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A shot of the main entrance area at HotelHotel showing The Grand Stair
Photograph: Visit Canberra

Time Out says

Popular with locals as well as visitors, this boutique hotel has art in its foundations

Why does Hotel Hotel have a double-barrelled name? Because, they say, it’s “a place for people people”. This premise may be cutesy, but in the four years they’ve been open, this idiosyncratic boutique hotel, with art built into its very foundations, has managed to ingratiate itself into the Canberra community.

Sure, there’s the impressive lobby, with its suspended planks of recycled wood, but there’s a connection deeper than aesthetics here. More often than not, it’s locals you’ll find sitting at the built-in couches, flicking through books besides the post-modern fireplace or drinking in the doesn’t-feel-like-a-lobby-bar Monster. Around the NewActon precinct you’ll also find a Hotel Hotel affiliated gallery – Nishi, a yoga studio (free for guests) and bicycles to borrow. Hotel Hotel plays host to regular events, including maker sessions and readings – often in the hotel’s rooms.

Upstairs, the hotel has a moody light that’s perfect for mornings you don’t want to get out of bed. Each room is individually decorated – mostly with refurbished mid-century furniture, brightly coloured blankets and strangely textured walls: think poured concrete, canvas, chipboard and felt. It’s a feeling that offers deep comfort in the cooler months – it feels like a place to retreat to. If you splash out and order a ‘Meandering Room’ (the hotel’s largest), you’ll be rewarded with a freestanding stone bathtub that would be ostentatious if it wasn’t so inviting.  

With such a transient population, the quality of hotels in Canberra is higher than you’d expect for a city of its size. Of all these venues, Hotel Hotel is certainly the most intellectual. It’s a place that invites you to linger, look at the large mosaics (the tiles were made by Gerard Havekes), and contemplate your own existence.

Time Out x Visit Canberra


Edinburgh Ave
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