W Brisbane GM Hal Philp on opening the city’s first 5-star hotel in 20 years

Laine Fullerton

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, has touched down in Australia with the opening of W Brisbane last week.

The opening marks the re-entry of W Hotels into Australia, as well as the first five-star hotel to open in Brisbane in 20 years.

W Brisbane’s bold design and playful luxury are bound to redefine the hospitality scene in Brisbane, promising guests that they will deliver ‘Whatever/Whenever’.


Located at 81 North Quay, the contemporary hotel is fitted with a 24-hour WIRED business centre, modern events spaces, AWAY spa, FIT gym, WET Deck with swimming pool and three unique restaurants and bars.


To celebrate the opening, we sat down with Hal Philp, general manager of W Brisbane, to find out exactly why this new hotel is set to transform Brisbane’s tourism experience and why he jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

Travel Weekly: Being responsible for recruiting a team of 230 and managing all pre-launch activity, you must have your work cut out for you, so how do you spend your downtime to recharge with such a busy schedule?

Hal Philp: Swimming a few laps before starting my working day, weekend golf and spending time with family are high on the agenda.

I also love cooking and consider myself a bit of a specialist on the barbeque!

TW: You’ve worked some impressive jobs during your 23 years in hotels, what have you learned about the industry?

HP: Hotels have evolved a lot over the past couple of decades, particularly in terms of technology.

The level of real-time information now available and access to information really allows us to provide a more personalised experience for guests.

However, no matter how advanced the technology becomes, the one thing that has never changed is the value of the service that our talent provides to our guests.

Hospitality still remains a people-focused industry, technology has never taken that away, it has only enhanced it.

TW: What drew you to the position at W Hotels?

HP: While still very much playing in the luxury remit of hotels in terms of design and attention to detail, the W brand colours outside of the traditional norms of 5-star hotels and constantly strives to create an experience for guests, whether it be from a rooms perspective or in one of the hotel’s venues.

TW: How will the new W Hotel transform the tourism experience for Brisbane?

HP: W Brisbane is the first new build 5-star hotel for the CBD in 20 years and is very much a destination in itself.

The hotel comes to life through the brands passion points of Design, Music, Fashion and Fuel and enhances the guest experience through bringing to life what is new and next in Brisbane, starting with our signature restaurant partnership with Three Blue Ducks; Edwards And Co. hair movement in W Brisbane’s AWAY Spa; W The Store by Becker Minty and venues such as Living Room Bar and WET Deck.


TW: What sets W Brisbane aside from its competition?

HP: From the moment our guests enter the doors of W Brisbane, whether it be to stay in one of our 312 guestrooms and suites or to enjoy the culinary and cocktail scene throughout our three distinct venues, they will feel like they are in Queensland through the custom furnishings and interiors which are inspired by the Queensland locale and Aussie vibes.

W Brisbane transcends markets, whether the purpose of stay or visit is for business or play.

W Brisbane is not your traditional 5-star luxury hotel and we are just thrilled to be open and welcoming guests from near and far.