1. A new kind of lodging
Brisbane has been busy talking up its status as an international destination, but the arrival of the big, bold W brand last June was a sign the rest of the world was actually paying attention. The city’s first five-star hotel in 20 years has been a game-changer for the local industry, boasting a giddy glamour not seen before in the Queensland capital.
The entire property is a Swiss-precise exercise in heightening the senses. Interior designer Nic Graham carefully themed the hotel around the idea of “A River Dreaming”, tapping into the waterside location with reed-like timber fittings, a neon-lit elevator, reflective walls, iridescent lighting and rich-patterned carpets. It’s a hotel you’ll want to explore, driven along by the propulsive dance music that flows through the public areas.
2. Party supplies
This carefully themed approach to design continues in the rooms, which are bedecked with birdcage-like wardrobes, outback-style bathtubs and white VJ (vertical-joint wood panelling) board walls that are inspired by the same style found in traditional “Queenslander” bungalows.
Every room boasts views of the Brisbane River, and the city’s cultural precinct and South Bank Parklands beyond. Thirstier eyes, though, will settle on the turquoise-hued Mix Bar, which comes with enough generously proportioned bottles of booze to prop up any respectable pre-party. Also helping you get in the mood are pre-set lighting options, GHD hairdryers, Bowers & Wilkins Bluetooth sound systems and 55-inch LED televisions.
3. A Sydney icon comes to town
Local gourmets were perhaps just as excited about the opening of W Brisbane’s on-site restaurant, Three Blue Ducks. This enormously popular Sydney import peddles paddock-to-plate-style dishes – think wood-fired lamb shoulder or char-grilled king prawns – designed for sharing in a bright, airy third-floor dining room. Dinner here is an essential component of any stay.
4. Thirsty work
There are two bars in the hotel. It’s easy to be waylaid at Living Room in the foyer with its acres of marble and glass, but it’s the level four Wet Deck poolside bar where the good times are turned up to stun. Friendly, polished barkeeps shake cocktails on an alfresco balcony overlooking the river and the pool’s striking optical-art-style paintwork is perfect for the Instagram crowd. DJs play in both bars most nights of the week.
5. Location, location, location
Despite all the eye-popping incentives to stay in, one of W Brisbane’s greatest assets is its position on the city fringe. A huge range of bars and restaurants is just outside the door, while the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and iconic Gallery of Modern Art are a short walk across the river. Even within the hotel’s own complex there’s plenty to see – Italian restaurant Persone and superstar chef Manjunath Mural’s Heritij are both downstairs.
This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine