The Art-Inspired Hotel presenting both Luxury Rooms and Long-term Residences
Cloaked in tropical green panels on its exterior and a Daintree-inspired wall of greenery in its interiors, the Bailey is a striking build at 12-stories high. Situated in the heart of the Cairns cultural precinct, the building makes a subtle statement.
Designed by Queensland-based firm ThomsonAdsett, the Bailey especially has a focus on the arts, informed by its context situated in the Cairns art district.
A luxury hotel offering both rooms and apartments, there is a style of accommodation to suit both couples, groups and families. Their well-designed 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments celebrate longer-term stays, with kitchens, laundry rooms and walk-in wardrobes all part of the fittings. On each of the hotel’s 12 floors, guests will find various artworks by local and indigenous artists, such as the baby grand piano hand-painted by indigenous artist Natasha Davui.
A mix of locals and visitors is evident in and around the Bailey. With two restaurants – CC’s Bar and Grill and Pachamama – and a cafe – Milk Bar – on the ground floor, there are multiple reasons to visit the new building that recently opened this June.
Founded by Syrian entrepreneur and philanthropist Ghassan Aboud, the Bailey is part of the Crystalbrook Collections portfolio of hotels. First purchasing a cattle station 3km away from the city centre, Aboud saw a gap in the Cairns hospitality industry after multiple visits, and sought to fix it. Naming his new hotel group after the cattle station, Crystalbrook Collections was formed.
Highlighting the immense potential in Cairns, a tourist-heavy destination where visitors come to relax or explore its surrounding Great Barrier Reef or Tablelands, Aboud set out to redefine luxury hospitality in the city. Opening the first new 5-star hotel in 20 years, The Riley was born, followed by the Bailey and soon-to-be-opened Flynn hotel. Aboud’s Crystalbrook group aims to ensure each hotel operates sustainably and responsibly, with the Crystalbrook Collection embraces renewable energy throughout each of their hotels, extensively using solar power. Through their restaurants, they work with OZHarvest to collect unused food then distributed to parts of the community where it is most needed.
A large mural above the hotel lobby features a mosaic mural of a dugong, a pivotal species found in Tropical North Queensland. Surprisingly, it was made by 25 Syrian refugees in Turkey, commissioned by Aboud’s charity Orient for Human Relief.
More specifically, the mural is a homage to Dolly the Dugong, a personality in the area of Cairns who was rescued from netting and rehabilitated in the Cairns Aquarium. Connecting his heritage with the city, it’s wonderful to the crossing of cultures conveyed through craftsmanship and art.
A FOCUS ON THE ARTS
For the hotel’s opening, the hotel team worked with as many local artists as possible to bring the Bailey to life. Twenty-five different artists were involved in the first two weeks of Bailey’s arrival onto the Cairns hotel scene, encouraging an atmosphere of creativity and connectivity.
With dedicated spaces for art within its public areas available for new projects, the hotel is open to submissions and new commissions. With the Bailey’s quarterly art program they also aim to hold exhibitions to evening classes, poetry recitals and dance performances – all closely connected with the Cairns Regional Council’s programming and events.
Found in the heart of the Cairns cultural precinct, the Bailey is short walking distance from the Esplanade and Cairns city markets. The hotel remains at the centre of it all, surrounded by the newly-built Cairns Performing Arts Centre, the renowned Bulmba-ja arts centre and even the Cairns Aquarium.
A stones throw distance from the shopping district and marina, where some of the best seafood restaurants can be found, the Bailey has everything within a 1km radius.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Facing street level is CC’s Bar and Grill, an elevated steakhouse with a fine-dining edge. Open to all, the restaurant ensures its menu appeals to both locals and hotel guests, as explored in our feature on the restaurant here.
Also on street level is Milk Bar, the Bailey’s answer to a cafe serving artisanal coffee and a brilliant breakfast menu, whilst further up on the hotel’s 10th floor is Pachamama. A restaurant and bar celebrating its surroundings, guests can lounge by the pool enjoying a signature cocktail paired with the vibrant flavours on the Latin-inspired menu.
At night, open blinds silhouette the recognisable Bailey mesh facade projecting it into the rooms interiors. The perforated steel is an instantly recognisable trait on the exterior of the hotel, and also creates an interaction with the hotel interiors, designed by Cnrtl Space.
With 217 rooms and residences in total, the hotel has been cleverly designed to suit couple or groups. Each room contains an iPad where guests can control the rooms functions, with the tablet also including local guides and a compendium of the multiple films available to watch on each of the in-room tv’s. This is especially useful in the residences where the tv is found in the lounge room, available to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Complimentary water is provided in cardboard cartons instead of plastic bottles and Nespresso coffee is an in-room staple. Bathroom amenities are by Crystalbrook’s in-house brand, utilising native botanicals such a Davidson Plum and Rosella. They are supplied only in refillable containers to ensure single-use plastic waste is reduced. Pleasantly, room keycards are made from 100% recycled wood, and are extremely small and lightweight in the shape of a coin. In addition, when guests download the Crystalbrook app they also are able to store their room keycard digitally, making it even more convenient.
THE LAST WORD
The residences are a brilliant way to accommodate families or large groups. Able to enjoy all the benefits of the hotel, the Bailey is more of a boutique hotel than the resort-style The Riley, just a few streets away.
Highlights: The 24 hour gym is incredibly handy, and with two separate pools in the hotel, there is a lot to explore.
What They Can Do Better: With everything else on point, it was only the laundry amenities that were still made from single-use plastics. We’d love to see a refillable non-plastic option made with an Australian brand.
There have never been more reasons to visit the Tropical North, and now with Crystalbrook’s Bailey hotel open, the whole family can enjoy one of the most underrated cities in Australia, together.
163 Abbott St,
Images: Crystalbrook Collection and Champ Magazine
Words: Monique Kawecki
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