QT hotels are the Aussie darlings of the hip hotel scene. This hotel, a stone’s throw from Parliament House, has 205 guest rooms kitted out like hipster bachelorette pads – think funky lamps, quirky cushions and Kartell furniture. Highlights include a barbershop with antique chairs and a speakeasy cocktail bar.
#2: Hotel Hotel
With 68 aesthetically pleasing rooms, this designer-centric New Acton hotel epitomises the word ‘boutique’. The interior is warm and welcoming, but cool with thoughtful artworks, esoteric objets d’art and restored 20th-century furniture. Its locale in the Nishi Buildings affords hipster guests access to a library, bike shop, summer cinema and free yoga.
#3: East Hotel
Complimentary retro bikes with East Hotel number plates, Alessi lolly jars and a 10-metre high video art wall are just some of the quirks at this purpose-built, family-owned hotel in Kingston. Rooms are styled with re-purposed mid-century furniture, bright fabrics and photographic prints. Downstairs, Muse restaurant mingles eating, drinking and books.
In the heart of Canberra’s Parliamentary triangle, this schmick 120-room hotel is all about clean lines, dark wood and a monotone colour scheme. Creature comforts include king-size beds, quality bed linen, T2 teas, espresso machines and fluffy robes, but the real joy lies in the communal library and lounge where guests can get down to business with floor-to-ceiling Canberra views.
#5: Jamala Wildlife Lodge
Ever slept with a giraffe peering at you? This extraordinary luxury accommodation within a zoo compound offers guests close encounters with some of the world’s most dangerous and endangered animals. Sleep in giraffe treehouses, jungle bungalows (with a glass wall separating guests from lions, tigers and brown bears) and an African-inspired lodge with themed rooms.
#6: Hotel Kurrajong
When Canberra was finding its political feet in 1926, Hotel Kurrajong opened to provide comfort and respite for visiting politicians. Last year, the historical Art Deco building re-opened with 147 refurbished guest rooms and a lounge filled with political books and artworks. History buffs can opt for one of 26 rooms in the original heritage wing.
Styled with visiting politicians in mind, this business hotel with an architectural facade takes bedtime seriously – its rooms, suites and apartments have goose down bed toppers, feather pillows and king-size beds. The interior is sleek with a black, white and wood colour scheme enhanced by cool pieces such as Chinese ceramic drum stools. Tuck into high tea at The Terrace (with city and lake views) or savour sake at Lilotang Japanese restaurant.
#8: Vibe Hotel Canberra
Vibe Hotel holds its own as an airport hotel (50 metres to check-in) with a design bent – and it’s still only 10 minutes from the CBD. The circular glass building incorporates a sky-high foyer with gold panelling paying homage to the golden age of flying. There are 191 rooms including 12 ‘first class’ suites and nine two-bedroom apartments.
#9: Avenue Hotel
Close to Braddon shopping and dining precinct, this 213-room hotel with a Pop Art-inspired interior (purple suede chairs, bulbous silver pendants) has a youthful vibe. Perks include express checkout, a pillow menu and Marble and Grain restaurant – a steakhouse with local craft beer and a paddock-to-plate menu.
#10: Peppers Gallery Hotel
Green high-back armchairs and funky blue couches ‘pop’ in the foyer of this heritage building in cool New Acton. Other stylings include original wall hangings, art installations and decorative bed heads. The library bar is more upbeat than bookish and Bicicletta restaurant has a buzz befitting its Italian menu.
Boasting five stars, this hotel has the works, including a 25-metre indoor lap pool, a health club and gym, spa with five relaxation suites and a hair salon. Penthouse patrons will love the gas fireplace, stone bathroom and private balcony with views to Parliament House. The famed 25-year-old fine dining Cantonese restaurant, Chairman and Yip, is in the precinct.
Singapore Airlines flies 4 times weekly non-stop from Singapore to Canberra, as part of the new Singapore-Canberra-Wellington Capital Express route.
PHOTOS: QT CANBERRA, HOTEL HOTEL, EAST HOTEL, HOTEL REALM, PEPPERS GALLERY HOTEL, AVENUE HOTEL, VIBE HOTEL CANBERRA, BURBURY HOTEL AND APARTMENTS, HOTEL KURRAJONG, JAMALA WILDLIFE LODGE, LITTLE NATIONAL HOTEL
This article was originally published on October 28, 2016.