It feels strange being ” back” in Canberra. We moved back to the same place so on one hand, it feels like everything is the same. But because I spend more time on the road and moving back and forth between Canberra and Sydney , I feel like I haven’t really moved in, and more like a transient between the two cities. I don’t mind it. It just means there’s more to discover!
So on the rare chance that I get to explore Canberra a little bit, I am pleased to discover changes that occurred in the last 5 years.
Of course, the first thing I looked out for were hotels. Just near our place, I saw a couple of new hotels that looked very chic . I checked the Visit Canberra site, and lo and behold, our tiny capital now holds over 140 hotels / accommodation properties!
If I ever get the time to be in Canberra for more than 2 weeks, I’m making it my mission to discover the city’s luxury hotels.
I’ve short-listed the top 5 hotels I want to discover while I’m here.
1.) Hyatt Hotel Canberra (A Park Hyatt Hotel)
In terms of big chain names, Hyatt Hotel Canberra is the sole hotel in this category. Just a kilometre from the Parliament House, Hyatt Hotel Canberra is a popular choice for visiting politicians.
It’s not all serious business though, as they serve afternoon high tea in their heritage listed Tea Lounge.
And to those visiting Canberra, almost all the attractions that Canberra is known for are close by:
Parliament House, Australian War Memorial, National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Old Parliament House and Australian Institute of Sport.
2.) Hotel Realm
Hotel Realm is surrounded by government offices – the Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the National Library of Australia.
Hotel Realm has a very modern and hip vibe, with 5 bars and restaurants. I used to work nearby and I remember many after-work nights at their bars/restaurants, which are always packed after 5PM, especially on Friday nights.
3.) Hotel Hotel
I’m very, very intrigued by this hotel! Hotel Hotel, whose slogan is “A place for people people”, is like an eclectic village in one compound / building.
Apart from accommodation, they also have two cinemas, a library, a bicycle shop, a spa, salon, an art gallery and a pilates and yoga studio.
With 68 rooms in total, they have four categories of rooms : Cosy, Original, Creative and Meandering, each with original design and inspired by the Australian shack.
Clay rendered walls, salvaged oak beds, overhead rain showers, uniquely chosen artworks in each room, and restored furniture. The vibe reminds me of quirky and hipster Iceland or Scandinavia.
And because Hotel Hotel seems to have a lot of activities within its compound, I can see this as a perfect spot for staycations.
4.) QT Hotel Canberra
QT, the boutique and chic brand from GHA (Global Hotel Alliance), has made it possible for luxury chic and politics to meet in the nation’s capital.
With 5 hotels all over Australia ( Sydney, Gold Coast, Port Douglas, Falls Creek and Canberra), QT is known to adapt its “luxury with a touch of quirk” style based on the city location.
QT hotel was formerly Rydges Lakeside, and I’m glad that they rebranded as such because this hotel has a whole lot of character. Take for instance, what they cheekily have to say about fulfilling guests’ needs:
We know that you need a strong handshake, a great slogan, and an eye on the prize at all times to be successful in politics – whether that’s the politics so prevalent in the ACT or the politics you negotiate when you see your mother in law.
They also have an Italian restaurant, a bar, and the QT lounge which also serves drinks. QT Canberra also has an antique-style barbershop that offers a 20-minute classic straight-edged razor shave called “The Don”.
5.) Jamala Wildlife Lodge
I have to say that among this list, this is the accommodation that excites me the most!
This is Australia’s first all-inclusive luxury lodging experience where you literally get to live up close and personal with wildlife.
The bungalows, tree houses and lodges look really spacious (not to mention luxurious) and to me, more than the accommodation, it is the experience itself that is luxurious: Rates include afternoon tea, an exclusive afternoon tour, a three course dinner party, drinks, then a light breakfast and another exclusive tour the next morning.
The perfect getaway for the luxurious adventurer, I say 🙂
There are other luxury and boutique style accommodation in Canberra but those 5 are the ones that top my list of hotels to stay at while in Canberra.
You see, luxury in Canberra hotels has a distinct, modern style – they are not overly ostentatious, and I see the lack of big chain names as an advantage because it allows local and smaller independently-owned hotels to design their own product experience suited to Canberra.
I love how Canberra is growing its accommodation choices especially in the luxury / business traveller market and this is something I look forward to exploring !