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“Opportunity to stay in an updated Queenslander house”

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Spicers Balfour Hotel
Ranked #15 of 157 Hotels in Brisbane
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
103 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Opportunity to stay in an updated Queenslander house”
Reviewed 24 November 2013

There's a lot going on at Spicers Balfour Hotel and maybe not enough square footage to accommodate it all, especially with the high volume of non resident guests. A previous review describing it as a 'Restaurant with rooms out the back' makes a good point.

Having spent a few days in the area, we did get to realise that staying at Spicers Balfour Hotel was a good opportunity to stay in a restored Queenslander house. The verandah, which is used for dining, is very pleasant. At the top of the house, configuring the bar to view the Storey Bridge is inspired, fantastic view.

Arrival can be a bit anonymous (we were all travelling so no previous phone call) but once contact is made the welcome is very warm and you are shown round. Throughout our visit the staff were always friendly and accommodating.

It's a boutique hotel, but it's also bijou - the rooms are small, possibly emphasised by the dark tones of the decor. Bed comfortable, lovely linen, but not king size. Nespresso coffee machine and automatic hot/cold water machine (why no kettle we thought at first, but now want one at home). Plunge/cafetiere available, also coffee bean grinder machine if you travel with your own beans. No fridge. (An instant Pot Noodle was included in the 'mini bar' in ironic (?) contrast to the surround tastefulness!)

However...the layout of the hotel is such that we doubt any room will be truly peaceful. The bar, restaurant and kitchens are the core of the hotel and the rooms are shoe-horned around the edges. Night was quiet, but long days are busy at Spicers Balfour Hotel...In addition to Breakfast, Espresso and Afternoon Tea, the Balfour's Kitchen now does Dinner, so all day there is a high volume of non-resident business. Very enterprising, but servicing this generates a fair amount of activity and noise.

The Balfour breakfast seems to be a destination item, particularly at weekend. Residents are guaranteed a place but for us last Sunday it seemed touch and go. We also had to wait a while for the food to arrive which was a bit tense as we had to check out, thankfully one of the team appreciated this and put us at our ease.

Overall a lovely contrast to larger 5 star chain hotels, but volume of non resident business can make things hectic.

Room Tip: Pay proper attention when you are shown how things work in your room - it's dark fittings on a d...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LondonVectis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 9 December 2013
Dear LondonVectis

We are happy that you enjoyed the lovely contrast of Spicers Balfour Hotel and it’s always nice to host personalities from all over the world.

Thank you for your feedback, November is traditionally a very busy month for us and with the Ashes week in Brisbane it all adds.

With the hotel being busy we will always ensure we look after our in-house guests and I hope you enjoyed the team.

Thank you again for your valued feedback, we ensure we use this information to train our team, make changes where possible to ensure your stay is truly memorable.

Warmest Regards
Willie Smuts & Team Balfour
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617 reviews from our community

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Toowoomba
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2013

Three days planned at the Balfour turned into two. Our previous experience of the Spicer's Resort near Cunningham's Gap led us to expect a five star experience. While it was not possible to fault the staff we found that the experience was more like being in a restaurant with rooms attached out the back. The parking was inadequate for the hotel guests (only five or six cramped spots) but by evening when the walk in trade for the restaurant arrived we, the guests, had to cruise the streets to find a parking place several streets away. Booked massages paid in advance never happened. There were apologies but the experience of being pampered was lost. 'Private' balconies from our room were inches away from restaurant diners. The rooms, while well appointed, were very tiny, almost closet sized, and the ambient lighting gloomy. Neighbours were only meters away and unscreened. Breakfast in our rooms was ordered in advance but still 90 minutes later was still in the kitchen. The evening restaurant meal was no better than three star and we chose to dine out elsewhere on the second evening. This spoiled the sense of a quiet secluded retreat experience. The friendliness of the staff went some way to making this an occasion to remember but not necessarily one to repeat.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Graham W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Dear Graham W

I can only apologize for your experience at Spicers Balfour Hotel as this is not how we operate. The email below was sent to your wife and I have been talking to her over email the past week. My team and I really can’t wait to host you again. Your wife said that she will email me directly when you make your way to Brisbane again.
Have a beautiful week.

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts & Team Balfour
Dear Elegance Family

We really enjoyed hosting you at Spicers Balfour Hotel. We strive for perfection and what you had experience was surly not how we operate. We are glad that you enjoyed our team and the $150 per night room upgrade that we provided complimentary before you arrived at the hotel. When staying with us we like to think that all our occupants become family and my team loves looking after all our guests. They say in life that honesty is the best policy and I can only sincerely apologize that everything did not go to plan. With your massages we sometimes rely on external therapists and it was unfortunate that their car broke down. I have since your stay contacted the design team and they have fitted a blind to the outdoor terrace to ensure the sense of privacy for our terrace room guests as we take feedback seriously and on boards straight away.

Given the opportunity I would love to discuss your feedback in detail and host you again on your next visit to Brisbane.

Please email me directly on gm.balfour@spicersgroup.com.au , I would love to discuss your stay to ensure we do everything to ensure your expectations of the hotel is met.

Warmest Regards
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Toowoomba Queensland
Level Contributor
70 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 November 2013

Booking on the net was easy. The website is friendly and informative and since we have stayed at Spicers Gap in the past we were looking forward to a few days at the Spicer’s property in New Farm in Brisbane – Spicer’s Balfour.
We were rung on the day to ask about a time of arrival and to talk about a dinner reservation. We called back when we realised we were a bit lost and help was readily and cheerfully at hand. So far so good.
We were able to park our car on the property – great. We entered the reception area and a sign directed us up some poorly lit steps. That’s when the first thing went wrong. I fell over the bottom step. Dusting myself off and reassuring staff that I was OK we proceeded to our room. We were impressed that our booking had been upgraded and we had a Terrace Room. The room was small but beautifully appointed as we found after we hunted down the power switches. It was difficult in the gloom though once illuminated each switch had a tag nominating which light it would power.
Nothing was too much trouble for each and every member of staff.They were polite, enthusiastic and keen to please. We enjoyed our evening canapés on the rooftop earlier than scheduled so that we could attend a previously arranged function. Arriving back at the hotel at ~ 8:30 we found no parking. We had to leave our car on the street more than a block away. Dinner was pleasant but not of the standard that we were expecting given our previous stay at Spicer’s Gap. Our verandah was a lovely spot to eat but there was no real privacy. Just a few metres away we overlooked the verandah of another property. Inches away fellow diners could be seen and heard. The slatted screen was ineffective – superfluous since it filled no function.
We slept well in and next morning anticipated breakfast. We waited more than 90 minutes after we had ordered breakfast to our room. Meanwhile we were quite aware of other guests who appeared in the dining area on the other side of the slatted screen being served.
Our host asked about the problem we had with the car the previous evening and very kindly offered us a bottle of wine to enjoy after our scheduled afternoon massages.
We arrived back to our room in the early afternoon – 15 minutes before the scheduled massage. The room door was propped open with a stool and there was no-one in the room though clearly someone was in the process of cleaning. I wondered about security of our valuables left in the room.
Next came a phone call that the massage therapist had a flat tyre and was delayed! Another call to explain that he wasn’t able to come. Another call with the message that no-one was coming.
When we first arrived at Spicer’s Balfour, we had a serious discussion amongst ourselves about staying longer. We didn’t have to be anywhere else for a couple of days and we anticipated a wonderful experience. By the second evening we had decided that we would head home as planned on day 3. It seems such a pity since the place is lovely, the staff are involved and keen to serve. Something mitigated against a serene time. It is difficult to say just what that something was. Overall we couldn't fault any member of staff nor the facilities. I guess even hotels have 'bad hair days'.

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank elegance535
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Dear Elegance Family

We really enjoyed hosting you at Spicers Balfour Hotel. We strive for perfection and what you had experience was surly not how we operate. We are glad that you enjoyed our team and the $150 per night room upgrade that we provided complimentary before you arrived at the hotel. When staying with us we like to think that all our occupants become family and my team loves looking after all our guests. They say in life that honesty is the best policy and I can only sincerely apologize that everything did not go to plan. With your massages we sometimes rely on external therapists and it was unfortunate that their car broke down. I have since your stay contacted the design team and they have fitted a blind to the outdoor terrace to ensure the sense of privacy for our terrace room guests as we take feedback seriously and on boards straight away.

Given the opportunity I would love to discuss your feedback in detail and host you again on your next visit to Brisbane.

Please email me directly on gm.balfour@spicersgroup.com.au , I would love to discuss your stay to ensure we do everything to ensure your expectations of the hotel is met.

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
61 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 November 2013

This hotel has been beautifully restored . The rooms are very small as are the bathrooms but are modern and comfortable. The roof top bar has lovely views of the bridge and city, very New York, but where this hotel excels is the service of the staff and the delicious food. The manager and his staff are the best I have encountered in a very long time, friendly and efficient people who know how to make your stay perfect. Breakfasts were a delight as was a dinner we had on the balcony one night during our stay. Location is not far from the city or the river, walking distance to many restaurants etc.

Room Tip: I would book the suite if staying for more than a night, more space
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 255103linda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Dear Linda

It was truly lovely hosting you and meeting you on your stay. Thank you for your kind words and feedback. Please let me know when you are visiting again, there is always a glass of bubbles waiting on the roof top bar for you.
Trust you had a good journey home, we hope to see you back in Brisbane soon.

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts & Team Balfour
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toowoomba
Level Contributor
81 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2013

We spent one evening only at Spicers Balfour in New Farm, Brisbane. The experience of the gorgeously renovated old Queenslander - surrounded by blooming frangipani trees - from warm welcome to farewell was just delightful. Located in a quiet side street off Brunswick Street it's a quick drive from the city and within walking distance of leafy New Farm and busy Fortitude Valley. Lots of cafes and restaurants and the Brisbane Powerhouse Performing Arts complex are nearby. If you have time, consider walking down to the Brisbane River and talking a City Cat to explore the city's reaches from the water. The friendly staff will assist. Canapes and bubbles on the verandah at sunset were a perfect start to an all-too-brief stay. We will be back!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Groundling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Dear Groundling

It is so lovely to host so many guests from Toowoomba. We are truly happy you enjoyed your stay and we look forward to have you with us soon.

Have a lovely week

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts & Team Bafour
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2013 via mobile

We booked for the romantic escape for one night. The room was very well presented and well stocked with any and all amenities needed.
The staff were very welcoming and extremely helpful. They even called us up the night before to confirm the reservation.
Alex, our main staff member was excellent. He was very willing to accommodate our needs. They even let us change up our bottle of champagne for a really nice bottle of shiraz for our stay - as this was included along with canapes and truffles as part of the package. Alex also had an excellent knowledge of the local bars and resraurants which we found invaluable.

The rooftop bar was very intimate and had a wonderful view of the Storey Bridge and the Brisbane skyline. The open bar with the honour system was an excellent different touch.

All in all the stay was amazing and very intimate. We were thoroughly impressed. Oh and I have to mention the great breakfast very very tasty and presented well.

Thanks again.

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gagosta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Dear Gagosta from Melbourne

Thank you for the kind review, every day is a blessing being at The Balfour with so many amazing people visiting us. I am glad you enjoyed the team and Alex sends his regards.
The honour bar was truly designed for our in-house guests, they do not have to wait for a drink ever and it’s fun to have a bar for your use away from home I always say.
Maria puts a lot of love and passion into her breakfast and she enjoyed your feedback.

Have a great week

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts & Team Bafour
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 October 2013

I chose the Spicers Balfour Hotel New Farm as the venue to propose to my partner. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted by staff with a smile, the service was superior, the bar upstairs over looking the Story Bridge was breath taking, the food was divine and overall an experience we will never forget. The room was spacious and elegant. We highly recommend this property, as above average, nothing is too much trouble and value for money

Greg, Brisbane

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gregkt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Dear Gregkt

Thank you for your lovely review, my team live and breathe service and it`s always nice to hear that it does not go unnoticed.
I am happy that you enjoyed your room and my team look forward to your next visit with us.
On a personal note, that is a stunning profile photo, I am a bit of a travel junky and enjoy visiting breathtaking places. Where did you take the photo?

Have a lovely week

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts & Team Bafour
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Spicers Balfour Hotel

Property: Spicers Balfour Hotel
Address: 37 Balfour St, Brisbane, Queensland 4005, Australia
Region: Australia > Queensland > Brisbane Region > Brisbane
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 157 Hotels in Brisbane
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Spicers Balfour Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
From the outside, Spicers Balfour Hotel resembles many of the large and beautiful classic Queenslander homes found in its neighbourhood, the fashionable inner-city Brisbane suburb of New Farm. The hotel offers nine rooms each with individual elegance and charm providing an indulgent haven with all the comforts and attention to detail expected from a leading five star hotel. Small boardroom for meetings of up to 18 delegates, onsite restaurant serving sumptuous breakfast's and high tea's daily, lunch (Monday-Friday),and dinner (Monday-Saturday), library, large and open QLD Verandah, complimentary parking facilities and rooftop bar with views of the stunning city skyline and Story Bridge. Whether it's a corporate trip to Brisbane, a romantic city escape from the kids, or just a cosy, convenient place to come back to after a show, Spicers Balfour Hotel is the ultimate city escape. ... more   less 
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