As destinations go, there are a handful of sunny states you can name off the bat: the golden state of California, land of the rising sun in the east and our own city of eternal summer in Singapore. You could probably get past 20 others before you list Brisbane as one of them. It’s a polarising place. On one hand, you have Australians from bustling neighbouring states calling it a quiet town. On the other, native Brisbanians (we’re making this a thing) either offended at or affectionately owning its ‘Brisvegas’ nickname.
So why the divide? Possibly because it is a sum of all those things. Serene city life ebbs along the river, flowing into untrammelled nightlife after hours. Case in point: what could easily be mistaken as a museum is in fact the second largest casino in the city. Into this eclectic mix is where W hotel has decided to dock, sprucely situated across Southbank.
It’s hard to maintain a mood stepping in. The vibrancy, foliage and amiable design effectively expel all repercussions of sleepless red-eyes and chronic resting bitch faces. You find your brows naturally rising at the giant, gleaming fruit and slipper (there’s no way we are calling footwear thongs) sculptures in the lobby. The eyes automatically light up in the reflective, Tokyo-neon elevator ride. By the time you arrive at your room, you’ve got a big fat smile on your face.
Needless to say, the view overlooking Southbank is stunning. Highways winding beside the river and the vast expanse of blue behind the Queensland skyline; it’s like having a rooftop panorama in every room. The day view is great, but it’s the sight past seven that took my breath away. With The Wheel of Brisbane, Victoria Bridge and Gallery of Modern Art a fluorescent display, it’s a view I recommend falling asleep to, if you can take the amount of sunlight flooding in the next morning.
The room is full of likeable whims: touch-sensitive bedside control panels, an outback-fashioned bathtub and a minibar that lives up to its name. Almost centrepiece to the space, the welcoming arrangement of liquors practically invites you to play bartender. But the clear winner would be the wardrobe. Forming a cylindrical cage, the wooden rods enclose your garments yet allows them to breathe. It’s a popular frame for the ’gram among guests, I’m told. If you have the privilege of staying in the Marvellous suite, it’s uncanny how easily you will picture having one of its many decorative artefacts in your own home. Thankfully, W The Store by Becker Minty at the lobby allows you to do just that.
Everything screams party here. It’s all so bright, so happy, so… young. This, coming from someone who has yet to hit the quarter lifespan. Some luxury hotels unintentionally fall into the stuffy category in an effort to uphold grandeur. Sure it’s exquisite, but it’s the type of place you would barely dare to shuffle if you were in a hurry. At W Brisbane, you could break into a dash and no one would blink twice.
If any part of the hotel best carries the youthful intention, it’s the pool at Wet® Deck, with graphic black and white zigzags across the ceiling and a resurgence of neon lining the sides. Submerge and be amazed when you realise the music you hear comes from the speakers inside the pool. Pro tip: swim purely backstroke so you get a continuous view of the art above while enjoying the tunes underwater.
After consecutive stints at farm-to-table restaurant Three Blue Ducks and the Living Room Bar, Away® Spa is a complementing treat. It’s commendable how the space keeps to theme while retaining a sense of tranquillity. Devoid of traditional Zen elements, amenities appear light and refreshing, from the calming steam room to the heated vitality pools (which could afford to be warmer than 37.5°C). After a good three hours, you will leave feeling your soul cleansed from its sins.
W hotel has always incorporated distinctive features of its location right down to the details. Hence the elements inspired by Aussie wildlife—the beetles, the birds, the timber rods mimicking river reeds—turn the hotel into a living, breathing entity. A stay at W Brisbane gives a fair indication of what makes the city what it is—unapologetically proud to be Brissy and proof that sunshine is more than just clear skies. It’s a state of mind.
To book your stay, call +61 7 3556 8888.