Canberra, Australia

Ovolo Nishi

Price per night from$128.49

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 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD200.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


New York via NewActon


Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin

Canberra hotel Ovolo Nishi doesn’t do things by halves: expect the most dazzling design, the most capital location and the most wonderful staff. The hotel is the latest addition to the NewActon cultural precinct, a hotbed of creative energy that's home to brilliant dining spots – and the hotel's own eatery Monster Kitchen has taken a huge step towards ethical eating with its meat-free menu.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

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


Photos Ovolo Nishi facilities

Need to know




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


Double rooms from £115.22 (AU$220), including tax at 10 per cent.

More details

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


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.


Accepted, but not particularly catered to.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel's restaurant Monster Kitchen favours plant-based cuisine, and they work with local suppliers to create healthful, ethical seasonal dishes.

Food and Drink

Photos Ovolo Nishi 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

Monster Kitchen may sound scary, but it's a good soul at heart – the menu is completely meat-free, so veggies can dine with abandon here, although carnivores will also be tempted by the seasonal, riotously flavourful fare.It spreads out over four spaces constructed of woven concrete lintels. Of these, the Mosaic Room is hung with colourful modern artwork and the Salon and Dining rooms weave a tale of Australian immigration. Eats are imaginative with unique pairings of ingredients, offerings change seasonally, but expect to try dishes such as wild-mushroom karaage with smoked-tomato relish, grilled head of cauliflower with macadamia satay and fermented chilli sambal, or twice-cooked new potatoes with vichysoisse. 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 11am; bar snacks are served from 2pm until 10.30pm; and dinner runs from 6pm to 10.30pm on Thursdays only. The last drinks are mixed at 10.30pm.

Room service

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


Photos Ovolo Nishi location
Ovolo Nishi
25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra ACT 2601

Ovolo Nishi is set in Canberra’s coolest patch, the NewActon precinct, a trendy cluster of cafés, restaurants, shops and urban spaces just 1km from the CBD.


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


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 Ovolo Nishi’s bar and lounge; expect the same emphasis on fresh produce, quality suppliers and crowd-pleasing flavours, delivered with relaxed panache.


Photos Ovolo Nishi reviews
Carrie Hutchinson

Anonymous review

By Carrie Hutchinson, Antipodean article writer

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, Ovolo Nishi, 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.

Price per night from $128.49

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