>  Destinations   >  Australia   >  W Brisbane review

Certain hotels feel like they have their own soundtrack or song and with the W Brisbane it would definitely be Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’. It perfectly suits the vibe of the place and its ultra-cool retro feel that’s part 1970s and also ultra-modern at the same time. Entering the ground floor foyer at W Brisbane is a Paddle Pop explosion of colour and a hint of what’s in store upstairs. The first bit of fun is in the reception area. Here you will find quirky art in the form of a big glittering thong (that’s a flip flop, not a sequinned g-string) and a shiny banana.

W Brisbane ground floor foyer
Ground floor foyer at W Brisbane

Check in is done at one of four reception consoles that resemble the transporter room control stations in an episode of Star Trek, although the staff are far more stylish. There’s a limit to how cool you can look in one of those Star Trek skivvies. We are greeted by a well-dressed hipster (sorry, gentleman with facial hair and style) and able to check in early which is a welcome bonus as we can’t wait to see our room. Also provided is a rundown on the hotel’s facilities and the in-room iPad for further information if required. Now we are ready for transport although sadly there is no ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ and we simply catch a lift to our room on the 29th floor.

Crocodiles on display
Neon crocodile in the corridor

Dim mood lighting and black ribbed wall panelling in the lift alcove resembles a spacecraft interior and creates a sense of mystery when the lift opens. We pass a neon crocodile and a Christmas beetle and backlit pink room numbers on the way to our room, ‘The Marvellous Suite’, which lives up to its name. The W Brisbane is made up of 312 rooms ranging from Spectacular to Wonderful, Cool, Wow,  Fantastic, Marvellous and finishing with Extreme Wow which is the Presidential Suite. Even the names of the rooms reflect the funky style of this hotel.

WOW Bedroom
Wow bedroom at W Brisbane

Do you follow us on Social Media?
Let’s connect on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook.

Entering our Marvellous Suite has us thinking we should be dressed in sequined jumpsuits, Hawaiian shirts or designer gear in the latest style. The words ‘bright’, ‘funky’ and ‘cool’ best describe the decor, colour scheme and design details which are so much fun we can’t help smiling. Rather than being ‘too much’, the wildly colourful look is whimsical and so different from the usual CBD hotel that we fall in love with it immediately.  From neon pineapples to the VJ panels on the walls, and the 44-gallon drum inspired bath, all the design elements blend to create a refreshing and genuinely unique decor that reflects the city and creates a sense of place. The fact it’s not corporate cookie-cutter grey, brown and cream like many other CBD hotels is a refreshing change and one that makes it perfect for a romantic escape.

WOW Lounge
Wow lounge room in a suite at W Brisbane

All of the rooms at the W Brisbane have the same styling and modern features and amenities that include plush beds and linens, a coffee pod machine and extensive mini-bar complete with neon pineapples. There are also lots of high tech features like the iPad standing in for an old-school paper compendium and to my delight a clock radio charging port (yes, I forgot my cables again). More nice features include a 4K TV with soundbar and electric blinds that open onto a fantastic view of the river and city. Bathing is a standout as along with the huge bath there is a rain shower with high-quality and generous bath products (you even get facial scrub) and excellent water pressure. Our Marvellous Suite has a double size shower for two with two powerful showerheads.

W Brisbane Marvelous Bathroom
W Brisbane bathroom

Exploring the hotel takes us to level three for lunch at W Brisbane’s signature restaurant Three Blue Ducks, an Asian fusion casual diner which originally hails from Byron Bay. The space itself is bright and airy with large bi-fold doors that open for extensive views of the river and the South Bank precinct. It’s a little toasty on this hot summer day but thankfully being locals we’re used to the heat. This space and restaurant is also the breakfast buffet spot but be warned at $42 it’s not a cheap eat. However, the food quality is superb and the price reflects the 5 star quality.  We loved the innovative Asian selection on the breakfast buffet and the staff who were proactive and friendly.  Barista coffee is also included at no extra charge. A good thing as the view makes it tempting to linger.

Tree Blue Ducks W Brisbane
Tree Blue Ducks at W Brisbane
Asian plates
Asian selection on the breakfast buffet at W Brisbane

Further exploring takes us past more quirky artwork and into the W Brisbane’s signature pool area and Wet Deck pool bar. Utilising the hotel’s position on the river, the Wet Deck bar is a hip and groovy hideout for stylish guests after cocktails and a view. The zebra striped pool is busy during our stay but a quick dip of my toe in the water has me wishing I bought a wetsuit. It is very, very chilly for a 30 degree plus afternoon, perhaps because the pool is in shade for most of the day. Other features of the hotel include the Away Spa for all your pampering needs and then some with multiple treatment rooms, vitality pools, relaxation pods, ‘His and Hers’ salt inhalation chambers and aromatherapy steam rooms. Then there’s the Edwards And Co. hair salon to complete your rejuvenation so you’re all set to strut your stuff at the Wet Deck bar.  

W Brisbane Pool
W Brisbane pool
Spa at W Brisbane
Vitality pools at W Brisbane

The Living Room Bar is located on the same level as reception. With live beats from W Brisbane’s Music Curator, this venue attracts everyone from serious cocktail connoisseurs to late-night revellers. Keep an eye out for collaborations with special guests like the expert mixologists from East London’s Oriole Bar who created a bespoke cocktail menu that offered an amazing (virtual) a trip around the globe. You’ll want to keep your phone handy so you can photograph your cocktail before you enjoy it at this trendy inner city drinking spot.

Living Room Bar
Living Room Bar
La Serena Sour cocktail at W Brisbane
La Serena Sour cocktail at W Brisbane

Chilling at this hotel and in particular the Marvellous suite is a dream, with the spectacular view of Brisbane from our window and chillout groove tracks on the soundbar. If only I had some Fleetwood Mac on my iPhone to match the hotel. Champagne in hand at sunset, we consider the room service menu from Three Blue Ducks and enjoy watching the lights twinkling across the river at us from South Bank. Overall the W Brisbane delivers and then some on its promise of a cool, hip and refreshingly different stay. As far as hitting the mark with quality, design and comfort, the W Brisbane has the sparkle of an ABBA costume, the tropical fun of a Hawaiian shirt, the classiness of James Bond, and the good time vibe you get staying with a trendy mate who knows how to have fun. 

Champagne Sunset in the Marvelous Suite
Champagne sunset in the Marvellous Suite

Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of W Brisbane and paid $200 to upgrade to the Marvellous Suite which lived up to its name. 

If you’re looking for accommodation in Brisbane, we have reviewed the Treasury Hotel, The Calile, Ovolo The Valley, W Brisbane, Capri by Fraser Brisbane, Hilton Brisbane, The Johnson, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Sage Hotel James Street, The Westin Brisbane, Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites, Royal on the Park, Ibis Styles Elizabeth Street, Sofitel Brisbane, Crystalbrook Vincent, The Inchcolm by Ovolo, Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments, and Pullman Brisbane Airport.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase we will earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Please click here to view our disclosure policy.

Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.