Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published July 24th 2019
Is this the new face of Brisbane?
Staying in a hotel should be more than finding a place to sleep. A really good hotel transports you from your everyday existence to somewhere special. That is why I love art hotels. You are sleeping inside a dedicated artwork. Inside the mind of an artist. Perhaps you are even touched by a few whispered brush strokes of creativity.
So, a recent trip to Brisbane TRYP Hotel in Fortitude Valley took my fancy as a place to lay my head and dream. Although it sounded more exciting than peaceful as it is advertised thus: 'TRYP syncs you up to the pulse of the city – a sleek hotel in Fortitude Valley with an edge in urban design. Step into a realm of playful contrasts with floors featuring works by world-acclaimed street artists.'
Street art is something we usually associate with Melbourne laneways but there is plenty in Brisbane as Jane Wong unearthed in her excellent article here Quite a bit of Brisbane's street art is in Fortitude Valley which is where TRYP is located.
The building that now houses TRYP had previously been vacant for many years. So you guessed it. The street artists moved in with spray cans, paints and attitude. The building became their canvas. Even the lift wells! The sheer daring, ingenuity and dexterity of painting in a such a dangerous space astounded me.
Clear doors on lift show off urban artwork Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt
When the derelict building was being transported into a hotel the owners had a brilliant idea. They would leave the history of the 150-year-old building as intact as possible. The premises were originally home to a mysterious society, the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. It sounds a bit like Royal Order of Water Buffalo that Fred and Barney belonged to in the Flinstones . You may have seen photos of them in their buffalo horned hats. So perhaps there was a send-up going on in that TV show. A plaque and buffalo head remains in the building to remind visitors of this society.
In terms of more contemporary history, they left the street art from the period when the building was derelict. As you probably know the unwritten rule of street art is that you must never paint over anything that is better than your work and so only the best street art survives. TRYP owners even invited some of the street artists (a number who have since become quite famous) back to decorate a floor each. So when you stay here. you can choose your floor by the artist who most appeals to you.
The work of Rone a Victorian street artist graces level one.
The thread in Rone's work is the friction point between beauty and decay. So you get these stunning almost ethereal female faces but he paints these on old buildings with peeling and crumbling walls. He recently painted out Burnham Beeches, an iconic Art Moderne mansion and estate located in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. For more on that event click here.
Level 2 features work be Mageea a Lismore-born, but Brisbane-raised artist whose work now appears in just about every Australian city. His early work was heavily influenced by more traditional graffiti, but he now paints murals where strange people wear masks and play dangerous games. Some of his themes are quite nightmarish but as I was on this floor, I can attest to the fact that I just found them fanciful and fun and they didn't disturb my sleep.
I thought it was fun rather than nightmarish - photo @nadinecresswellmyatt
Level 3 has been decked out by Beastman. He is heavily influenced by the biodiversity, symbolism and design aesthetics behind nature's repetitive geometric growth patterns and organic landscapes. He has exhibited around the world. Some of his pieces were recently acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, showing how street art is on the up and up.
On Level 4, you'll find walls decked out by Numskull. Elliott Routledge hails from Sydney but like the others, his work can now be found around the world. His creations feature expressive mark-making, abstract form and word-based art.
Other artists involved include Bao Ho, another world travelling street artist who has worked on projects in Switzerland, UK, France, Taiwan, Mainland China, Japan, Indonesia, Italy and Czech Republic. And Gris One, who is based in Bogotá, Colombia.
So I was looking forward to this stay. And it did not disappoint. If you are interested in art and history, I think you will also enjoy this non-standard hotel stay. It's a boutique hotel with a small foyer and a glass lift, so you can see the art in the stairwell. Better still, take the stairs so you can truly explore all the walls and the murals on each level.
On one floor, there's a quirky library.
They have a library which would be great for meetings. Photo Facebook Tryph
Beds are incredibly comfortable and haloed with seductive blue lighting that you can turn off before you sleep. TRYP offers modern bathrooms with great showers and colourful washbasins that add that splash of artistic verve.
Looks like my top matches the basin with its loud colours. Perhaps it is time to get changed. Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt
I was in a standard room but there are more expensive options such as the rooms down below that open onto courtyards with even more street art to look at. David on the front desk was particularly helpful by helping me out with my Melbourne coffee addiction and suggested I try Bellissimo.
While I thought Melbourne had great coffee, this place houses the highest awarded coffee roasters in Australia. I was there early and seated, but by the time I left, the line for takeaway coffees was snaking out the door and down the street.
I'd read that TRYP had a rooftop bar and had arranged for two local friends to come over and meet me for a drink. But the bar wasn't open.
However, as it is a vibrant area I was able to take them to a sensational rooftop bar a few doors down. Eleven Roof Top Bar (another TRYP staff recommendation) had amazing views over the distant freeway and the Story Bridge, which at night is adorned by necklace rows of turquoise coloured lights.
TRYP is in Fortitude Valley, which is an interesting and lively part of town. Lots of restaurants and cafes. Slightly raggedy around the edges but if it was too gentrified, you wouldn't get great street art now would you? Staying at the hotel felt secure. You had to use your swipe card to use the lift, then to access the door leading to your corridor and finally, you used it to enter your room. No one could enter from the street without being a guest.
Transport to what the locals call the Valley is easy with lots of buses and the Fortitude Valley Railway Station is nearby. And if you happen to be going further up north, you can catch the train that goes up past the Glass House Mountains. A scenic journey.
Worth looking out every window. You never know what you will see. I found the stairway to heaven from a window on the landing. Photo @nadinecresswell-myatt
This is how I got to Caloundra , the next leg of my trip. So all told, this hotel is great. There is just one small issue that you may want to check on. As TRYP has tenants to run their cafe and rooftop bar, these spaces can sometimes be out of action which is what I encountered on my visit.
But apparently, the rooftop bar is opening again soon. And it is not as if I missed out on my coffee or a great rooftop bar experience. Both came courtesy of great staff suggestions.
For a list of other urban art hotels worldwide click here. There aren't that many and the bulks are in Australia. Click here.