Long overshadowed by bigger names like Sydney and Perth, Brisbane has been rapidly coming into its own as a destination in Australia’s Sunshine State. Over the past few years, a host of boutique hotels and trendy restaurants have been laying the foundation of its buzzy, nightlife-driven new identity (earning it the playful nickname BrisVegas), and now the opening of W Hotels’ first outpost on the continent is cementing its place as a vibrant capital of cool on the Gold Coast.
Sweeping upward over the Brisbane River, the 312-room W Brisbane is a vibrant fusion of W’s signature bold aesthetic and classic Australian motifs. The always-open Living Room, which serves as both a laid-back lounge and souped-up lobby bar, features an eclectic mix of layered earth tones (a nod to the dramatic sedimentary rock formations of the Outback) punctuated by pops of color and vibrant art from native sons John Nicholson, Lucas Grogan, and Reko Rennie. This energy works its way upstairs—even the elevators are boldly decorated, featuring club-like lighting and psychedelic red beetles on the back wall—where the hotel’s Wet Deck is the newest crown jewel in the city’s rooftop bar scene. By day, expect to catch the city’s social set sunning by the mosaic-bottomed pool and fueling up with Aussie barbecue; by night, the space transforms into a pulsing lounge complete with live deejays and free-flowing Champagne.
When it finally does come time to call it a night, the property’s 32 spacious suites offer the best place to catch up on some well-earned R&R. Expansive river views, white shiplap-paneled walls inspired by traditional Queenslander homes, and deep soaking tubs provide a welcome respite from the rest of the hotel’s pulsing energy—though undulating carpets, vibrant fuchsia and turquoise accents, and quirky accessories ensure there is plenty of that to go around.
Come daybreak, guests can kick-start days with a quick gym session (the sixth-floor space features Technogym equipment and views of the Brisbane skyline) and by grabbing an avo toast and flat white at the hotel’s restaurant Three Blue Ducks before heading out to wander the riverfront or hitting up one of the city’s indie art galleries. Or, guests can rent a car and venture out on one of the many day trips accessible from the region. We’d suggest heading south to the iconic Byron Bay before winding your way back up the Gold Coast’s “Glitter Strip” of pristine beaches and world-class surf breaks.