At this eye-popping, madcap hotel in central Brisbane, there are enough tropical fruit motifs to choke a skyscraper-sized NutriBullet. And if decorative pineapple and melon shapes don’t spritz your senses, you may need to check out the bold black and white geometric amazery wrapping the hotel’s pool area or the pop-art budgie wallpaper lining some of the hotel’s walls. Officially, the establishment has been inspired by the Brisbane River meandering below (a timber staircase evoking river reeds welcomes you to the lobby) but the design team has had fun with so much more of Queensland’s bold, kaleidoscopic palette.
For some time now Brisbane’s river life has been all about Southbank with its beach and bars, bikeways and back lanes but The W – a 20-minute cab ride from Brisbane airport – overshadows that precinct from a commanding position at North Quay, a short walk across any of the bridges spanning the ambling khaki waterway. The river’s busy toing and froing is an enthralling sight by day, while glittering Southbank and the whirling Wheel of Brisbane light up the night. Immediately behind you is Brisbane’s booming CBD with its shopping and nightlife.
The W's 312 rooms are each a quirky collage of colour and comfort. The largest – the Extreme Wow Suite – rolls out at 200 square metres, the smallest (a Wonderful room) is 40 square metres. Somewhere in between is the 80-square-metre Fantastic Suite, which is configured across two sweeping spaces, one featuring faux-modernist sofas and your very own cocktail bar, the other starring W’s sprawling, irresistible King bed. Centrally controlled curtains open onto a vast southbound outlook across the river. The epic Queensland sunsets over on the right are free of charge. One generous white-panelled bathroom, with its toasty metal tub, partitioned double shower and toilet is augmented by a separate WC. Brightly coloured cushions pepper the space and maintain the W’s focus on fun.
Food and drink
Born in Sydney’s beachside Bronte and expanding up the coast to Byron Bay, Three Blue Ducks (pictured above) has waddled into Brisbane with its wildly successful recipe of delicious harvest-fresh, ethically sourced food. Breakfast by the river as Brisbane comes to life is a treat. Try the homemade vegemite (yep) on hot buttered sourdough. At lunch or dinner put the cavernous wood-fired oven to the test. The lamb shoulder and fresh local seafood are features. For a pre- or post-dinner drink, choose between Living Room Bar or poolside Wet Deck rooftop bar, depending on your suit or your swimmers.
For business travellers
W’s business centre is fully loaded with internet, copy, fax, printing, delivery and secretarial services. There’s a fully fledged Australian quarter acre of meeting rooms including the pillarless but divisible Great Room (595sqm) through to a suite of business studios and strategy rooms with views of the river if the PowerPoint presentation gets dull.
For wellness travellers
W’s Away Spa is a soothing site in itself with its Guggenheim curves and rolling inviting surfaces. It’s at once striking and intimate. The wave bed in an Away Spa Relax station (pictured above) is enough to have you flopping into a stressless heap. There are six treatment rooms and a bulging menu of treatments. The spa pools, which bubble in what feels like a subterranean space in a Bond film, are something else.
The fab factor
Slipping onto a sun lounge by the dazzling pool and sipping on a cocktail from the Wet Deck bar.
Best for: Business and leisure travellers looking for CBD digs
Number of rooms: 312
Rates: From AU$350
Wi-fi: CISCO Wi-Fi network supporting speeds of 200Mbps+
Parking: Valet parking is available for a $58 per night
Address: 81 North Quay Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Phone: +61 7 3556 8888