For the last night of our time in Queensland, we spent a night at the Westin Brisbane. I’d received the scoop on the property from Rachel of the Prince of Travel team, who had stayed there for a couple of nights before we arrived, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.
We were coming on the heels of two luxurious stays at the JW Marriott Gold Coast and the W Brisbane, and had been spoiled thus far on our trip to Australia. Neither of the previous two hotels had Executive Lounges, so I was pleased to hear that the Westin Brisbane features one.
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Westin Brisbane – Booking
I managed to secure a great deal on a travel agent rate for my stay. Regular cash prices for the hotel come at a low of $300 (AUD) ($276 CAD) and a high of over $700 (AUD) ($645 CAD), with most dates falling between $400–500 (AUD) ($370–470 CAD).
A redemption with Marriott Bonvoy points costs 20,000–30,000 points per night throughout the year, which is likely the best bet if you have points available in your account. Based on our valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point (cpp), you can quite easily get over twice the target value if the cash rate falls on the higher end of the spectrum.
As is generally the case in Australia, redeeming points for a stay at a Marriott property tends to have a strong value proposition.
Westin Brisbane – Location
The Westin Brisbane is situated in the heart of Brisbane’s Central Business District on Mary Street.
The hotel is in very close proximity to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and the Brisbane River, which are both a couple of blocks away.
You’re also just steps to the Queen Street Mall and the many restaurants in the area.
On the south part of the river, you’ll find the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. You can get there in less than 15 minutes by foot, or around 10 minutes by transit or car.
The airport is around 40 minutes by transit or around 25 minutes by car, depending on traffic. The nearest train station is just 10 minutes away by foot, and the nearest ferry terminal is North Quay.
Westin Brisbane – Check-in
We arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon after checking out of the W Brisbane. The Westin Brisbane is easy to find, and it was a casual stroll up the busy streets of the downtown core.
The main entrance is just off of Mary Street, up a small staircase next to the lobby’s bar.
There’s another entrance through a hallway that’s on the other side of the check-in area.
The hotel was quite busy when we arrived, due to an event being held in the conference rooms that evening. We were called up to the check-in desks after a brief wait, which allowed us some time to take stock of the busy lobby lounge bar, The Charles.
I booked into a base-level Westin King Room, but managed to “suite-talk” my way into a Westin King Suite using the chat function on the Marriott app.
The check-in process was quite informal, but the associate quickly went through my Platinum benefits and let me know that we had access to the Executive Lounge during our stay.
I made my way up to room to drop my bags off and then met up with my wife for a walk. When we returned to the hotel, we noticed a strong unpleasant odour in the room, and we popped back down to the check-in desks.
The associate apologized and had us moved to the same room type on a different floor. There was still a faint hint of an unpleasant odour in the bathroom, which I suspect had something to do with the floor drain, but it wasn’t nearly as noticeable as in the other room.
In the end, we decided to stick with the room, as we didn’t feel like going back down to switch rooms again.
Westin Brisbane – Westin King Suite
The Westin King Suite is the third highest room type at the Westin Brisbane, below the Renewal City View Suite and the Premium Renewal CitySuite. The Westin King Suite is actually larger than the other suites, measuring 60 square metres to their 53 square metres.
Immediately upon entry, there’s a spacious foyer with a large wardrobe on the left. Inside the wardrobe is where you’ll find the extra bathrobe, and there’s a luggage rack and bench tucked right against the wall by the door.
The room then splits off into two directions. To the left is the living room, to the right is the bedroom, and the bathroom is in between the two.
The living room features a slate black couch with a ruby red armchair around a glass coffee table. There is a large flat-screen TV perched atop an entertainment unit in the corner.
I found a boilerplate welcome note and a welcome gift bag of baked goods when I arrived.
In between the sitting area and the kitchenette is a stone table with seating for three.
The kitchenette takes up the entire wall that backs onto the bathroom. You’ll find a full-sized refrigerator stocked with minibar items, a Nespresso coffee maker, and some grab-and-go goodies next to a sink.
The cupboards are stocked with plates, cups, glasses, a water kettle, and cutlery, which would come in handy if you ordered food in.
On the opposite side of the suite is the bedroom. A comfortable king bed sits against a textured wall, with a bench at the foot of the bed.
The side table to the right of the bed has a lamp and an analog Bluetooth clock speaker. USB charging ports and power outlets are built into the wall beside the bed.
On the wall opposite from the bed, you’ll find the suite’s second flat-screen TV mounted above a dresser. A bright red lounge chair and ottoman are parked in the corner of the room, next to a small coffee table.
The suite didn’t have much of a view. It looked out into the building across the street, and much of the view was obscured by privacy dots.
The bathroom is located in between the bedroom and the living room. An LED-lit mirror stands above a single sink, and the bathroom is stocked with Molton Brown amenities.
There is a walk-in shower at the back of the bathroom, and a toilet nestled in close to the door.
Overall, I found that the Westin King Suite had a good layout for families staying in the hotel, as the couch in the living room turns into a sofa bed. The kitchenette would likely come in handy, too, especially with the full-sized fridge.
As a couple, we thought the room was very spacious, which allowed for me to wake up early and get some work in without disturbing my wife while she slept in. I also appreciated that there were many different seating areas throughout the room.
Aside from the unfortunate odour in our first room, and the remnants of the smell in our next room, the Westin King Suite would make for an entirely comfortable, if not unremarkable, stay.
Westin Brisbane – Executive Lounge
The Executive Lounge is located on the third floor of the Westin Brisbane. Guests staying in Club Level rooms, as well as guests with Marriott Platinum, Titanium, or Ambassador Elite status, enjoy complimentary access to the lounge.
Inside the lounge, there is plenty of seating for guests. During the evening hors d’oeuvres service and breakfast, the lounge didn’t feel overly packed, and it was easy for us to find a quiet spot to talk.
Immediately upon entry, there’s a concierge desk with a staff member in the mornings and evenings to assist with any queries. You’ll also find a stock of newspapers here in the mornings during breakfast service.
In the main seating area, there are a number of two- and four-person tables to choose from. Keep an eye out for the tables by the windows, which look out over the pool and the surrounding buildings.
Along the back wall of the lounge, you’ll find bench seating for two, but you can easily move tables together to accommodate a larger party.
Breakfast is hosted here in the morning. We stopped by for a quick bite before heading to the airport, as we were looking forward to checking out the Virgin Australia lounge.
The buffet area is stocked with a reasonable selection of hot and cold items. You’ll find many classic staples, such as scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, baked beans, fried tomatoes, and mushrooms, as well as a pancake machine with a number of toppings.
For cold options, there are bowls with different types of yogurt, as well as fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, salad, pastries, and breakfast cereal.
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For drinks, there’s an automated coffee maker, a selection of teas, still water, a couple of juice dispensers, and a fridge with soft drinks.
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The breakfast buffet at the Westin Brisbane was a bit underwhelming compared to the offering at the W Brisbane, but it had everything that you’d need to start the day off right. We opted for a light breakfast and saved our appetites for the lounge at the airport.
The hors d’oeuvres service is hosted in the Executive Lounge in the evening. We popped by to have a drink and a light meal before heading out to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens for a stroll.
During our visit, there were chicken kebabs and some biscuits available as the hot items. There was also a selection of cold wraps, amuse-bouches, a Thai beef salad, fresh vegetables, cured meats, dried fruits, and nuts available, too.
For dessert, there were small one-bite cakes on offer.
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There were quite a few types of wine stocked at the buffet, as well as a fridge filled with soft drinks and beer.
The selection was big enough to substitute for a meal, should you be so inclined. The food reminded me of what you might find in an airport lounge, although it was certainly of a higher quality than what’s found in most airports.
The Executive Lounge at the Westin Brisbane is a nice perk to enjoy along with your status or your room type. It’s much better than Executive Lounges in North America, but maybe not quite as extensive as what you might find at hotels in Asia.
Westin Brisbane – Pool
The Nautilus Pool is advertised as one of the main features at the hotel. At one end of the pool is a swim-up bar, and there are lounge chairs dotted around the pool for lazing around in the sun.
You’ll also find some other seating areas near the pool, including oversized loungers, wicker chairs, and cabanas.
Close to the cabanas is a full-sized chess board.
Westin Brisbane – Other Facilities
On the ground floor of the hotel is The Charles, a cocktail jazz bar. The seating area spills over from the lobby lounge, and extends all the way to face the street.
A curved backlit bar serves as the main focal point at The Charles, and it was certainly very pleasing to the eye with the different coloured bottles glowing on the shelves.
An Italian restaurant, Settimo, is set to open in February 2023.
The spa is also listed as one of the hotel’s main attractions. Every time I popped in to have a look, there were people in the waiting room or using the steam room.
You can book a variety of treatments at the spa, which has its own separate website.
The fitness centre is open around the clock, should you wish to get a workout in at any point throughout the day or night. You’ll find the entrance on the same level as the pool.
Inside, there’s a range of modern exercise equipment, including treadmills, bikes, elliptical machines, and weights.
The Westin Brisbane is a centrally located hotel that largely caters to business travellers, but can be a good choice for couples or families, too. It has great Marriott Bonvoy redemption rates, especially when the Executive Lounge benefits and all of the hotel’s facilities are considered.
Our suite was very spacious, and would have made for a comfortable stay if we had had more time in Brisbane. The unpleasant odour in both of our rooms was unfortunate, and it took away from our overall impression of the hotel.
My colleague Rachel didn’t report the same issue with her room, so I imagine we could have just been unlucky.
The Westin Brisbane would be a great property to consider if you’re looking for a balance of value and ways to leverage your status in Brisbane.