Kate Atkinson

Hotel Hotel

with Kate Atkinson
  • Where:Canberra

  • Why:An adventure to Australia’s controversial capital city to investigate the NewActon cultural precinct (a new fangled melting pot of creative talent) and check out some galleries.

  • When:February 2014

  • Who:Just little old me.

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Highs & Lows

  • The eye for detail – from the Aesop products in the rooms to the ecologically considered toilet bags and hotel stamp stationary at reception, there is NOTHING that this hotel hasn’t thought of. This place gives the word ‘considered’ a whole new destination to dance.

  • Art and the creative vibe – from the Lucy McRae mirror in the lobby to the tiles turned into a mosaic in the lobby (an age old collection belonging to Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora’s grandfather) to the gazillion books in the lobby library, this place is a mecca for art and culture enthusiasts.

  • The design with local artisan touches – it’s rare to find a hotel that manages to marry design genius with a low key and comfortable vibe. It’s a mish mash of design genius that is somehow entirely ingenious and works in a day-to-day setting. Best of all, it’s ecologically sound and sustainable. So much so that the Australian Department of Climate Change is based within the Nishi building, of which Hotel Hotel is a part.

  • Everything everywhere here is made by artisans and handmade. Bath salt containers, hotel glasses (one Amos Enders-Moje created the glassware from recycled bottles locally and exclusively for the hotel).

  • The bikes – my ride around town was smooth as silk. I wanted to fly this baby home and ride it round the streets of Redfern.

  • Nothing to fault. Nada. Nothing.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Mini Bar

  • Life Changing

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Overall Value

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

Total: 50/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Two words. Design. Hotel. It doesn’t get more design nerd than this.

  • Vibe

    Relaxed design hotel meets melting pot of artisans and creative luminaries.

  • Location

    In the heart of Canberra’s NewActon cultural precinct, which is a mecca for art and culture enthusiasts. This place boasts a Palace movie cinema, a bike shop and regularly plays host to local art exhibitions and collective gatherings. Just a short walk over the bridge is Lake Burley Griffin, which is the focal point for all things Canberra culture. The National Museum, Library, Parliament House, The Gallery of Australian Design, and The National Gallery are all within a short cycle away.

  • Rooms

    99 rooms including 33 apartments, with collaborations by 56 (and counting) artists, designers and makers.

  • Music

    Of the now, but not annoyingly so. One of the hero tracks from the Trainspotting album was playing while I sipped my glass of local Shiraz (it may or may not have been Underworld, but I was enjoying it so much I forgot to ask). Perfection.

  • Year Opened


  • Designed By

    If only this were a straightforward question. Hotel Hotel is a jigsaw puzzle of perfectly connected creatives. It occupies 3 floors of the newly constructed Nishi residential building. Designed by Australian architectural firm (the masterminds behind Australia’s acclaimed Museum of New and Old in Tasmania), in close collaboration with Japan’s Suppose Design Office. The foyer and grand stair lobby are designed by March Studio in collaboration with Oculus, NewActon’s landscape Within that space, new fangled pieces from Broached Commissions reflect Canberra’s design history while complementing the hotel architecture.

  • Pool/Gym

    No pool and no gym, but plenty of Lake Burley Griffin to run around + free super duper bikes to borrow.

  • Restaurant

    In and around this hotel, there are lots of different dining spots. The bar and lounge on the hotel’s ground floor serves an impressive list of local wines from around Canberra (try the Riesling), paired with a lazy lounge room with adapted Danish furniture and a fireplace to boot. Chef Sean McConnell serves up a carefully selected array of dishes in both the hotel restaurant (yet to open) and bar.

  • Bar

    Yes – with a wine and cocktail list to die for. Pair some wine with the oysters topped with lychee. It’s a winning combination.

  • Wifi

    Yes, free!

  • Children

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Most of the time when it comes to design hotel protocol, leave them at home.

  • Price

    From $285 – an absolute bargain for what you can get room-wise.

There’s no doubt about it. One <br>of Australia’s best and most prestigious galleries is in <br>its capital.

Gold and the Inca’s at National Gallery

National Gallery, Canberra

There’s no doubt about it. One
of Australia’s best and most prestigious galleries is in
its capital.

A menu to die for, locally sourced and produced food  - I know it’s embarrassing, but their bacon and egg roll was killer.

Mocan and Green Grout

Mocan and Green Grout, 1/19 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

A menu to die for, locally sourced and produced food - I know it’s embarrassing, but their bacon and egg roll was killer.

Borrow a bike from the hotel and ride it around the city and Lake Burley Griffin, it’s mandatory.

Get a bike

Lake Burley Griffin

Borrow a bike from the hotel and ride it around the city and Lake Burley Griffin, it’s mandatory.

Hotel Hotel

Hotel Hotel, NewActon Nishi, 25 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

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