To apply high-quality hyperthermia treatment to tumours at deep locations in the head and neck (H&N), we have designed and built a site-specific phased-array applicator. Earlier, we demonstrated its features in parameter studies, validated those by phantom measurements and clinically introduced the system. In this paper we will critically review our first clinical experiences and demonstrate the pivotal role of hyperthermia treatment planning (HTP). Three representative patient cases ( thyroid, oropharynx and nasal cavity) are selected and discussed. Treatment planning, the treatment, interstitially measured temperatures and their interrelation are analysed from a physics point of view. Treatments lasting 1 h were feasible and well tolerated and no acute treatment-related toxicity has been observed. Maximum temperatures measured are in the range of those obtained during deep hyperthermia treatments in the pelvic region but mean temperatures are still to be improved. Further, we found that simulated power absorption correlated well with measured temperatures illustrating the validity of our treatment approach of using energy profile optimizations to arrive at higher temperatures. This is the first data proving that focussed heating of tumours in the H&N is feasible. Further, HTP proved a valuable tool in treatment optimization. Items to improve are ( 1) the transfer of HTP settings into the clinic and ( 2) the registration of the thermal dose, i.e. dosimetry.