Sure, a luxury wellness retreat sounds like the dream destination to take a break, escape the daily grind for a while and reset for the sake of your mental wellbeing. But when those retreats come with a hefty price tag, it can be hard to justify the hit to the bank balance, no matter how valuable maintaining your grip on sanity might seem.
Here’s a handy substitute that might just have you taking a wellness break more often (maybe even before you snap and do something frowned upon like throwing a stapler at your computer): a wellness staycation. Tell your friends and family you’re going out of town for the weekend, grab a fellow stressed out bestie/significant other/sibling, and give yourself a break with one of our favourite options for a calm-inducing staycay in Brisbane, no expensive flights or week-long retreat needed.
The Art Therapy Weekend
Perched right underneath the Story Bridge, with some pretty blissful views of the Brisbane river, luxe new hotel The Fantauzzo is filled to the brim with the artworks of acclaimed Australian painter Vincent Fantauzzo, and has styled up interiors to match. Check in on Friday night and start the weekend with a sustainably sourced dinner at ARC Dining (but skip the wine OK—this is a wellness weekend after all), before an early bedtime so you can make the Saturday morning yoga class on the Felons lawn just outside. Don’t ditch the workout attire afterwards though—you’ll need it to take one of the hotel’s Lekker bikes and cycle down to New Farm park along the river for breakfast at Mary Mae’s, or a grassy spread courtesy of the New Farm Deli.
After checking out the latest exhibition at the Powerhouse, ride back to your room and prep for an arty afternoon scoping out the IMA, Jan Murphy Gallery and Edwina Corlette Gallery just up the elevator on Brunswick Street. With some prior planning, you might even be able to squeeze in a class at Brush & Barrel or a pottery making session at Mas & Miek Ceramic House. Just make sure you leave time for a moonlit dip in the heated rooftop pool back at The Fantauzzo before a leisurely Sunday sleep in.
The Fitness Fest
If your preferred type of therapy involves smashing it out at the gym, this is the staycation for you. A suite at The Johnson in Spring Hill will land you smack bang in the middle of some of our favourite workouts, as well as provide a sun drenched rooftop pool for lazing around in between sweat sessions, and Lekker bikes to get you rolling around town.
As for those workouts, depending on how many you need to start feeling less rage, more zen, there’s plenty to get you sweating—hit the historic Spring Hill Baths for a few laps of the pool, head to CAMS on King Street for a heart pounding indoor spin workshop, climb the walls (literally) at Rocksports in Fortitude Valley or just whack things as hard as you can at Victoria Park’s driving range. In between, a trip to Spring Hill Deli will net you some picnic goodies for a spread in Roma Street Parklands (with or without an impromptu yoga session on the grass—it’s up to you), while Bishamon Japanese is the perfect place to get in a healthy sashimi dinner. Just don’t be tempted into hitting the Valley bars—make full use of your extra plush king size hotel bed instead.
The Detox-Retox Repeater
One for the party animals out there, a stay at W Brisbane is the perfect opportunity to eat and drink all your worries away—and then sweat it all out the morning after. Start the weekend off with a jaunt up nearby Mt Cootha to get your heart pumping, before checking into one of W Brisbane’s vibrant suites, some of which even have epic views of that inner city peak so you can look out and feel accomplished. Meanwhile, dinner at Bryon’s favourite farm-to-table restaurant Three Blue Ducks before setting off on a bar crawl around the city’s best bars—think Boom Boom Room, Death and Taxes, Super Whatnot and Brooklyn Standard—will take care of the retoxing.
It’s definitely time to detox again the next day though—and a massage and spa experience at W Brisbane’s Away Spa is just the way to do it, where you can soak and steam in the sauna and hot and cold plunge pools after blissing out with a signature massage, facial or body scrub. If you’re up for a walk, Miss Bliss Whole Foods in West End dishes up the most wholesome breakfasts on the south side of the river, but if walking (or eating) is beyond your capabilities, a float in one of the city’s multiple float tanks might help put you back to rights.
If it’s just the staycation you’re after, no extras necessary, check out Brisbane’s coolest hotels here.
Image credit: The Fantauzzo, The Johnson, W Brisbane