Meet Jen: The New Name On Brisbane's Hotel Scene

18 February 2015

Jen is discerning, but she isn't fussy. She's all about honest service and appreciates thoughtful details, like complimentary coffee pods and healthy breakfast options. She watches her figure, but still loves to indulge. She's a bit of a style fiend, especially when it comes to what's on her plate.

Jen is the new lady on the block on Brisbane's Roma Street, but this 4.5-star hotel didn't spring up overnight. What was formerly the Traders Hotel nudging up against the Brisbane Transit Centre has been reborn as the Shangri-La's very first Hotel Jen – one of nine Jens across the Asia Pacific.

 The new-look Hotel Jen

Late last year it was announced Shangri-La's Traders Hotels would be rebranded at Hotel Jen, creating a niche that appeals to travellers with a Millennial mindset. The hotel's identity is based on a persona who "loves life, travel and the adventure of discovering new places."

Part of their plan to "keep things relevant" includes a complimentary drink on arrival, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, an organic rooftop garden and the shiny new stand-alone NEST restaurant.

 The luxe NEST restaurant

The 119 rooms were refreshed two years ago when Shangri-La originally took over the premises. According to Andy McCutcheon, Shangri-La's director of sales and marketing, the floor space is a rare delight. Being originally built in the 1980s means the rooms have plenty of space to play with. Probably more than you'll need!

When she's feeling 'Jenerous', guests will be bumped up to the next room class if there is the availability to do so. Rooms start from roughly $152 per night.

 Hotel Jen's arty breakfast nook

Stay & play like Tay-Tay

When Taylor Swift comes to town in December, sources say her posse will be bunking down at Hotel Jen. Unfortunately, T-Swizzle herself won't be in residence, but this could be your best chance to get in good with Tay's inner circle (or hard-working sound techs at the very least).

Excluding the boutique Gambaro Hotel on Caxton Street, Jen is the closest hotel to Suncorp Stadium, making it an ideal stay if you're in town to catch a Broncos, Reds or Roar game, or a mega concert like Ms Swift's 1989 tour. Stay at Jen and you're also only five minutes' walk to King George Square and the Queen Street Mall.

 An Executive King room at Hotel Jen

Room styles range from a Deluxe Room or Executive Room to a One-Bedroom Suite, all dressed in a palate of bright whites, olive green and slate grey.

You don't have to wander into the CBD if you've got the munchies – snacks in the lobby's customised vending machines are cheaper than the 7-Eleven across the road (a point Andy was keen to emphasise).


Staying at the Golide? We think QT might just be the coolest hotel on the Gold Coast

Going for more of an upmarket stay? The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites Opens in Brisbane

What else is new in Brisbane, you ask? Check out these 7 snooze-worthy hotels


If your snacking resistance game is strong, you might be interested in Jen's fitness bootcamps on Wednesday mornings – open to all fitness fanatics, not just hotel guests! Hear that, Brisbane fit chicks?

An easy 15 bucks will see you kicking butt in the Roma Street Parklands, followed by a healthy brekkie of fresh fruit, bircher muesli, eggs benedict with avocado, fruit toast and fresh fruit juice shots. There's also a running map in your room for the extra energetic.

 The warm interiors of NEST Restaurant + Bar

Their Kitchen Rules

Onsite Asian Fusion NEST restaurant has been ruffling feathers on Brisbane's food scene – in a good way, of course. This pocket of town has never been known as much of a dining destination, until NEST launched in January.

With a sleek, modern fit-out, graffiti murals and interior decor that masquerades as art installation, the spot is divided into sit-down tables for sharing dumplings and duck salad, cosy nooks perfect for slurping noodles or grabbing a quick breakfast, and a spacious bar area serviced by expert 'mixologists' from 11am 'til late.

 Sit back with an expertly-mixed cocktail

While you barely have to lift a finger at NEST restaurant, some may prefer to get a little more hands-on at the hotel's celebrity cooking school.

My Kitchen Rules 2014 grand finalists Chloe and Kelly are 'Cooking Up a Storm' each month at Hotel Jen, showcasing their signature style for sustainable foods and nose-to-tail eating.

Limited to just 50 people per class, the event includes champagne on arrival, a meet and greet with the girls, one and a half hour cooking class and three-course dinner party. The next installment will be held on February 26, 27, 28.

 Worker bees keeping buzzy on the rooftop

Never mind Limes – Andy says Hotel Jen has the biggest social rooftop space in Brisbane. The Sky Garden on Level 6 is still being pruned.

The space was previously reserved for the organic herb and veggie garden and bees – yes, bees – that produce around 100 kilos of the golden nectar each week. The busy workers are being relocated to Level 5.

Being so close to the Roma Street Parklands gives the honey a unique complexity, which is highlighted by NEST's signature cocktail: a sweet, seductive Honey Collins.

 The lantern tree outside NEST Restaurant

.........................................................................................................................................................

Fast Facts on Hotel Jen

159 Roma Street, Brisbane QLD
.........................................................................................................................................................

  • 24-hour room service
  • Asian fusion restaurant and bar
  • Business kiosk + 7 meeting rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Part of the Shangri-La rewards program
  • Adjacent to Brisbane bus and train centre
  • Wednesday fitness bootcamp + breakfast
  • Monthly celebrity cooking classes

Ashton Rigg

When I'm not at home in Brisbane, you’ll find me wanderlusting around hipster bars, eclectic boutiques and arty nooks. From bagels in Brooklyn to strudel in Salzburg, I believe the best way to experience a destination is by taking a bite! Tweets & 'grams at @AshtonRigg