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Charles Martin, GM Emporium Hotel South Bank: Ten Questions

When the original Emporium Hotel opened in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in 2007 it was the first luxury boutique hotel in Queensland. And boy was it a good one.

The Emporium went on to become the most awarded luxury boutique hotel in Australia, and last year their new flagship, The Emporium Hotel South Bank, opened at Southpoint.

Even before I’ve handed my keys over to the valet at the new Emporium the wow factor kicks in as I watch colourful flowers moving on a 24-metre long digital screen. The green walls on either side of the screen and oversized steel frangipani petals on the ceiling add to the whole ‘you have arrived somewhere special’ vibe.

The wow moments keep on coming as I explore the hotel, from the Art Deco piano bar, the rooftop infinity pool, and the light filled rooftop bar and restaurant The Terrace with its retractable roof and 21st floor views over South Bank.

Even the lifts are fun to ride up and down as they come alive with images of tropical flowers, colourful fish, or my personal favourite because it’s just so twisted, a shark that swims under your feet before ramming one of the walls with its nose.

Read: The Best Places to Visit in Brisbane

Over lunch on The Terrace we had the chance to meet the General Manager of Emporium South Bank, Charles Martin, who started out as a concierge at the original Emporium Hotel. And that’s when I realised it was time to bring back one of my old segments, Ten Questions, where I ask interesting people I meet on my travels the same ten questions.

So thank you Charles for the inspiration, and over to you for Ten Questions…

Charles Martin, General Manager, Emporium Hotel, South Bank Brisbane

What’s the best thing about your job?

The variety. Every day has different challenges, guests, new clients or projects. It is a very fast paced environment in a ultra-competitive market and it is exciting leading the business to evolve with this.

If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?

Implementing unlimited budgets for events. Fireworks, florals, champagne towers, pyrotechnics, entertainment. There is nothing better than seeing a party full of people having the time of their life!

What’s something about your role that you wish people understood?

The role of a General Manager is first and foremost to be there for your team. The more support and resources I give to my team to be successful, the more successful the business and brand is.

What’s your favourite thing to do on your day off?

Go to the beach and try a new restaurant or bar. I always love checking out new places. Regardless of their product/service, you will be surprised what you can learn and implement back at Emporium Hotel South Bank.

What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends?

There is a butcher next to Emporium Hotel South Bank called The Pantry on Grey. They do these amazing gourmet whole pies, all you have to do is put them in the oven! A guilty pleasure if you’re out of ideas for dinner. 

If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner?

Lunch at Spilia, Mykonos. It is a phenomenal family owned restaurant built into a cave right on the water’s edge. Order the lobster pasta.

Where do you take a friend when they come to visit?

The Terrace at Emporium Hotel South Bank. Not to be biased, but the Hotel does have the best view in Brisbane, and the perfect place to watch the sun set with a couple of drinks. Between the backlit onyx floor, green walls, and retractable glass ceiling, it is the best rooftop destination in the country.

What’s the best shopping experience in town?

Mitchell Ogilvie menswear on Edward Street. I have had made to measure suits and shirts there since I left university and they are second to none.

Is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing?

I wouldn’t say it’s a cliché, but if you are in Brisbane I cannot recommend the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) more. They continuously have amazing exhibitions and the building itself is a wonder to be in.

Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself?

Yes! The Wheel of Brisbane. It is a large Ferris Wheel right near the Hotel in South Bank. I see it every day and have never gone for a ride.

Amanda met Charles Martin when she stayed as a guest of Emporium Hotels.

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