by Yvonne Gardiner
LEAVING the car safely stowed away for two days while we explored the delights of central Brisbane was an appealing suggestion.
My travelling companion and I had a reunion to attend at South Bank, so it was a great opportunity to rediscover the city.
Staying at central city accommodation like the Oaks Charlotte Towers, on handy Charlotte St, was the perfect choice.
As sedentary workers tied to computers most of the time, we looked forward to a few long strolls.
The car sat in secure, underground parking beneath the 44-storey Oaks hotel.
There was so much to see and do within a 20-minute walk away from the hotel.
Just minutes away is the Queen St Mall, Myer Centre and all the attractions of a glittering city. If shopping's your thing, expect to be spoilt for choice.
A pleasant walk across the William Jolly Bridge opens up the delights of the Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery beside the Brisbane River.
Brisbane's old Botanic Gardens, an oasis of calm and tranquillity in a bustling city, are also a short walk away from The Oaks on Charlotte St.
We stopped for a snack at the gardens café, to reminisce about our first date there 23 years ago. Among the cool greenery, it's a perfect place to sit, eat and relax.
Eagle St Pier, with its many restaurants, bars and casual eateries, is also a fine location to enjoy the city's best views of the Story Bridge.
Treasury Casino is an entertainment mecca if you want to try your luck, or just bask in the magnificence of this sumptuous, heritage building.
We were in Brisbane for two very hot days in December, so the outdoor plunge pool at the Oaks Charlotte Towers was a big attraction ... not just once.
Right next to the pool is an appealing sundeck area complete with barbecue facilities - a perfect, secluded area for a social gathering.
My travelling companion, being a keen swimmer, took advantage of the gleaming 25-metre heated indoor lap pool next to the gym, and followed up the dip with a lounge in the sauna.
Whenever we spent time in our one-bedroom executive apartment, we couldn't help but admire the view from the 42nd floor.
Some of the time, we could see as far as the Glass House Mountains in the distance.
Bigger, two-bedroom apartments are also available for families or a few friends.
Guests at the Oaks looked to be of all ages - youngsters there for birthday parties, families sightseeing in the city, seniors like us attending celebrations of all kinds...
Convenience to the city shops and attractions, plus pleasing attention from the hotel staff that makes a guest feel very welcome, puts ticks on the approval rating.
While the units are fitted out with everything necessary for a comfortable stay - kitchens and laundries included - a well-stocked, upmarket cafe next to the hotel is open most hours of the day.
Brisbane is a place you can return to time after time, because there's always the latest show, a new exhibition, markets, entertainment, parks, river walks and endless attractions.
Reservations for Oaks Charlotte Towers, 128 Charlotte St, Brisbane, can be made by calling 1300 663 477, or on the website www.oakshotels.com/en/.
Check out the special offers, early check-in and late check-out rates.
Oaks Hotels and Resorts are situated in 56 locations across Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
The writer was a guest of the Oaks Charlotte Towers.