely talented director. To be a mere few metres from such a respected being, was humbling, to say the least.

There was a Q & A with the director and choreographer of todays performance. To be honest I think the audience was awestruck with the day and unable to ask questions, however the host had questions which were answered by Queensland Ballet. Wonderful to hear the young dancers explain that to reach their level takes hard work and commitment. Traits which humanity loses on occasions. And to the direction and choreographer, the emotion you put into this performance was incredible. For these students to portray this emotionally drawn performance was a huge credit to their respect of you, to say the very least,

Thank you to all involved in hosting this day, the hard work and effort was appreciated by all. Look forward to seeing these pre-professionals as they make their mark in ballet history.

And for the Sofitel, never do you disappoint. Drop by sometime, and enjoy the friendly ‘bonjour’ ! Merci !

FV By Peppers – Fortitude Valley Brisbane

Thank you to Travel Massive and FV By Peppers for an interesting, informative evening last week. To attend a meeting at this newly opened complex was a privilege to say the least.The view from the restaurant and bar located on level 6, was certainly stunning as the sun set. Huge, inviting lounges, invite you to rest your feet and enjoy the location. The bar and restaurant area has massive doors opening to this secluded location.

To give some background FV by Peppers is still under construction. In saying that, its only the third accomodation tower which is yet to be finished. Tower One & Two are open for business. Offering both hotel and apartment accommodation, FV by Peppers gives you plenty of choice. Oh yes and you can live here too! Short stay, long stay, corporate, everything is on offer.

Based on skyscraper architecture, New York style, the building is impressive, including the u shaped swimming pool which offers a breathtaking area to both swim and chill- and includes a swim up bar, looking towards Brisbane city.

We were incredibly lucky to be treated to a private tour. So many hidden surprises here, and I would have to say, we were impressed. In fact so much so, that already we have a few groups of people we know making plans to stay. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.

Hotel rooms, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, there’s plenty of choice. And when I say apartments, I’m talking full kitchens. These apartments are built to live in, not just stay.

The two bedroomed apartment we viewed, had a gorgeous view of the story bridge at night, as you entered the second bedroom. Muted colours throughout enhanced the beautiful lights outside.

Comfortable lounge setting, leads onto the enclosed glass balcony. Everything you need for a chilled out stay has been included.

There are some impressive extras here you can enjoy with a group of friends or family. For a mere $30, hire one of the four large, beautifully appointed spa rooms and enjoy 4 hours of fun and relaxation.

Relax in the bubbling spa, letting your stress disappear and muscles relax, whilst you either enjoy the city view or watch the TV. There’s plenty of comfortable seating and even your own private bar where staff will provide you with food and drinks (not included in the hire fee), during the course of your four hours.

Should you maybe wish to continue your fun, there is also the moonlight theatre for hire. Again you and your friends relax, enjoy, whilst staff tend to your tends using the private bar (not included in hire fee), contained within the theatre. Bean bags or comfortable lounges make for a sprawling good time!

Even the gym is impressive, roomy plenty of new equipment to keep everyone happy, a wonderful city view, and the cherry on top, will be a new yoga area due to open soon.

Mantra Group have done well to ensure not only do you have the comforts of home, but that extra added luxury at a very reasonable price. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, be sure to keep on checking on how the Mantra Group bid is progressing. To have the Peppers and Mantra complex’s added to Accor portfolio options will be quite the feather in their cap!

And, should you be looking for something special, keep these hire rooms in mind. They aren’t available unless you are staying on site, but what a wonderful treat this could be!

Finally, as with most venues, weekends are busier and it might be that bit harder to secure a private spa or the theatre, so if you are able to stay during the week, chances are you will have most opportunities open to you. Enjoy, we are looking forward to visiting again, perhaps we will even see you there!

Dolphin Waters Holiday Apartments – Tin Can Bay

Managers Greg & Karen run a wonderfully clean complex. Apartments are spacious with the location being ideal. Relax in the sparkling pool or enjoy the view from an upstairs balcony.

Fully furnished with kitchen and laundry facilities allowing the opportunity to stay in comfort and enjoy your home away from home.

Should you prefer someone else to cook, the apartments are located directly across the road from the beach, with the takeaway Snack Shack within a few metres of the complex or a very short walk to the marina where the Marina Bar & Grill provides a relaxing atmosphere for enjoying a delicious meal or drinks.

You too could enjoy a wonderful mix of fresh seafood at the Marina. Certainly a filling meal, with good food down and to earth service delivered at a great price.

The view directly across from the apartments is beautifully serene. Occasionally punctuated with a windsurfer whipping over the water, providing the extra splash of colour, there is always something to see on this constantly changing canvas.

Low tide provides an opportunity to stroll out across the vast area of sand. Blue crabs traverse the flats, scurrying in their small armies to stay out of your way.

An easy walk or couple of minutes drive early in the morning, will bring you to the wild dolphin feeding at Barnacles Cafe. Such a wonderful experience for a mere few do.lars.

We enjoy the wonderfully chilled atmosphere at this resort, and Tin Can Bay itself. If you should be planning a visit, choose this complex to stay, Greg & Karen will do everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Check in, unpack then sit back and relax. Enjoy your stay!

Sky Lounge Rooftop Venue – Ibis Brisbane Airport

Exiting the lift into the Sky Lounge Rooftop Venue, the first thing that strikes you is the massive photo on the end wall depicting a bygone era.

Across the expansive room you can already see a stunning, uninterrupted view across Brisbane Airport and surrounds. Dine Live Travel was fortunate to be invited to a private function this week, hosted by Travel Massive and the Brisbane Airport Hotels Group.

Available for private hire, the spacious, comfortable and inviting area has its own impressive bar, which at night, reflected the airport lights in the big mirrors behind.

Glass and stainless blend seamlessly with the comfortable muted surroundings. Here inside, meets outside, leading on to that incredible view, where the sky is pierced regularly with planes arriving and leaving Brisbane Airport. If you’re a plane enthusiast, this will give you one of the best views in Brisbane. Even if you’re not, you cannot help but be impressed by the ever changing scene below as those long, metal, cigar shapes busily play out their orchestrated movements, leading to a symphony of precision.

Staff on site this evening were friendly, obliging and professional, ensuring everyone was looked after at all times. Finger food served was superb. An array of of food choices was constantly circled through the mingling patrons.We were also lucky enough to be given a tour of the onsite hotel rooms. Now keep in mind this venue is at the airport, you could have guests fly in for a function, stay the night and fly out the following morning if they were on a tight schedule. Having only opened in October, the rooms are fresh and clean.

This room above was in the Ibis. Plenty of room, quiet, comfortable, a large bathroom, and to top it off, a fabulous large window framing the Airport. In here, there was not even a whisper from those massive jet engines traversing the runway.

Next stop, the Pullman right next door, where we were treated to a tour of a couple of suites and standard room, as well as the executive lounge.The suite above is popular with business executives flying in for meetings. In the suite you have a large dining table with half a dozen chairs, meaning you can have a private meeting without having to hire a boardroom. The impressively large pod coffee machine would be a sure bet hit with those meeting attendees too!

Keep this venue in mind should you be looking to host a function on a rooftop in Brisbane. Or, for anyone stopping over briefly, these hotels are perfect should you not wish to go into the city or leave the airport. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, here are another couple of venues for utilising those membership advantages.

Thank you to Travel Massive and Brisbane Airport Hotels Group for giving us the opportunity to check out this venue.

Mecure Clear Mountain Resort

Imagine if you may, waking up to the rolling vistas from you your own room at the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort. With a location so close to Brisbane’s northside, yet you feel a complete world away, this really is a wonderful place to escape to.

We first visited last year and could not wait to book another weekend escape. When the opportunity arose, we booked in that precious two night escape and looked forward to February when it would finally arrive. Which before long, it did. Time to chillout and relax.

So close to Brisbane, its an easy drive up the mountain to our weekend break.Excitingly enough we were lucky to be staying in one of the Lodge Suites, this is where being an accor plus member and booking those special member only deals, is handy as well as fulfilling . Check out the size of the beautiful twin head rain shower. Matching this was a roomy bathroom with twin handbasins and a free standing bath.Light brightens the room through the skylights, everything in here was beautifully clean with plenty of amenities available.

Space and roominess give you a wonderful relaxed feeling. Nothing to do here, just breathe, chill and relax.

There are a number of things to do on site. Stephanie’s provide an array of spa treatment, or enjoy the pool,tennis court and gym provided. Add to this the wonderful on site main restaurant, Lakeview. You can wile a day away here if you like, partake of the extensive buffet breakfast, whilst drinking in the view and enjoying the company of the local wildlife, then stay on for lunch, nibbles or drinks.Rain or shine, the locals will show up hoping for some soft tasty meat morsels. How heartwarming as well as a wonderful down to earth experience to interact with wildlife. Popping up anywhere, so dont be surprised if you pass a kookaburra sitting quietly on the railing. They wont move, just sit quietly and observe as you go past,or make their day and stop for a quick chat. Even better, offer some of their favourite soft meat to become their friend. Don’t worry they wont bite, just take the offerings from your fingers.

When you’re weary and hungry, enjoy a bite,there so much choice at the Lakeview or at the adult only restaurant Mandys on the Mountain.

If you cant stay, just drop by for a drink or meal. The staff here are simply awesome. No matter what area they work in, everyone we interacted with was friendly, helpful and best of all, some of the staff remembered us from our last visit. Now thats personal service! Highly recommend visiting this venue,no matter what the weather or reason. .

Tin Can Bay

Taking a break this week from the NZ blogs to write about Tin Can Bay. After we returned from NZ, we undertook the short 2 1/2 hour drive from Brisbane to spend a few days relaxing at Tin Can Bay. Our choice for accommodation here was at Dolphin Waters Motel, on the Esplanade. Very friendly motel managers, big roomy apartments including kitchen and laundry facilities. All in all good value for the price.

Upstairs, we had a wonderful peaceful view across the Esplanade. The generous balcony was plenty roomy enough for us, also making a fantastic temporary outdoor office for keeping up with work commitments. Sunrise was definitely worth being up and about for. Filtered golden hues of sun rays dancing across the water, providing a wonderfully colourful backdrop from the motel balcony.

The pool area is inviting with a natural rock look, your eyes are drawn across the mirrored pool to the esplanade beyond. Here, we were lucky to meet an amazing group travelling through who were also out to relax and enjoy.

Exploring our area, we stopped in for lunch at the Marina, where we discovered the laid back restaurant Marina Bar & Grill, with lovely, well presented food and an entertaining owner who fed the fish in the marina for us to show how many there were. Enjoying our view across the Marina, the stresses of life started to slip away. Usually all the water is clear, however recent rains had left a muddied look through the sea water. We still had a clear view of the many fish swimming happily around the marina area.

700 metres approximately from the Dolphin Waters Motel, Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Centre, not only a cafe which provides fulfilling meals but also the opportunity each morning to feed the wild dolphins. For a $5 entry fee you can learn about the dolphins plus receive a discount on your breakfast. Nice, hearty meals, certainly worth sitting here with a cuppa whilst watching the dolphin, listening to the volunteer talks and, participating in the feeding. On two days we made the trip down to hand feed the dolphins. What a wonderful soul cleansing experience. There is no other way to describe this without experiencing for yourself.

We found the locals to be friendly, relaxed and out of all the places we have visited, this little gem close to home really tugged the heart strings. We loved it. All the meals we had were fantastic, accommodation was great value and the dolphins, well that was on another level again.

After being invited by the lovely group we met at the pool, we joined them for dinner at the local bowls club, making use of the bowls club courtesy bus.

True honest meals at a very affordable price, with raffles and a couple of pokie machines, the evening was a lot of fun.

Close by are Rainbow Beach and Inskip point, where we took a drive one day for a look around. Beautiful vistas everywhere we stopped. Well worth a drive around.

We have yet to visit Fraser Island, but for anyone doing so, take particular care to read and understand all the warnings and advice given, particularly for 4WD vehicles heading over.

We fell in love with Tin Can Bay, mainly due to its fabulous relaxed feel. Most definitely heading back. Ill leave you with this chap, a pelican with attitude who frequents Barnacles Cafe. Happy to have his photo taken by his adoring fans, however everyone was warned not to get to close, he has been know to show his disapproval with a little more than a peck!

Novotel Surfers Paradise – Hanlans Restaurant/Bar

Mini Breaks are a great way to give your mind and body a chance to take a breath before you launch back into the routine of life. This view of Surfers Paradise Main Beach area, could be all yours at Novotel Surfers Paradise.  As an Accor Plus member, the complimentary room for the year was still waiting to be utilised.  Hence a visit to Novotel Surfers Paradise.

Our view from the room, was mesmerising.  From here we could watch the activity on the streets below, check for whales passing out at sea, view the river and its boats, or simply chill out and enjoy the landscape canvas rolled out before us.   Sunset and Sunrise views, were nothing less than superb!

Day rolled into night, with outstanding orange hues as the sun dropped in behind the Western Ranges.  As the hunger pains set in, we visited the Novotel Restaurant, Hanlans.  Located on Level 1 of the complex, the expansive restaurant mainly operates as a buffet for both breakfast and dinner.   On the ground floor, Hanlans Bar is open through the day, with a breakfast and lunch mini menu to keep you going.Staff here are attentive.  Water is topped up throughout your meal, plates are cleared in a timely fashion and above all else, every staff member we came across, throughout the hotel, from reception, concierge through to bar, restaurant and cleaners, were professional yet friendly.  Its a rare venue to have all staff displaying good quality customer service.

From fresh seafood, to seafood salads and other salads or meats, through to a delectable dessert selection, along with many options in between, there is plenty to choose from.

Should you have the prilege of being an Accor Plus member, you will receive big discounts of your meals.  For two people with one membership, this results in a 50% meal discount, essentially one of you eats for free.

Rooms are comfortable, clean, with balconies plus the added bonus of being so close to a lot of options, where you will likely park the car and leave it there.  Shopping is below the hotel, or walk to the beach in 5 minutes.  Check out the Q1 tower for a birds eye view, barely 10 minutes walk or visit the many other attractions in the area.  

As night falls, life does not become quieter on the streets below. Patrons flock to the nightlife, bathing in the depth of colourful lights, twinkling around them from all angles.

A winter sunrise in Queensland is stunning.  Orange hues light up the fiery sky before fading through to the daylight blue.  Take a short walk to the beach and you may have the opportunity to see a surfer disappearing into the waves. 

Silhouettes outlined by. the rising sun provide not only fantastic photo opportunities, but also those moments where time stands still, momentarily.  Indulge yourself, take the walk and wonder at the colourful birth of a new day.

All the food we enjoyed at the Novotel was fresh, nicely presented, and enjoyable.  Below are some food images from our weekend stay.Caesar Salad with Chicken tenders at Hanlans Bar.

Love the presentation of the loose leaf tea.

Calamari & salad at Hanlans Bar.

Cheese plate at Hanlans Bar.Burger at Hanlans Bar.

Ice cream is made fresh on the premises.

I love this personal touch with what we think are staff handprints across the front window, making an interesting view from Hanlans Bar.   Sit down in the bar, enjoy a barista or bar drink whilst you watch the world go by.   There is always something happening in Surfers. This is a venue we will return to, look forward to seeing you there!


Two Tails Wines Bed and Breakfast – Nana Glen NSW

Prior to the Easter break, we made the decision to stop midway on our return from Newcastle area to Brisbane.  Unfortunately when you travel at Easter prices tend to go through the roof.   The Ibsis Budget we stopped in for a brief break on the way down, was worth the small amount we had paid for the night, but not double the price expected for Easter Sunday.  Hello google, lets see what we can find.  

Presto, up came a B & B in the Coffs Harbour Hinterland.  Loved the look of the room with the chandelier and warm inviting feel.   We touched base and as the room was vacant on that night, so it was decided to give our first B & B experience a go as it all sounded so reasonable.

Arriving at the Winery late afternoon, just in time to catch a wine tasting, we immediately clicked with the owners Madonna & Barry, who were so genuine, inviting and welcoming.

Now keep in mind. Hubby had been a bit like, oh winery well what will I drink??   Not being a wine drinker, except the odd sweet wine, we had thought a trip to the pub might be necessary to satisfy his thirst.   Apparently not.   The selection here is fascinating.   Dry wines to sweet, including blueberry, raspberry and wonderful fortified wine called Lizards Blood.

By the end of the tasting, Hubbys seclection of choice was more than mine!  Oh well, looks like we will have to drop back down this way to keep the wine fridge topped up.   Best thing was, of the ones I tried, there were no bad choices.   

Have to mention the bubbles, wonderfully light small bubbles, very easy to drink.   Love to enjoy some bubbles on occasions and both of the Two Tails Bubbly Wines have now made the favourite bubbly list.This small vineyard is a credit to the owners, with neat tidy rows and vines.   Take a stroll around when you stay there, Madonna & Barry have no problem with that.   Definitely they have a little slice of paradise here, and its pretty awesome.

The room has a large bathroom including spa bath, nice tidy kitchenette with a bar fridge, microwave, electric frypan, toaster, jug and basic kitchen essentials.   Breakfast was waiting in the fridge for the next morning, with bacon eggs, bread for toasting, even a couple of cereals there if you desired as well.  Everything was neat tidy, clean, and very inviting.

The large country style verandah outside the door, has a BBQ as well as outside dining setting and a small coffee table setting.   We were offered the choice of sitting on the wonderful verandah outside the winery door as well.  Next time, I think we will, it certainly looked like an awesome place to wile away some time whilst kicking back enjoying a vino or two.  Not that there was anything wrong with the the verandah at the house, a nice relaxing place to watch the world go by.

If you give plenty of notice, check the website as your welcoming hosts give you some bbq dinner options.   We decided a couple of weeks prior to have  T-bone steak meal each.  Great decision that one.   The Tbones were huge, fantastic butcher quality steaks.   Complimented by the tasty salad and fresh buns, not forgetting a drop or two of the Two Tails Wine and you have a restaurant style meal.   Even better maybe as you get to cook that meat to your suit your palate.   All the condiments were provided too so you can stop here without bringing food at all.   

There are a couple of local pubs too, and two interesting looking cafes close by.   Certainly wont go hungry or thirsty in this area.  

We really cannot recommend this place highly enough.   As our first B&B experience with the owners onsite, it was simply fabulous.   Your hosts are friendly intriguing and we enjoyed sharing some time with them.   Certainly an excellent choice of venue to which we will return.

Even if you cannot stay, at least drop in and check out the winery.  If you really dont want to try any wine, Barry has a fridge of beer varieties at the cellar door as well as some non alchohoic drinks.   There is something here for everyone.

Perhaps you’re wondering where the name came from, Two tails came about because of the two tailed lizard.  Plenty of interesting facts to find out.   

Keep an eye out for updates on the two new rooms, restaurant, annual music festival, and oh so much this go ahead winery has to offer. Keep in mind the affordability of this venue..in no way is anything overpriced.

Enjoy your time and have a chat with the hosts, Maddona & Barry.   We had some hilarious conversations.  Thank you both for a fabulous experience.    We are definitely coming back!

Ibsis Bdget – Coffs Harbour

To live is to explore the world around us.  Too many are caught up in everyday routines, or staying with the familiar.  Why not, change tact every now and then.

With Easter on the horizon, we set off on a road trip from Queensland into New South Wales.  Nothng better than a few days away. Road tripping,  love it.

To break up the 9-10 hour trip, we decided to stop about halfway, at Ibsis Budget Coffs Harbour.  Reviews had slammed this place as being budget accommodation.  I’m not sure what these people missed but I’m pretty sure that was obvious in the name!  We were arriving late night, leaving early morning and to be fair, I’m not prepared to pay good or top dollars for a place you when don’t have time to enjoy the amenities on offer.

Ibsis Budget it was. Yes that came from Accor Plus membership , but here you cannot use your points, or gain points. No problem, to be honest for about $80, two people, room & breakfast, we are not complaining.  Although many have.

Om a side note here, Accor have their basis covered. For sure.  From basic accommodation to the best, they have it, and would have to say, good thnking.

The room is basic, as we expected.  In saying that it was sufficient.  Bed, TV, private bathroom, even basic coffee facilities and bar fridge.  We needed no more, particularly when you roll through the door late at night just to sleep and freshen up.

Not only sufficient, clean, tidy and the added plus of friendly helpful staff.  Even a phone call to check how we were travelling before they closed reception at 10pm.  Don’t panic if you do go over reception time.  They will call you, give you a code to enter a locked box outside, which will have your room key in it.Plenty of car parking, yes you probably look out onto a carpark, no balconies here, but as I said, we were just passing through for a few hours. It really doesn’t matter.

Buffet continental breakfast.  Again not sure why some expected a full cooked breakfast or a kitchen to open, as it was clearly advertised. Certainly again sufficient to top up after your snooze and refresh.

You cannot top service or cleanliness.  The young lady on reception and gentleman on buffet, were both friendly outgoing, helpful and very down to earth,   Most impressive service for budget accommodation.  Well done.  

Sure, I would not recommend staying here for a holiday, however, to break a road trip with a brief stopover,  highly recommended.