Ballarat, Australia

The Provincial Ballarat

Rates per night from$116.91

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 (AUD170.91), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Gold-star stay


Historic Lydiard Street

Provincial Ballarat is proud of its past – but even prouder of its future. Set in a grand heritage building, this hip hotel stars stylish rooms, delightful staff and an impressive restaurant. Historic settings can feel stuffy – but not Provincial Ballarat, which boasts an admirable sense of humour. Take Lola restaurant, for example: inspired by exotic dancer Lola Montez, who toured Australia in 1855, and whose erotic ‘Spider Dance’ was described as ‘the most indelicate performance’ to have graced the public stage. This girl-power spirit characterises the hotel’s on-sale art collection, produced by local female artists. Appreciative guests can take one home with them (the artworks that is, not the artists).


Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

One signature Notoriously Lola cocktail – or a drink of your choice – each at Lola


Photos The Provincial Ballarat facilities

Need to know


23, including 14 suites.


10am; earliest check-in, noon. Both are flexible, subject to availability.


Double rooms from $116.91 (AU$171), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include WiFi and parking; breakfast (à la carte) costs extra.


This National Trust building dates back to 1909 and has had various guises as a pub and hotel. If walls could talk, we’d listen to these ones…

At the hotel

Free WiFi; collection of artworks for purchase; gym. In rooms: TV, WiFi, desk, air-conditioning, alarm clock, minibar, tea- and coffee-making kit.

Our favourite rooms

If you like the idea of peeping on Ballarat’s bustling Central Business District, opt for one of the bright and airy Balcony Suites, which earn their name via a street-surveying balcony.

Packing tips

Bring clothes you can go gold-digging in. Throw in a fob watch or a froth-of-lace collar, for good measure.


This hotel’s restaurant has disabled-access doors and adapted bathrooms. Some of the two-bedroom apartments are suitable for disabled guests.


Little Smiths are welcome, but the hotel reckons it’s best for teens.

Food and Drink

Photos The Provincial Ballarat food and drink

Top Table

Stake out snug, booth-style seating for maximum comfort.

Dress Code

If you want to match the decor, model blue and white (if you don’t – don’t).

Hotel restaurant

Named for the infamous 19th-century exotic dancer Lola Montez, who was born in Ireland but hustled her way across the globe, Lola restaurant champions produce from the region’s natural larder. The chef has devised a tempting menu: pick from dishes such as parmesan fondue ravioli with parmesan crisp, courgette and pistachio pesto; Western Plains pork belly with braised red cabbage, vanilla apple and cider sauce; and rosewater panna-cotta with rhubarb sorbet and praline. The dining room continues the hotel’s crush on blue-and-white and historic-meets-hip styling.

Hotel bar

There’s no bar, but you can certainly have a drink at Lola. The restaurant’s damn-fine wine list comes courtesy of Paul Ghaie (former Ballarat boy and the man behind Australia’s Blackhearts & Sparrows boutique wine stores), in consultation with local winemaker and sommelier Troy Walsh. Regionally sourced wines take centre stage.

Last orders

Lola closes at 3pm, Sunday and Monday; 10pm on all other days.

Room service

During the restaurant’s opening hours, you can order items from the full menu (huzzah) to your room.


Photos The Provincial Ballarat location
The Provincial Ballarat
121 Lydiard St N

You’ll find this handsome hotel in the heart of historic Ballarat city, in Victoria.


Melbourne Tullamarine and Avalon airport is 117 kilometres away (a two-hour drive). Let the obliging Smith24 team book your flights.


Ballarat station, which connects Ballarat to Melbourne and Bendigo, is just one kilometre from the hotel.


It takes about an hour and a half to drive here from Melbourne; the hotel has free parking, tucked away behind the back of the building.

Worth getting out of bed for

Begin at boutique basecamp: enjoy delicious food at Lola; admire the hotel’s art collection (buy a print for the folks back home, if you like); borrow bikes and go for a wheely good adventure around Ballarat. 

Spend a relaxed morning mooching around the hotel’s near neighbour: the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which is regional Australia’s oldest and largest gallery. For fine-weather al fresco wanderings, visit the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, on the western shore of luscious Lake Wendouree. These cool-climate gardens are divided into four scenic zones, decorated with mature trees, marble statues and colourful flower beds. Rewind more than a few centuries to mad-cap, mock-mediaeval Kryal Castle, which reveals Ballarat’s bonkers side. Get lost in the maze, watch a royal joust or two, explore the Dragon’s Labyrinth and reward little ones with a trip to the inflatable theme park.

There’s gold in them there hills – or there might be at Sovereign Hill on Bradshaw Street. This open-air museum is set on an early gold-digging site; go on an underground mine tour, watch craftsmen replicate 19th-century craftwork and enjoy a bite at one of the on-site eating options.

Local restaurants

There’s a buzz around Ballarat’s food and drink scene; find out why by having brunch at Yellow Espresso on Sturt Street, lunch at Forge Pizzeria on Armstrong Street North, and dinner at Hop Temple on Armstrong Street. For something a little more formal, head to Underbar on Doveton Street North. On Friday and Saturday evenings, this hot-ticket restaurant serves accomplished seasonal tasting menus for up to 12 guests.

Local bars

Toast your companion/s at Mitchell Harris Wine Bar on Doveton Street; if you like what you’re glugging, buy a bottle or two from the on-site wine shop to take home. As well as stocking its own Mitchell Harris Wines range, the bar raises (many) a glass to the wines of Central and Western Victoria.


Photos The Provincial Ballarat reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in Ballarat and unpacked their patchwork quilts and antiques, a full account of their country break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Provincial Ballarat in Victoria

Note to self: be more Lola Montez. This exotic dancer industriously high-kicked her way across the globe during the late 19th century, gracing Australia with her blush-prompting routines and adopting a novel approach to befriending the locals – she apparently whipped the editor of The Ballarat News for a bad review. While we’re not condoning acts of violence, we do champion Lola’s enterprising spirit – which the Provincial Ballarat has happily harnessed in its fabulous Lola restaurant. The latter seems in no need of a whip: it’s regularly packed to the gills with contented diners, thanks to the chef’s enticing menu of seasonal, local treats. Similarly, the styling merits rave reviews: a bright and breezy blue-and-white colour scheme and a felicitous interplay between contemporary cool and vintage flair. Aesop bath products, super-fluffy towels, minibars stocked with local treats, blissfully comfy beds and winsome staff are the icing on the lamington cake. There’s no better place to experience Ballarat, both old and new.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Provincial Ballarat’s Guestbook below.

We loved

We loved the proportions of this grand old historic hotel, beautifully fitted and decorated with a stylish and inviting mix of local antiques, velvet covered chairs, whimsical fabrics and wallpapers and local art. The food is definitely a highlight too! It's lovely and so indulgent to be able to eat a superb dinner followed by a sumptuous breakfast the next morning; the omelette with confit leeks and gruyère is unbelievably delicious and huge. Don't miss out on a sexy Lola cocktail, a perfect pre-dinner drink.

Don’t expect

Don't expect pretences or snobbish behaviour, this is a friendly country hotel refurbished to suit travellers who like the finer things in life but also appreciate a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff.


Stayed on 20 Sep 2019