a guide

EDITION TWO | JAMES ST | A conversation with Michael and Cal Malouf

The highly anticipated second edition of the James St Guide is now available – get your hands on a copy before it’s too late!

James St’s second published guidebook, created for locals and visitors alike, features a carefully curated summary of the boutiques, galleries, eateries and laneways to be discovered in the sub-tropical urban oasis that is James St.

Editorial in style, the book is divided into five dedicated categories including: New Stories; Lifestyle + Design; Fashion; Health + Beauty and of course Food. Introductions to the diverse retailers in each category sit alongside original images that invite you to view James St with a fresh perspective.

There are four New Stories – one of which features a conversation with Michael and Cal Malouf aka two Placemakers of the precinct. View the full conversation below:



Since opening the James St Market in 2002, brothers Michael and Cal Malouf have been a vital part of James Street’s evolution. For their next project, they are set to open The Calile – an urban resort named in honour of their family’s legacy.

You have played a key role in shaping James Street; what was your initial vision for the precinct?

Our involvement with James Street commenced in 2000, when we were scouting for a suitable site to develop a food-centric retail centre in Brisbane. Our vision was to assemble a collective of Brisbane’s best specialty food purveyors in a market-style retail forum. James Street, with large tracts of undeveloped land on the northern fringe of the city, seemed like the logical place and the James St Market opened in December 2002.

What elements does a precinct need to thrive?

Successful retail high streets around the globe share many common elements. Some are fundamental physical attributes, for example, a relatively flat east-west street helps (ideally tree lined), as well as wide footpaths and neighbourhood two-way traffic with parallel parking.

Other important ingredients include a fine-grain retail format with varied pedestrian connections and of course an interesting and appealing retail mix of fashion, wellness, furniture, art, home, design, cinemas, coffee and food. Fortunately, James Street ticks all of these boxes.

What key factors influenced your decision to develop an urban resort on James Street?

A quality hotel for James Street seemed to be a logical addition to the precinct. Hotels attract new and interesting visitors that help stimulate and invigorate the precinct, especially after dark. Our vision wasn’t for a dark and moody hotel experience where guests are housed in an air-conditioned bubble. We wanted to immerse travellers in Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate, so we chose to develop a resort-style hotel in an urban context – something unique and hopefully memorable for our guests.

The name, The Calile (pronounced kal-isle) is tied to your family and heritage. Can you explain its story?

In 1892 our great-grandfather Calile Malouf landed in Australia and since that time the name Calile has been extensively adopted by our family. In homage to our great-grandfather, we hope The Calile will become an enduring piece of Brisbane’s social fabric.

As one of the original James Street placemakers, how do you think The Calile will evolve the way visitors experience the precinct?

We hope it will provide more facilities to James Street, for both locals and travellers to enjoy. The hotel brings with it a range of food and beverage options, including a spectacular poolside restaurant and an elegant lobby bar. Hotels are great social hubs and the best hotels provide special spaces where visitors and locals can interact in a fun, social setting.

How has our sub-tropical climate informed the design and vision of The Calile?

Together with Richards and Spence architects, we have strived to embrace Brisbane’s warm and sunny climate. We’d prefer our guests to immerse themselves in Brisbane’s amazing weather – a lunch in a poolside cabana for instance will be far more memorable than a meal in an air-conditioned box elsewhere in the city.

A hotel should provide a ‘home away from home’, as they say; are there any special features that will help travellers feel at home and relaxed?

We hope to make The Calile hotel experience a relaxed and enjoyable one. We want to get the little things right. For instance, complete block-out blinds will assist guests in enjoying that rare sleep-in, or making sure there is room to land two large suitcases. Most rooms don’t cater for this, so guests are tripping over the second suitcase for the duration of their stay.

The Calile is also a destination for locals, with multiple new retailers and venues opening. Who can we expect to see joining James Street?

The ground level will see the addition of many exciting fashion labels and we’re proud to have several leading fashion icons opening flagship boutiques for Brisbane. The pool deck on Level 1 will welcome an iconic poolside restaurant, together with a wellness spa and fitness centre. We’re also pretty excited about the additional 230 basement car parks.

Do you have any memorable travel experiences that have shaped the evolution of The Calile?

Some years ago a good friend opened The Setai hotel in South Beach, Miami. The South Beach scene was an eye-opener – the best bars and restaurants were all in hotels and many of the really great bars were adjacent to the hotel pool. The crowd was an eclectic mix of locals and visitors, elevating a simple night out to something really fun and special. Hotels have great facilities and it only seems logical for them to be enjoyed by a larger audience.



Posted on

April 4, 2018