Review: W Brisbane

Room Type
Fantastic Suite
Elite Status
Marriott Platinum
November 2022

During a trip to Australia, I bookmarked a few nights in Brisbane after enjoying my previous stays in the city. As I was planning out the trip, I was pleased to find a number of compelling hotel options for redeeming points.

The property that most caught my eye was the W Brisbane, which also appeared to have solid reviews across a number of platforms. Admittedly, I’d never had an extraordinary experience at a W property before, despite many of my friends and colleagues reporting otherwise.

I decided to check out the W Brisbane with the hopes that my fortunes would change with the brand. As I’d soon find out, one stay can make a world of difference, especially when there are multiple “wow” factors at play.

In This Post

W Brisbane – Booking

Leading up to my trip to Australia, I combed through availability at a number of hotels. Much to my delight, the reward pricing at the W Brisbane tends to fall consistently between 30,000–40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night throughout the year.

When I compared the award prices to cash rates, it made for an even more compelling argument to book with points. Cash rates tend to fall between $400–500 AUD ($370–460 CAD) per night on the lower end, and upwards of $600 AUD ($551 CAD) per night during busier times.

Despite the favourable exchange rate, we decided to redeem 40,000 Bonvoy points for our stay. While we netted decent value when considering our valuation of Bonvoy points, I was also glad to see consistent award pricing throughout the year, where you won’t find many nights priced at more than 40,000 points.

There is also a strong argument to be made for using a Free Night Award for a stay at the W Brisbane. This effectively lowers the nightly cost to whatever the annual fee is on the credit card from which you earned the certificate.

If you’re looking for a cash rate at the W Brisbane, be sure to get in touch with an authorized travel advisor with access to Marriott Luminous, a preferred partner program that the W Brisbane participates in. You’ll pay the same as the best available flexible rate, but you’ll benefit from a number of extra perks, including a $100 USD property credit, free breakfast for two, a room upgrade (subject to availability), and more.

W Brisbane – Location

The W Brisbane is centrally located along the banks of the Brisbane River in the city’s Central Business District. 

You won’t be far from many of Brisbane’s highlights, which you can access by foot, public transportation, or even ferries that run along the river.

Enjoy an evening stroll watching bats and birds frolic in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, less than 20 minutes away by foot. 

Just across the river is the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Centre for the Performing Arts, which are situated close to Streets Beach for a quick dip in the river.

If you’re in the mood for some shopping, head over to Queen Street Mall, just steps from the hotel, and then make your way up Elizabeth Street to eat at one of the many eateries that line the street.

Brisbane Central Train Station is less than 10 minutes by foot or a very short car ride away, and from there, you can get to the airport in less than 30 minutes. Alternatively, going to the airport by vehicle should take around 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

The nearest river ferry dock to the hotel is North Quay, and getting around the city using ferries can be a fun and convenient way to explore Brisbane.

W Brisbane – Check-in

We arrived at the hotel in the mid-afternoon, after a leisurely train ride up from the JW Marriott Gold Coast. The hotel stands out amongst the other residential and office buildings in the area, and is easy to spot with the large W guiding you in from different parts of the city.

W Brisbane – Exterior
W Brisbane – Exterior

The hotel opened in 2018, but has effectively only been fully operational for two years due to the pandemic and still has that “new hotel” smell. The W Brisbane sits atop a complex of restaurants, and has residential buildings as its neighbours.

There are two entrances to the hotel, with the main vehicle entrance accessed close to the river and an alternative entrance via a concourse off of George Street. Arriving at the hotel through the vehicle entrance will lead you up a curved staircase to the check-in area.

W Brisbane – Vehicle entrance

There happened to be a lot of construction happening by the river during our stay, so we made our way through the concourse to find the hotel. It wasn’t at all difficult to spot, with one of the hotel’s many glowing Ws easily visible from the street. 

W Brisbane – Concourse access
W Brisbane – Concourse access
W Brisbane – Concourse entrance

The concourse entrance leads into The Living Room, the W brand’s term for the lobby lounge. To the right of the entrance is a large, comfortable seating area and some barstools, while the Living Room Bar is just to the left of the entrance.

W Brisbane – The Living Room
W Brisbane – The Living Room
W Brisbane – The Living Room seating

We made our way past a colourful mirror on the wall and through to the check-in desks, where we were warmly welcomed by the associates. In the check-in area, you’ll also find a few seating nooks, with plenty of flowing reed-shaped fixtures that pay homage to Brisbane River lining the area.

W Brisbane – Colourful mirror
W Brisbane – Check-in area seating
W Brisbane – Check-in desks

While I had originally booked into a base-level Wonderful Room, I was able to confirm an upgrade to a Fantastic Suite five days prior to arrival using a Suite Night Award. Fantastic Suites are the highest suite type to which it’s possible to upgrade, and only the WOW and Extreme WOW Suites are above it. 

After confirming the details of my stay and acknowledging the benefits I’d enjoy as a Marriott Platinum member, we were invited up to the WET Deck bar to enjoy a complimentary cocktail while staff put the finishing touches on our room.

W Brisbane – Cocktails at WET Deck

We enjoyed a drink on the balcony overlooking the Brisbane River, and wound up chatting with the Director of Guest Experience for W Hotels worldwide. As soon as our room was ready, our keys were delivered and we headed up to the 29th floor, cocktails in hand, already enjoying every part of what the W Brisbane brought to the table.

W Brisbane – Elevators
W Brisbane – Hallway detail
W Brisbane – Hallway

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite

Perhaps it was a little buzz coming from the cocktail, but as I swung the door to our suite open, I couldn’t help but grin ear-to-ear as I took stock of the surroundings.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite living room overview

In the foyer of the suite is a small two-piece bathroom, with a barrel-shaped sink underneath a circular mirror and a toilet tucked against the wall.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite secondary bathroom
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite secondary bathroom

The room then opens up into a very spacious living room, complete with a fully stocked bar, desk, and roomy sitting area. 

The bar area sits underneath birdcage lights, and was stocked with more than enough libations to host an epic evening soirée in the room. Keep an eye out for the white knob on the mini-fridge, which is shaped like a post-war era refrigerator.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bar
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bar selection
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite mini-fridge

To the left of the bar area is a desk with a comfortable vintage chair. The room’s Breville Nespresso coffee maker and a selection of teas can be found on the left part of the desk.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite desk
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite coffee maker

The living room features two couches and a wicker chair, with a boomerang-shaped wooden accent table floating overtop a jet black coffee table. The flat-screen TV is mounted to the wall that separates the living room from the bedroom.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite living room
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite living room
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite living room

I was pleased to find another cocktail, olives, ice, and some welcome notes waiting for us in the living room when we returned from dinner on the night of our stay.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite welcome cocktail

The oversized wooden door between the bedroom and the living room can be slid shut. This came in handy when I was up early to get some work done while my wife hit the snooze button a few extra times.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bedroom door

The centrepiece of the bedroom is a comfortable king bed, with pops of colour coming from bird-themed pillows. Pendant lights dangle from the ceiling on either side, with electronic controls resting on the bedside tables.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bedroom
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bedroom
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bed

There’s another sitting area in the corner of the room, with a cream couch, mustard yellow chair, and another boomerang table close to the windows looking out over the Brisbane River and the city’s environs.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bedroom lounge area
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite view

An open wardrobe sits against the wall that separates the bathroom from the bedroom. The hotel’s reeds make another appearance here, with a circular closet on either side of the doorway to the bathroom that’s home to the extra bathrobe. 

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite wardrobe
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bathroom entrance

The main bathroom certainly takes up a large portion of the room’s 80 square metres.

Upon entering, you’ll notice a trough-shaped bathtub with a wooden plank set against one end for comfort, as well as a perfectly placed TV on the opposite wall. The bathtub was surprisingly comfortable, and I enjoyed watching part of a cricket match here on the afternoon of our departure.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite bathtub

Two sinks flank a large circular mirror to form the vanity, matching the colours and shapes found in other parts of the suite.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite main bathroom vanity
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite main bathroom vanity
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite main bathroom decorations

A single sliding door can be moved between the toilet room and the dual shower room. Having a door here seems a bit cheeky, as the clear glass doesn’t really provide any vestige of privacy.

W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite shower & toilet area
W Brisbane – Fantastic Suite dual shower

As I was working away at the desk, I noticed that the room has Bluetooth speakers that play throughout the entire suite. If you’re looking to have a few friends over during your stay at the W Brisbane, be sure to check it out.

W Brisbane – Wonderful Room

I had the opportunity to take a peek at a few other room types during my stay at the W Brisbane. The Wonderful Room is a base-level room into which we had originally booked.

The rooms feature many of the same elements as what we found in the Fantastic Suite, albeit packed into exactly half of the space. 

W Brisbane – Wonderful Room overview
W Brisbane – Wonderful Room overview
W Brisbane – Wonderful Room overview

Every room at the W Brisbane features a bathtub, which was tucked against the wall in the bathroom in the Wonderful Room. There was just a single sink and one shower head here, and while it had noticeably less room than the massive bathroom area in our suite, it didn’t feel too cramped.

W Brisbane – Wonderful Room bathroom
W Brisbane – Wonderful Room bathroom

W Brisbane – Marvellous Suite

The Marvellous Suite’s layout is exactly the same as the Fantastic Suite. The only difference is that Fantastic Suites occupy higher floors in the hotel, so the views are a bit different.

W Brisbane – Marvellous Suite living room
W Brisbane – Marvellous Suite living room
W Brisbane – Marvellous Suite view

If you’re unable to score an upgrade to a Fantastic Suite, be sure to aim for a Marvellous Suite instead. You’ll essentially get the same room with a slightly less expansive view. 

W Brisbane – Marvellous Suite bedroom
W Brisbane – Marvellous Suite bathroom

Overall, I was very impressed with the layout and design of the rooms, which I found to be as fun as they were classy. I particularly appreciated the bathrooms and the functional layout in the living room, which allowed for work and socializing. 

If you can manage to score a suite, you’ll have more space than you’ll probably need, which is a nice problem to have when you’re staying at a luxury hotel. Even the base-level rooms felt spacious, and you’ll still get many of the same features found in the suites.

W Brisbane – Breakfast

Breakfast is served in Three Blue Ducks on the third floor of the hotel from 6:30–10am on weekdays and from 7–10:30am on weekends. The restaurant has a handful of other destinations throughout Australia, and serves up paddock-to-table cuisine that highlights ingredients from the surrounding area. 

W Brisbane – Three Blue Ducks entrance

Light pours into the restaurant through the floor-to-ceiling windows, giving guests clear views of the Brisbane River. You’ll find plenty of seating throughout the space, making it easy to find a quiet corner or a seat in the heart of the action, or on the balcony when the weather permits.

W Brisbane – Three Blue Ducks seating
W Brisbane – Three Blue Ducks seating
W Brisbane – Three Blue Ducks bar

The buffet area occupies a large part of the restaurant, and I made sure to do a few laps to come up with a plan of attack. Breakfast for two was included as part of my Platinum benefits, and we were sure to maximize it here. 

W Brisbane – Three Blue Ducks buffet area

As I took stock of the many options, I was pleased to find that many of the usual suspects in hotel breakfast buffets had been elevated, such as hay smoked salmon with charred lemons, grilled broccoli with almond cream, chorizo sausage, maple-glazed pumpkin, and house-made bircher muesli, to name a few.

We also found fresh-pressed strawberry, watermelon, and lime juice, iced coffee, mocktails, and a number of smoothies at our disposal. Included with breakfast was barista-made coffee, which was delivered by one of the waiters.

W Brisbane – Beverage selection at Three Blue Ducks
W Brisbane – Beverage selection at Three Blue Ducks

We both wound up making several trips, and the food stood out in terms of the quality, the selection, and in taking the breakfast game to the next level.

W Brisbane – Breakfast spread
W Brisbane – Breakfast spread

W Brisbane – Dining

Three Blue Ducks is also open for lunch and dinner service, except for on Sunday and Monday. 

The WET Deck can be found adjacent to the pool area on the fourth floor of the hotel. It’s a fun spot to come for a lighter meal or a cocktail, as the zebra-striped patterns from the pool spill over to the indoor seating area.

W Brisbane – WET Deck indoor seating
W Brisbane – WET Deck outdoor seating

The Living Room Bar is located on the main floor of the hotel. It tends to get busy here with the after work crowd, but there’s plenty of seating along the perimeter of the bar, including some hanging basket seats.

W Brisbane – Living Room Bar
W Brisbane – Living Room Bar
W Brisbane – Living Room Bar seating

During our stay, the bartender pointed out that there was a special space-themed cocktail menu that was designed in collaboration with Barcelona’s Paradiso, which was recently honoured as the World’s Best Bar. 

W Brisbane – Living Room Bar

Anyone with Platinum status or higher is entitled to “Feelin’ Fine Time” during the evening from Monday–Thursday. It’s essentially a couple of happy hours for certain guests, who can order complimentary drinks from one of the menus. 

I opted to try one of the local beers, and my wife sipped on a glass of sparkling wine. We were also presented with popcorn and an appetizer tray with ceviche, a chilled prawn salad, and grilled halloumi. 

W Brisbane – Feelin’ Fine Time appetizers & drinks at Living Room Bar
W Brisbane – Feelin’ Fine Time appetizers at Living Room Bar

We spent around an hour in Living Room Bar, and if we hadn’t have finished a big dinner before returning to the hotel, I would’ve been tempted to order more food. Staff came around to bring us more drinks at regular intervals, and we found that Feelin’ Fine Time was yet another fantastic perk offered to guests with elite status.

W Brisbane – Other Facilities

AWAY Spa takes up the better part of the fifth floor of the hotel. Its treatment rooms are often booked up, so be sure to arrange your services well in advance if you’re looking to pamper yourself.

W Brisbane – AWAY Spa entrance
W Brisbane – AWAY Spa foyer
W Brisbane – AWAY Spa treatment room

All guests have access to steam rooms and saunas located in the spa’s change rooms. There’s also a pair of hot tubs in an area accessible through the change rooms. 

W Brisbane – AWAY Spa change room
W Brisbane – AWAY Spa sauna and steam room entrance
W Brisbane – AWAY Spa hot tubs

I spent around an hour relaxing in the spa, and if time were on my side, I would have continued to make use of the facilities. 

The pool is a central fixture of the W Brisbane, and is found on the fourth floor of the hotel. Despite being an outdoor pool, it’s completely covered and can be enjoyed in almost any weather.

The loud stripes are pleasing to the eye, and for most of my stay there was a smattering of guests lazing around on the oversized floating pillows or working on a tan on one of the lounge chairs.

W Brisbane – Pool
W Brisbane – Pool
W Brisbane – Pool

FIT, the W Brisbane’s fitness centre, is on the sixth floor of the hotel. A nice array of exercise equipment is squeezed into the area, which looks out onto the city and has peekaboo views of the river.

W Brisbane – Fitness centre
W Brisbane – Fitness centre
W Brisbane – Fitness centre

Lastly, on the ground floor of the hotel next to the check-in desks is the W Store, offering guests an in-house boutique.

W Brisbane – W Store


I’m very pleased to report that the W Brisbane completely changed the way I think about W hotels. After my stay here, I finally “got” what friends and colleagues had reported about their outstanding stays at other W Hotels.

Our expectations were exceeded at every point throughout the stay, and we encountered many instances where the food, drink, and guest experience were elevated to the next level. Our visit just kept getting better from the moment we checked in until our late check-out. 

The stay ticked all of the boxes for me: solid value, enhanced elite benefits, ease of confirming an upgrade, and quality facilities that make leaving the hotel a difficult choice. I’d love to come back with friends and plan a fun weekend in Brisbane together at the W. 

I hope to be back in Brisbane again in the near future, and there’s no doubt as to where I’ll look for accommodation when the time comes. 

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have an Account? Click here to Login