Australia Travel Guide
At last, we said last month, Ritz-Carlton Hotels is returning to Australia. That was following the announcement of a new hotel in Perth, part of a mixed-use complex with the usual residences, retail spaces, and restaurants. If that was good news, here is more: a second Ritz-Carlton hotel will come to Melbourne, scooping up the title of highest hotel in Australia in the process.
Just as in the country’s far west, the hotel will be part of a mixed-use project called 250 Spencer Street, where the hotel will have 250 rooms between floor 64 and 77 in one of multiple towers (something tells us the Sofitel Melbourne, between floors 36 and 50 in a tower nearby, is not happy about this).
For real. There is a brand of Aussie hotels who want to turn the tables and review YOUR stay and reward YOU for good behavior. Talk about opening a two-way street in the world of arm-chair critics that may or may not be rooted in truth remember this?
From April 17 to May 31, Art Series Hotels in Victoria and South Australia are performing Reverse Reviews on their guests and plan on naming and shaming those that act like Lindsay Lohan after receiving their room key. Just like the rating sites, the hotel will have an opportunity to reward their guests with 1 to 5 stars.
We’ve just looked at the basic amenities and services an airport hotel should offer its guests, knowing there is many an airport where you can get a really decent stay, but a total stinker may still be yours to deal with.
Luckily we found a lot of the good of airport hotels during an overnight at Rydges Sydney Airport. We chose to stay at the Rydges (for a second time) mainly for its location, knowing we had an international flight the next morning. The address being Arrival Court should tell you that there is no need for something as bothersome as a shuttle; all you need to do is cross the street and you’re inside the international terminal.
No fusty or dated rooms either; there are 318 of them in total, and all feature modern furniture, clean white sheets on comfortable beds, and proper soundproofing.
Back in November, InterContinental Hotels reopened the former Ritz-Carlton in Sydney’s Double Bay as its second property in the city, following a multi-year closure and renovation of the hotel. Many a hotel in the central business district, including the ‘other’ InterContinental, can give you the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House views the city is famous for, but back in the day the likes of Madonna, Bill Clinton, and Princess Diana all opted to stay here instead. We wondered why, so we made the 15-minute cab ride to Double Bay and peeked inside the Royal Suite to find out.
Set on the hotel’s fifth floor, the Royal Suite is a one-bedroom suite with living room, study, bedroom, ensuite bathroom, powder room, dining room, pantry, and option for a connecting bedroom. The contemporary design really worked for us, with pale herringbone hardwood floors, white walls, and dark wood – but the real draw is in the direction of the light streaming in through the arched windows.
Sydney is one of the first places on the planet to ring in the New Year, and along with a stellar fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge, the folks over at QT Sydney want to make sure that you have everything you need to ring in 2015 in comfort. All guests who stay on 31 December will get this stonking goodie bag filled with items that range from sexy to sensible and everything in between.
Last month, Starwood Hotels officially began letting guests use their smartphones to open up hotel room doors at 10 select hotels via the SPG app. Shortly after we learned that, Hilton Hotels came out with their own announcement that mobile room keys could be used in four of their hotel brands as soon as this spring.
But in Australia, one hotel has been using smartphone keys for like, two months already.
The Next Hotel in Brisbane opened on October 14, with guests using their smartphones not only as room keys but also to control the room lights, change the TV and order room service. The keyless entry and other functions all operate through the NEXT Hotels Smart App.
Here's how using your phone as a room key works at the NEXT Hotel:
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Well, today's the day (well, yesterday if you're in Sydney), that the public gets to truly see what a $30 million AUD renovation on a hotel looks like when The Langham Sydney reveals the fruits of their labor.
If you recall, the folks over at Langham acquired the iconic Observatory Hotel and operated it for a little while with the existing but fairly dated decor while they put time and thought into the full refurbishment. Now, we couldn't be happier they took their sweet time because the results are pretty amazing. Out went the dark wood paneling that was prevalent throughout and in came the light!
Australian hotel brand, Vibe Hotels, is tackling two things at once--expansion and rebranding--when they open their newest property next year, near the Yarra Ranges National Park, outside of Melbourne.
The new Vibe design is a far departure from the lime green and purple color scheme sported at other properties. Those dated hues are being traded for a more sophisticated and modern blue, which is more reflective of the local surroundings.
Tucked away near the Yarra Ranges National Park, this property will be a sub-alpine retreat that features local artwork and locally sourced seasonal produce in its new signature restaurant Radius Bar & Grill. Vibe's riverside location will also make for a perfect escape from the city, thanks to its jumping-off point at the state's pristine wilderness areas. Each of the 101 rooms will feature free WFi, modern design and even, local treats in the mini bar.
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Now that One&Only Hayman Island is up and running (the $80 million renovation wrapped up this summer), the brand is moving on to add another Australian property to its portfolio: it will manage Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa for owner Emirates from early next year.
Yes, that is Emirates as in the airline, with the hotel officially becoming Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. A few hours’ drive northwest of Sydney, Wolgan Valley lies within the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, built around an 1832 Heritage Homestead. There are 40 freestanding suites, each with private pool and outdoor terrace.
First things first: stealing from hotel rooms is wrong. Unless it’s the toiletries or the notepad-pen-pencil combo, you shouldn’t be doing that. You’re not an idiot, you already know that.
And yet many of you – 43 percent of Brits, or 35 percent of everyone according to two recent surveys – do. Ok, let’s be honest, many of us – I personally have filched a couple of towels in my time (NB: HotelChatter in no way condones this behavior and I’m not doing it to boast – just to say that the most honest people can go klepto in a hotel room).
To combat this, most hotels only go as far as those little labels on the bathrobes, letting you know how much they’ll sting you for if you nick them (or “if you wish to purchase them” as they so delicately word it). But a hotel group in Australia has gone one further: it’s drawn up a price list of the weirdest, yet most coveted, items, letting you know how much it’ll charge your credit card should you decide to take something.
We already knew that InterContinental planned to take over the former Ritz-Carlton in Sydney and turn it into the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, but today, we've got a few snapshots of the renovated, InterContinentalized space and it looks very sleek.
This bay-side sanctuary half-way between the city center and iconic Bondi Beach will feature restored rare white marble, Parisian-style balconies, a nautical-themed gin bar and an open rooftop retreat. The hotel's design, done by Aussie firm, Bates Smart Architects, will feature a neutral palette, metallic finishings and splashes of pale blue and yellow tones with each room sporting soft blue, white and charcoal furnishings against framed dark timber elements. It's classic decor married with laid-back Aussie style and topped off with a sophisticated European aesthetic.
When pinning places to go on your next vacation, hopeful travelers might be surprised to find that Adelaide, Australia is a perfect destination to explore a budding art scene and stay in a new hotel. The city has witnessed a few new hotels enter its borders, but The Watson will be the coolest addition to an otherwise sleepy city.
The Watson is the brainchild of Art Series Hotels (the folks behind Melbourne's The Olson, The Blackman and The Cullen.) Planning to open next week, the hotel will offer up 140 suites, an in-house restaurant and fitness center. If you just need to provide this cool address to friends back home, a few long-stay apartments are available as well.