Before General Manager Brad Mercer and Director of Sales and Marketing Janine Watton were appointed to their respective positions at the newly opened Four Points by Sheraton in Brisbane, the Level 30 al fresco space with exceptional views of the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge wasn’t going to be used for anything special.
Determined to put their mark on the purpose built hotel, Brad and Janine suggested taking full advantage of the position.
“Level 30 was just going to be a gym. They weren’t going to do anything with it. But it’s such a great roof top space that I suggested making into an outdoor event area,” said Brad.
This outdoor event space, complete with a custom built kitchen, is perfect for functions. When there aren’t any private bookings, hotel guests are welcome to relax on the bean bags with a coffee and their iPad.
It was a busy opening week for the team at Four Points. The first paying guests checked in on Monday and there was an official opening on Tuesday with the Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk and the Minister for Tourism, Jann Stuckey - both of whom have been extremely supportive of the project. The hotel’s 246 rooms are fully booked in the second week of operation thanks to a medical conference.
Brad who relocated from Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park seven months ago and Janine who followed his lead a month later after working at Bangkok’s Four Points by Sheraton found the chance to work with this property too irresistible to turn down.
“We were enticed by the opportunity to open the first globally branded, new-build property in Brisbane’s CBD in 16 years. It’s an exciting market certainly from Starwood’s point of view. It’s not every day you get to open a hotel in a corporate city that runs at such strong occupancy. We set it up from scratch,” said Brad.
“I have a strong team with me. We had to fill all the positions. Because we haven’t been in these parts for a while you look for attitude over aptitude. We can train the skill but you can’t buy the attitude. So we looked for hungry individuals that are young energetic, keen to learn and keen to run at the pace that you need to run out. An opening environment is not a normal environment.”
According to Janine, Brisbane is crying out for hotel rooms and Starwood are filling that void. Brisbane runs on a 80 to 90 per cent occupancy rate outside the peak seasons of Christmas and Easter. There’s a definite need for inventory. This property is potentially just the start.
“Ever since the Sheraton above Central Station changed names to Sofitel, Starwood has been trying to get back into Brisbane. There was one project that was stopped several years ago because of the GFC. This was the next opportunity. I think the property is perfect for Four Points. It wouldn’t have suited a Sheraton. The lobby is very intimate; it’s certainly not big and sweeping like the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney. It’s very Four Points related – you have reception, the Grab and Go café and then straight up to Level One, which is the eatery or guests can take the elevators direct to their room,” she said.
“People often ask me, ‘What’s the biggest selling feature apart from the fact that it’s new and everything is sparkling?’ I always respond that it’s the location - you can walk to Eagle Street Pier; you can even see it from here. From a corporate perspective, you have all these office buildings around, you can walk one block and you’re in the botanic gardens and walk two blocks up and you’re in the Queen Street Mall. From a location perspective we actually sit within a five-minute walk from everything in the city.”
Janine offers to show me the rooms. As we take the elevator to Level 27 to inspect a Deluxe Riverview Room, Janine explains that Four Points are all about functional comfort and a very attractive price point - this new hotel will compliment the offerings in Sydney, Perth and Geelong perfectly - as well as the 175 Four Points properties in 30 countries around the world. It's great for business travellers who require a comfortable, modern room after a long day of meetings. Families will also appreciate the adjoining rooms.
After entering through muted tones, my eye is immediately drawn to the impressive floor to ceiling windows that both showcase the Brisbane River and that allow natural light to spill throughout the accommodation option. And for weary travellers there are black out blinds; should an afternoon siesta be on the agenda. I’m told that Deluxe Rooms come with complimentary Wi-Fi and additional amenities such as a full bathroom kit and bathrobes. Sliding doors are used to make the best use of space. Clean lines dominate the design and the television features Triple Play, where vision from an iPad can be seen on the TV screen using Bluetooth. Coffee plungers are standard for Four Points and the safe fits a laptop.
From the room, we head down to the first floor restaurant where Head Chef Desmond Carneiro, who started his Starwood career as an apprentice 11 years ago, is preparing for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. He points out the locally-sourced seafood including sand crabs, oysters, prawns, snapper, locally-caught Morton bay bugs, mussels, local gravlax, smoked mackerel and scallops.
“Queensland has beautiful produce and supplies much of Australia. When I was down in Sydney, we were getting most of the produce from Queensland farms. There’s a foodie culture that’s starting to emerge here and is probably going to rival Melbourne in a few years,” said Desmond.
If seafood isn’t your thing, there’s an extensive a la carte dinner menu that is sure to tempt your curiosity.
Talk to your Flight Centre consultant about Four Points by Sheraton's special opening offer.