The Square Restaurant- Novotel Auckland Airport

Sometimes transit times can be dull. But, should you be on flights which transit through Auckland, then take some time to dine or stay, at Novotel Auckland Airport. The Square Restaurant will not disappoint. Here there are comfy booths or stand alone dining settings, all situated under the massively high ceiling with a living wall sprouting from the bar..Delightful melt in the mouth fish made for a fantastically filling, yet light on the stomach meal, for this late evening traveller.

Room service is 24 hours, if you are looking for some peace and quiet. Or stop on in the restaurant, the friendly, professional staff will do all they can to make your meal enjoyable.Mind you the view from your room at night might be quite enticing!

Lunch was also an enjoyable meal, again with fantastic staff.

I really enjoyed this Calamari. Tender enough to chew, with a crispy exterior.

However, check out the brilliant colour on this NZ salmon bagel! The eye catching pop of colour gave a hint of how tasty this fish was.

Or, continuing on the fish theme, how about a hearty fish and chop meal? Impressively large this lunch was another tasty dish.Even the children’s meals are enticing..On a couple of occasions now we have stopped by this restaurant. Never yet have been disappointed. Stop by, the staff will look after you!

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!

Novotel Surfers Paradise

Treated to a viewing of the refurbished rooms at Novotel Durfers Paradise this week was quite an unexpected bonus. Attending this Travel Massive meet was most definitely worth the return trip from Brisbane to the very heart of Surfers Paradise.

Now sporting a wonderful peaceful ambiance the rooms are quite inviting. Couple this with the balcony off each room giving you simply stunning views across the Gold Coast, and you have a winning combination.

A new rooftop area is now available for function hire. Very spacious, kitted out with comfortable, inviting furniture, this certainly is a rooftop space worth considering if you’re requiring a venue.

Views upwards are quite impressive too!

Staff were all friendly and more than happy to assist in any way possible. The lobby area can be quite busy at times with tour groups coming in and out but it doesn’t matter as there is such a huge amount of space, along with a bar/cafe, information & tour booking desk as well as reception. An onsite restaurant is up on level one plus laundry, games room, gym etc near the pool and rooftop areas.

Centrally located, from this hotel it is a mere short stroll to the beach as well as a multitude of attractions, leave the car and enjoy a walk.

Consider this hotel if you’re looking for accommodation, those newly refurbished rooms really do look very inviting!

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. .

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!


Lakeview and Mandys on the Mountain Restaurants, Mecure Clear Mountain

Beautifully located on the side of Clear Mountain, with incredible vistas to the side and front, you will find the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort.   Two restaurants are onsite.  One being the general Lakeview restaurant boasting a wide wrap around verandah area giving you a choice of indoor or outdoor dining.

The second is the adults only dinner restaurant Mandy’s on the Moutain.  Menus are similar and simplistic, in a good way.  We enjoyed a lunch at Lakeview on a balmy weekend day, followed by an intimate dinner at Mandy’s, with a backdrop of wine, and nightcaps on the balcony overlooking the evertwinkling Brisbane & surounds lights.

This soft shell tempura crab lunch special, was incredibly soft, with the light tempura giving some crispness to the dish.  Presentation was superb.

Pairing well with the stuffed jalapeño dish and delightful platter, lunch was most enjoyable.


With lunch definitely not disappointing, we were left wondering what delights would be in store for this evenings meal at Mandy’s..  

We had a lovely conversation with new restaurant managerduring lunch.  Interesting  to see new staff learning the ropes.  Certainly no complaints from us regarding staff, everyone we came across was friendly and helpful.

Natural oysters displayed on a bed of salt with crisp lime slices,  provided that wonderful raw seafood flavour to the tastebuds.  They were also a perfect starter to our dinner at Mandy’s on the Mountain.Crispy duck was my dinner choice.  Never have I eaten such a delectably soft duck.  With a crunch on the outside, the inside meat simply fell apart and melted in the mouth.Hubby declared his bangers and mash to be superb.  Apparently a very enjoyable dish.Why not finish with a dessert?  This tiramisu with pistachio ice cream, finished off hubby’s meal with that taste of sweet, but not too sweet.  Again service here was superb.

There is no doubt we will be going back to either of these restaurants. To combine this wonderful food, with the atmosphere, views and service, why would we not return!  Look forward to our next visit.

Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge 

Sometimes you need to relax, chillout, have some down time,  What better place than the stunning setting at Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge.   From the time you arrive to the time you reluctantly leave, this location embraces your being with a feeling of peace.  

Stunning vistas unfold in every direction.  The ceremony area frames a picturesque background, who wouldn’t want to tie the knot here.   To have such an incredible venue on the outskirts of Brisbane’s Northside, is a massive bonus in itself.  Couple this with the friendly, helpful staff and food to a high inner city quality, and you have an awesome combination.

Your own balcony, should you choose to take advantage of the onsite accomodations will most likely provide you with a very restful area to spend some time whilst watching the city of Brisbane and surrounds, going about their business.   Planes landing, taking off, cruise ships disappearing into the distance, and a city just doing what a city does.

Pastel hues gave way to the twinkling Brisbane lights as night fell on the area.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.  Maybe from your balcony, maybe from one of the restaurants on site.  Wth a choice of the spacious Lakeview or the more intimate adults only, Mandy’s on the Mountain, you are sure to find something to suit your taste.   To do these restaurants justice, a separate review will follow.  Keep an eye out for it.

On site gardens supply the chefs with fresh produce in the creation of their meals.  Even a small vineyard, supplies grapes which find their way from vineyard to plate.

To give you a taste of what is yet to come, lets tantiilise your tastebuds with this platter for two. Superb!After eating your and drinking your fill, take the time to linger on the deck with a nightcap and drink in the twinkling atmosphere laid out before you.  Eventually you will have to tear yourself away to head back to your  comfortable room, or home, whichever the case may be.  Should you be lucky enough to have decided to stay, see if you can rise in time to watch the sun dawn on a new day.   Our hope is that upon reading this review, you will check this venue out.  Perhaps a wedding venue is what you are after, maybe just somewhere for a relaxing meal, or perhaps you will visit here to enjoy the onsite spa facilities.   Whatever the reason, enjoy your visit.  Remember to take time to relax, its a feeling oozing around you here, which just shouldn’t be resisted.   If you take time to enjoy a restaurant balcony meal, watch out for the local bird life, they enjoy a meat treat, and may feel the need to remove their own meat from your plate if you linger in feeding them!  

One last word in closing, Relax!

The Crofthouse Town Kitchen & Bar

Situated on the ground floor of the Sebel Brisbane, the Crofthouse is a result of a restaurant makeover around a year ago.   With a choice of indooor and outdoor dining, as welll as a mix of dining suite styles, you will are sure to find something to suit your tastes and wile away some time.


The Crofthouse  opens from early to late, catering for all daily meals as well as bar, snack and chacutierie menus.   

Lunches are $16, with a choice of two types.   Choose a protein meal and match to the interesting mix of salads at the bar, or choose an a la carte meal.    Today we both chose an a la carte option.

Mine was the Mushroom Risotto which had a some juicy mushroom pieces scattered throughout.   A nice mild meal, which suited me perfectly.  No spices, just herbs and goats cheeese making for a very enjoyable lunch.


Hubby chose the Flathead meal today.  Accompanied by chunky chips, I’m told the meal was tasty and enjoyable. As far as $16 meals both of these represented very good value for their cost.  Keep in mind too, if you are an Accor plus member, this restaurant accepts the accorplus card giving you discounts on your meals.


Wile away some time here, you may even find free entertainment outside the window.   We were lucky enough to be treated to a reverse parking display which took close to ten minutes from beginning to end, quite entertaining!

Should you feel the need to stay in the city, the Sebel has apartments and rooms available.   

Check the menus here as you pass by, there might be something which will catch your attention and provide you with the opportunity to stop off and relax.

The Sebel & Palettes Restaurant- Brisbane

 Enjoy an evening drink or nightcap on the balcony of your Sebel Apartment, in Brisbane.  Watch the city light up at night as you gaze through the intricate designs of high rises.   This was an impromptu night out, a last minute decision for a quick weekend getaway.  

Reasonably priced, the apartments are fully equipped with kitchen/laundry facilities teamed with a very comfortable, roomy living area.   Of course Le Accor members will receive those extra points and bonuses, dependant on your membership level.   

Reception staff here were friendly and helpful.  With valet or self parking, heated pool, gym, room service and on site restaurant, you should have no problem relaxing.

Of course you can take all your own food and drinks to prepare a gourmet meal in your own apartment, or, venture down to Palettes, the onsite restaurant/bar.  Partake of a cocktail, enjoy a lingering lunch with an option of selected $5 beverage to wash your lunch down, or dine for an evening meal.     

Yumm, cocktails 😄 
Lcated on the corner, only a block from the heart of Queen Street Mall, there is always something to see through the expanse of glass surrounding the restaurant, or whilst seated at the tables in the footpath area.   Staff here were helpful and attentive too. Well done.

People watching is an amusing hobby, with this location ideal as there is always something to see.   From the stumbling load of bucks party participants who emerged from a maxicab, to the on duty police officers issuing warnings and infringements to jay walkers and the guy in that station wagon who just…did he really drive the wrong way down a one way street??  Yes he did!  Lucky it was quiet, he managed to turn around and sail past us in the correct direction, trying to pretend the first part never happened.  Ah the world viewed through a wine glass,such an entertaining place.

 

 The menu here is small, but sufficient with a varied choice to satisfy most tastes. Loved this Cajun calamari for lunch.  Always do enjoy finding a calamari dish where you aren’t consuming what tastes like rubber or string.   This one was quite a delightful meal.  Hubby really enjoyed his steak baguette below too.  Very nice I was told.   

Don’t forget room service!  What nicer way to top off the evening than dessert delivered to the room.  And this deconstructed pavlova definitely satisfied the sweet craving. 

   In summary, we would definitely return, loved the spaciousness of the rooms, location so handy to the centre of Brisbane, and enjoyed really good service.   I wouldn’t class the restaurant as fine dining if that is more to your taste, and there isn’t really a relaxing bar area, however, it is a short walk to many bars and restaurants, all a stones throw away.  For a laid back lingering meal though, with fresh nicely presented food at a reasonable price, you cannot go past Palettes.  Give the Sebel a try sometime.  You too could be enjoying this sunrise from your balcony…