Canberra has come along way in the last three years, with cocktail dens, hip restaurants, galleries and cafés opening up right across town. It’s also seen several hotels open or undergo major refurbishments and the result is a town that now has some of the best digs in the land.
Cool hotels in Canberra
QT Canberra is about making your own cocktails in your room, a barbershop, private rooftop members' lounge, hidden bar Lucky’s, and Capitol prime grill. At Lucky’s, at the back of the barbershop at QT, it’s hard to go past the house barrel-aged Negroni, while next door at Capitol, the free-range Berkshire-cut pork chop is a narrow order over the meatloaf. Upstairs, the rooms are spacious, there’s good water pressure in your shower, and look out for the Old Fashioned ingredients at the ready.
Next door, HotelHotel is a Nordic take on 1960s Manhattan that projects comfort and sophistication (and it’s a steal at $250 per night) from the rooms to the drinking spaces. Within Hotel Hotel are two eateries at the hands of Sean McConnell: Monster – from breakfast to dinner, poached eggs to slow-cooked pork cheek – and Mocan and Green Grout, a café and bike maker that serves shared plates until 9pm. McConnell’s emphasis on locally sourced produce highlights what Canberra is quickly becoming: a capital of fresh, seasonal and local.
Over in Kingston, East Hotel is an art-driven boutique abode that has a hip restaurant and bar, Ox, with more than 100 whiskies (the Sours are brilliant), plus bikes for riding around the capital. The rooms here are contemporary in design, are loaded up with the latest technology and offer loads of space. The real winner is the East two bedroom apartment that interconnects to a room known as the ‘kids cubby’ and it comes complete with bunk beds, an Xbox 360, kids’ play table and dining table and bean bags.
From the outside, the Little National seems to be mostly a carpark, wearing a hotel as a jaunty cap. And in many ways this is true. There are seven floors of parking inside this modern cube situated along the hotel-dense National Circuit. But with two levels of accommodation they’ve managed to create an exceptionally comfortable hotel that is pitch perfect for business travel.
This property is well known in the capital for being PM Ben Chifley’s home 1945-49. He’s commemorated at the hotel with Chifley’s Bar and Grill, helmed by chef Michael Chatto, who has created a menu loaded up with local produce, hand selected meats and more than 120 local and international wines. There are 147 rooms, 26 which are located in the heritage wing. Find a fireplace, library full of historic literature and the collages of photographs from different periods along the hotel’s hallways.