Canberra, Australia

Hotel Hotel

Rates from (ex tax)$159.40

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD230.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

New York via NewActon

Setting

Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin

Hotel Hotel in Canberra has us saying ‘yes yes’, thanks to its dazzling design, brilliant staff and capital location. Housed in the exciting NewActon precinct, the hotel rubs shoulders with galleries, a cinema and quirky dining spots – and all that creative energy has clearly rubbed off.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Handmade organic chocolates and late check-out (1pm)

Facilities

Photos Hotel Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

68.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $159.24 (AU$209), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD230.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually exclude breakfast. A credit card surcharge of 2.5 per cent a stay applies against all accepted credit cards.

Also

Pose for pictures on the eye-popping reclaimed timber steps in different colours, lengths, heights and textures that lead down from the bar to the basement Palace Cinema.

At the hotel

Well-equipped gym; library; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, radio, iPad, minibar, bathrobes, botanical bath products. The Nishi building’s brilliant facilities include: a Palace Electric cinema (with a café and prosecco bar); Goodspeed bike shop; Nishi Gallery with local, interstate and international art exhibitions; Pilates Canberra; Soma Day Spa and Roji hair salon.

Our favourite rooms

The Meandering Rooms are the biggest and most spacious of the hotel's sleeping quarters, graced with a tub for two and double rain showers. In particular, Room 230 caught our eye, thanks to its retro reading chair, reclaimed timber furniture, large lounge, interesting art and big bed lit with a spotlight (go on, aim for an ovation).

Packing tips

Your head torch: some rooms are deliciously dark.

Food and Drink

Photos Hotel Hotel food and drink

Top Table

Outside in the 'secret' courtyard garden when it's balmy, nestled near the open fireplace when it's not. The timber tables can be pulled apart or shoved together to offer different seating options – it's a movable feast.

Dress Code

Artist in residence: silks, denim and cashmere in dark, smudgy colours.

Hotel restaurant

Affable chef Sean McConnell continues his campaign to champion seasonal, local ingredients at the bar and lounge, a moodily dark and relaxed setting with a library and garden and a soft spot for live music. Expect McConnell's signature small plates, with humble ingredients transformed into punchy dishes that betray chef's love of foraging. Once you've had a meal here, explore the NewActon precinct's wealth of eating options, which include Mocan and Green Grout, A.Baker, Parlour Wine Room and Bicicletta.

Hotel bar

Watch a local or international band play at the bar and lounge, which serves a comprehensive range of domestic wines and distillations as well as some more exotic libations. (If you’re after a quieter tipple, stake out the stylish little library.) Every Friday, the barman launches a new cocktail; don’t miss out. We liked One, which features Turkish delight, gin, rose and pomegranate; on a hot day, a Four (gin, Marco Polo tea, kaffir lime and cucumber) wouldn’t go amiss.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am until midday (hurrah for late lie-ins); lunch is on offer between midday and 4pm; bar snacks are served from 4pm until 10pm. The last drinks are mixed at 11pm.

Room service

Order light breakfasts, sandwiches, salads and shared plates from the 24-hour room service menu, which mimics the main menu.

Location

Photos Hotel Hotel location
Address
Hotel Hotel
25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra ACT 2601
2601
Canberra
Australia

Planes

Canberra airport (www.canberraairport.com.au) is an 8km drive from the hotel (a $25 taxi ride).

Automobiles

Sydney is a three-hour drive away. The hotel has plenty of onsite parking ($30 a day).

Worth getting out of bed for

Spend a pleasurable morning browsing excellent art in the Nishi Gallery, or have a massage or facial at the Soma Day Spa. In summer, pull up a deck chair under the shade of the 100-year-old oak tree, grab some popcorn and watch a decent movie being screened outside. The hotel has five Goodspeed bikes for guests to borrow (you’ll also be lent a lock and helmet), so go for a spin around the lake or wheel around Canberra. If you’re feeling really adventurous, the hotel can organise mountain biking on Mount Stromlo. Tick off Canberra’s cultural attractions one by one: the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Parliament House, the National Arboretum, Questacon National Zoo and the aquarium. (Ardent shoppers can hit Canberra’s boutiques, instead.)

Local restaurants

A.Baker (+61 (0)2 6287 6150) is more than just a baker – it’s a restaurant with an underground speakeasy bar. Everything is made locally, from the organic milled wheat bread to the coffee roasted onsite and the vegetables grown in the garden. Parlour Wine Room (+61 (0)2 6257 7325), also in the NewActon precinct, houses an array of antiques and serves tasty tapas and delicious desserts until late. The vibe is 1920s; add feathers or a fedora if you’re feeling fancy. Mocan and Green Grout (+61 (0)2 6162 2909) at 19 Marcus Clarke Street is headed up by Steve Mcconnell, the man behind Hotel Hotel’s bar and lounge; expect the same emphasis on fresh produce, quality suppliers and crowd-pleasing flavours, delivered with relaxed panache.

Reviews

Photos Hotel Hotel reviews

Anonymous review

Oh, how things change. Back in 2009, a few friends and I decided to drive to Canberra to see Midnight Oil play a gig. Buoyed by a wave of rock-fuelled adrenaline, we went looking for a post-show drink. The nearby casino beckoned, mainly because it was the only place with its lights still on. Roulette tables deserted, and the security man unimpressed by our efforts to take one another’s photographs with the cardboard cut-outs of former prime ministers, we drank our beers and sloped back to our hotel.

Nothing could quite prepare me for the revolution our national capital has recently undergone – and I've had a few trips there in the intervening years. Like most things in Canberra, Hotel Hotel, in the self-described design and culture precinct of NewActon, is only about 10 minutes from the upgraded airport. (For anyone who regularly travels in Sydney and Melbourne, the fact that the taxi driver knew exactly where he was going ­– despite the hotel being a relative newcomer to the scene ­– was a bright and unexpected start.)

‘Anything special on this weekend,’ asks the gorgeous girl at check-in.

‘My friend, Ms Smith, is coming to meet me,’ I tell her. ‘It’s my birthday tomorrow and we’re having a girl’s weekend.’ She seems genuinely interested in what we’ve got planned and, when I mention we’re going to see the James Turrell exhibition at the National Gallery, she hands me a still-in-its-wrapper copy of James Turrell: A Retrospective. ‘Happy birthday,’ she continues. ‘You can read up on him before you go.’

Truth is, I am almost too busy to listen to what she’s telling me. The desk is on the edge of the lobby, which also happens to double as Monster Kitchen & Bar. There are people finishing up lunch, working on laptops, chatting over a cup of coffee, all in the type of environment this writer pines for on the long days I’m at home alone slaving over a keyboard. It’s cool in a not-at-all try-hard way. But that’s what Hotel Hotel’s creators – and brothers – Nectar and Johnathan Efkarpidis had in mind when they set about pulling together the artsy, boutique space.

On the first floor, I enter the Meandering room we’ve been assigned. The largest style of suite, it has a long hallway leading to a combined sleeping and lounging area. Our particular space faces the interior atrium and the garden bed, with its forest of ferns, is at eye level, giving our bolthole a subterranean vibe. Tucked around the corner is the huge bathroom with one of those pool-sized half-egg baths that must take most of the evening to fill, plus two rainshower heads and full-sized bottles of Aesop products attached to the cool, slate-grey walls. (My only problem with the room is the lack of make-up mirror: the overhead lighting is dim enough to turn my blusher into a weapon that could in one sweep transform ordinary women into drag queens.)

It’s the sort of place you could pick around for hours – checking out the original artworks, sitting on all the different seats (a Fifties-style kitchen chair covered in fluffy faux fur acts is tucked beneath a sideboard doubling as a work bench), running your hands over the textures of the linen bathrobes, the smooth glass water pitcher by Amos Enders-Moje and the clay rendered walls.

When Ms Smith finally arrives, I have fallen in love with a simple raw pottery cup with just a sliver of gold glazing around its lip. It’s holding sugar for the plunger coffee I’ve just made and two old-fashioned souvenir teaspoons. More than 60 artists, designers and curators have been involved in pulling the hotel together, so this was the first of many weekend love affairs with inanimate objects (not like that ­– get your mind out of the gutter).

We don’t get to try Monster Kitchen ­– chef Sean McConnell is brothers with Andrew and Matt, who are doing some mighty fine things in Melbourne ­– since it’s booked both nights we’re there, but breakfast on Sunday morning is a quiet, lingering affair.

Instead we explore the precinct, where there are a number of excellent eateries, including the industrial-inspired A Baker, and we have a nightcap in the bar area of Monster, perched on a cutesy loveseat watching Canberra’s bold and beautiful come and go. On Saturday night, post-Turrell exhibition, we head to the happening neighbourhood of Braddon, stopping for a drink at the BentSpoke Brewing Co before having an excellent meal – complete with banoffee pie topped with a birthday sparkler ­– at Eightysix.

The only mix-up comes when we go to drink a bottle of riesling from the minibar on Saturday afternoon and the one we drank the night before hasn’t been replaced. It seems that as you get older you probably shouldn’t play with the bedside iPad. Somehow I’d managed to turn on the Do Not Disturb signal, so we’d been left to our own devices. A call to reception induces a flurry of replacements ­– bottles of wine, fresh glasses, another teacup (in case we want a cuppa when we get home, which, in fact, we do).

‘Do you think if we pushed all the furniture against the door they’d just leave us here,’ I ask Ms Smith when we awake on Sunday morning.

‘Don’t you think that would spoil the effect?’ she replies. Indeed, it would. And besides, we’d never be able to smuggle in another bottle of riesling.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Hotel Hotel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The fit out - everyone says it, but it's a striking building, full of quirks and with beautiful finishes (special mention of the bathrooms) but also entirely practical and full of everything you might need or want (Aesop toiletries anyone?). The beds are deliciously comfortable and the airconditioning is quiet and actually works (i.e. only comes on when needed). Monster - the food is sensational (particularly the beef tartare and the yabby jaffle) and the drinks are excellent also. The staff - helpful, friendly, attentive and a little bit cheeky so we all have fun. What more could one want? Lucky's Speakeasy - great little bar with delicious drinks, a good looking space and fun people. Mocan and Green Grout - lovely food and gooooood coffee, but prepared for surly waitstaff and to wait for a table. Highball Express - plantation house style bar on the top floor of the Melbourne Building, with a vast array of rums and bartenders who know how to use them.

Don’t expect

Huge rooms (unless you're in a suite) - they're certainly not cramped, but are definitely snug. Good thing the design means there's room for everything!

Rating

Stayed on 4 Feb 2017

We loved

The breakfast. Great coffee at Mocan and Green Grout

Don’t expect

Rooms are a bit dark

Rating

Stayed on 13 Aug 2016

We loved

The bathroom was absolutely amazing. Also the lounge was great for drinks and relaxing. Over the road, A Baker was great for lunch. Monster was fantastic for dinner but also for a mid afternoon snack. 

Don’t expect

To not want to come back!

Rating

Stayed on 12 Aug 2016

We loved

The bikes, the lake.

Don’t expect

A big room.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Aug 2016

We loved

The Service, the food (especially at Monster!), the design and general vibe of the hotel. Loved being able to borrow the bikes. The service was perfect, everyone was really helpful, friendly and attentive. Hotel Hotel is really cool without the attitude. There were lots of great food offerings around and the hotel team made great recommendations. It was also fun borrowing the bikes to get around (e.g. rode to the galleries, Parliament House etc), it's such an easy city to ride around. Went to a couple of great bars, Molly's was a fun, cool underground bar with a speakeasy feel.

Don’t expect

Nothing, we love it.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Apr 2016

We loved

Location, Bicycles, breakfast, yoga. Recommend Palace movie theatre, mocan

Don’t expect

Light

Rating

Stayed on 12 Apr 2016

We loved

This is one of the funkiest hotels we have ever stayed at. Our whole experience was first class from start to finish. Enjoyed dinner at The Pavilion brunch at A. Baker.

Don’t expect

Solitude, except in your room, this place is buzzing.

Rating

Stayed on 8 Apr 2016

We loved

Welcoming and charming staff; Great interior design. Vibrant scene. Some other great hotels around town, great restaurants in the area too. Lovely complex.

Don’t expect

... a quiet and relaxing environment. I thought housekeeping needed to be improved, and that it's a slightly too high price for what you get. 

Rating

Stayed on 18 Mar 2016

We loved

Recommend a visit to nearby Poachers Pantry - great ambience and food.

Don’t expect

To be able to see what is your room, the lighting was too low.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Feb 2016

We loved

Aesop amenities, comfy bed. Recommend Monster kitchen and bar, Stripey Sundae and Aubergine restaurant. 10/10

Don’t expect

Space

Rating

Stayed on 29 Jan 2016

We loved

The Meandering Room and its features, friendly service, location, devotion to sustainability, Monster Restaurant, ease of accessibility to Canberra's key spots, including a lake amble in gentle rain, ease of navigation throughout the complex, ambience – all of it, really!

Don’t expect

to be disappointed – you won't be.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Dec 2015

We loved

Hotel design and unique fitout. Nine out of 10. Great place for breakfast across the road called A. Baker

Don’t expect

Lots of room or kid friendly.

Rating

Stayed on 3 Oct 2015

We loved

The decor, toiletries and food

Don’t expect

Bright lighting in the rooms

Rating

Stayed on 24 Sep 2015

We loved

The overall design is fabulous. Very on trend combination of raw concrete, recovered timber and steel. Dramatic entrance. Good shower. Nine out of 10.

Don’t expect

Don't expect anybody to know why it is called Hotel Hotel. Staff have no idea (I asked) and most people seem to think it was a typo sent to a design house in India and then printed, uncorrected till it was too late to change. Design over logic? I thought the bedroom unexpectional; perhaps someday designers will find an alternative to gloom as a design theme. Again concrete but I personally thought the lighting was appalling. Electric blinds make sense but why do you have to hold the button constantly? Pretty much every car can manage single touch raise and lower of windows, which I prefer. Compared to the public areas I found the rooms disappointing.

Rating

Stayed on 17 Sep 2015

We loved

The decor, architecture and food.

Don’t expect

Exemplary service. It ranged from poor to good, but the average was mediocre.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Aug 2015

We loved

Location, lobby design, modern rooms.

Don’t expect

Plush luxury, easy parking.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Aug 2015

We loved

The funky decor. Seven out of 10.

Don’t expect

To see daylight: rooms and entire hotel are incredibly dark. We had booked a Meandering room which is the largest but asked to be moved after two nights as there seemed to be no natural light; I found the bathroom lighting really poor also. Little things I thought were not right, like no iPhone dock, not enough power points, kettle doesn't fit under tap. I thought the service in hotel bar and resturant not good.

Rating

Stayed on 19 Jul 2015

We loved

The quirky design of the interiors, beautiful Aesop products in the bathroom, the excellent restaurant/bar downstairs (we ate here for every meal!), the convenience of having a cinema in the building and th free bicycle hire.

Don’t expect

Free parking, or the bikes to have gears (but Canberra is flat so you don't need them anyway!)

Rating

Stayed on 20 Jun 2015

We loved

The architecture/interior design of the main floor public spaces Food offer was right out there.

Don’t expect

Don't book an internal room.

Rating

Stayed on 3 Jun 2015

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