Previously called ‘Hotel Hotel, the place is so nice, they named it twice’, you’ll think, walking into the hotel’s stunning, light-filled timber atrium for the first time.
Now bought by Ovolo Group and renamed Ovolo Nishi, this is a chic eco-friendly boutique hotel located in the heart of Canberra, Australia’s capital. Gone are the days of Canberra’s reputation as a stale town of bureaucracy and politicians. Cutting edge restaurants, world-class exhibitions, and stylish properties have put Canberra on the map as a top destination for a weekend away, with Hotel Hotel being my pick for a few nights of luxury in this capital city.
Opened in 2013 by the creative house Molonglo, and located in the arts precinct of Canberra, New Acton, this is a collaborative vision designed as a hub for creativity and artists. They have created a holistic hotel founded on the principles of sustainability, community, diversity and lifestyle. With its strong focus on sustainability, re-purposing and recycling, Hotel Hotel features locally sourced produce and foods, from honey produced on site to the inclusion of area craft breweries stocked in the mini-bar. It’s a place where recycled vintage furniture, repurposed wood and concrete merge to create a cosy hub of decadence, relaxation, and style.
Each of the 68 rooms are completely individual, designed to invoke a feeling of luxury and calm, reminiscent of the Australian landscape. Dim lighting sets the mood as you step out of the lift and walk into your room featuring a large bed made from reclaimed wood, exposed concrete architecture decor, and views through the window of the lush ferns and greenery in the hotel’s atrium. Think industrial chic meets hipster cool, with a generous dollop of indulgence. Natural fibres, recycled Australian wood, and a carefully chosen colour palette work together to create rooms that are not only architecturally one of a kind and quintessentially Australian, but also instantly relaxing and soothing.
The hotel’s decision to reduce waste by avoiding single-use plastic products is commendable and a refreshing change from disposable toiletries generally found in hotel rooms. Instead the bathrooms are stocked with full-sized Aesop products. Their invigorating scents, combined with the heated floors, rain showers, and large soaking tubs, turn even a simple shower into a lavish indulgence. Lounging around in my thoughtfully-provided organic cotton bathrobe, I felt like I was in a top-end spa, without having to leave the comfort of my room.
Technology is fully utilised throughout the hotel, without being overbearing-bedside iPads act as alarm clocks, allow you to order room service, and provide updates on hotel services. As I drift off to sleep, enveloped in silky cotton sheets, the chilly night outside in Canberra seems miles away.
A pre-dinner Manhattan by the fireplace at Monster Kitchen and Bar, the hotel’s contemporary Australian restaurant, sets the stage for the evening. The restaurant features locally grown sharing plates, perfect for sampling a taste of the region’s offerings. The menu changes with the season and I enjoyed a meal of local olives, Moonlight Flat oysters, black sesame mulloway, finished with rhubarb cheesecake, all fresh and flavoursome.
Dining amongst Monster’s mosaics, sculptures, and art collections, the eclectic atmosphere is equally suited for a romantic rendezvous, or a social gathering with girlfriends. Or snuggle in your comfortable bedroom and order room service, all deliciously served and plated.
Breakfast provides a rich and filling meal, made all the more delicious after a sleep in. Fresh avocado, poached eggs, homemade granola, or crumpets and honey, complete with Canberra-roasted coffee mean your day is off to a beautiful start.
Complimentary yoga is available to all guests at the on-site studio, Flow Yoga. There’s also bike hire, gym, the small hotel library, with a focus on art, design, and culture, and the Nishi Art Gallery, all within the hotel complex. Or, on a rainy day, catch an art-house film in the adjacent Palace Electric Cinema.
Expand your weekend of culture and relaxation by venturing out into Canberra, if you can tear yourself away from the hotel, with a stroll around Canberra’s National Gallery of Art or the National Museum of Australia. Consider visiting in September or October to stroll through the seemingly endless floral displays at Floriade, a colourful and vibrant yearly floral and entertainment festival that Instagram was made for.