Australia Travel Guide
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.
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Ayers Rock Resort in Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia
Travelers who come to Australia's Northern Territory to walk amongst the peculiar red rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta will find that they have one choice when it comes to lodging: The Ayers Rock Resort.
Sounds like trouble, but luckily the Ayers Rock Resort breaks down into four different hotels, each with its own vibe, service-level, and pricepoint: The $2,000+ per night Longitude 131, the 3.5-star Outback Pioneer Lodge, the 4.5-star Desert Gardens Hotel, and the 5-star Sails in the Desert. Each are located less than a 5-minute shuttle ride from one another, and while the four carry different brands, they are all connected under the same umbrella of the Ayers Rock Resort. Meaning, you can eat, drink, and play at any of the hotels and charge back to whichever room you occupy.
Seeing as how Uluru is over a 100 miles from the next nearest town and has no infrastructure outside the hotel (there is a community of aboriginals, but you need a permit to enter), you have no choice but to hang at the Ayers Rock complex. Most of your time will be spent touring the outback and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - it's why you came - but when it's time to rest at the end of the day, there's plenty of variety for eating and drinking, from white tablecloth dining to noodles from "Ayers Wok." But the most unique, without question, is probably the least sexy place on the complex, the Pioneer BBQ and Bar, where you can grill your own game meats, including kangaroo.
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Last time we checked in with W Hotels' plans to relaunch the brand down under, Melbourne was the city to be rumored in the running for W's return to Australia (W once had a property in Sydney for a few years in the early aughts.) That fell through, so the folks over at W decided that Oz'z third largest city, Brisbane, would be the perfect place. Hence W Brisbane, opening in 2018.
In an announcement last week, W said the hotel would be a par of a brand spanking new building complex on the western side of the central business district, just steps from the city's namesake river. The entire development will result in three tower rising from the ground, with W Brisbane staking claim to one of them; the other two will be office spaces and luxury high-rise living.
Earlier this week, we told you about all of the "eco-action" going on at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Australia's Fraser Island and now it's time to reveal the inventive menu at the resort's fine-dining restaurant, Seabelle.
The restaurant takes its inspiration from the traditional land owners--the Butchulla--who used everything from the smallest of fruits, berries and seafood to sustain the many families calling ‘K’Gari’ (Fraser Island) home; in other words: "bush-tucker" cuisine. This concept is translated into a menu of familiar main ingredients with accents of native spices and flavors that are unique to this part of the world.