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QT Hotels Puts the Political Moves on Canberra

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  Site Where: 1 London Circuit, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 2601
May 13, 2014 at 9:09 AM | by | ()

Having seen just how stylish the staff at QT Sydney looked (not to mention the hotel itself), we couldn’t leave the Australian capital Canberra without popping into the brand new QT Canberra, which opened mere weeks before we walked in on a sparkly sunny Southern Hemisphere autumn-in-April day.

Taking the canvas of the former Rydges Lakeside hotel, QT went to town and transformed the 15-story building on Canberra’s London Circuit into something completely different; our local friends told us it was unrecognizable - and much improved - in its new incarnation. Canberra being the heart of the Australian government, and the hotel having seen its fair share of high-profile guests and hush-hush dealings, political references are plenty – from the live Twitter wall at reception to the politicians’ portraits and wallpaper on the ground floor. Check out the new look of the guestrooms, restaurant, terrace, and speakeasy-style bar below.

Structurally, the building hasn’t changed, so the 205 guestrooms (one of which is a two-bedroom apartment - the State Suite) are relatively compact, but well laid out. The design brings a neutral mix of whites and greys with the odd pop of color and some interesting 3D artwork on the wall. WiFi is free throughout the hotel.

The bathrooms are clean-lined and all-white, with a nice touch being the Mondrian-inspired water glasses.

Views over Canberra’s rolling hills can be pretty stunning, especially with fall foliage being on full display when we were here. Lake Burley Griffin is just a short walk away, and the up and coming New Acton district is around the corner, with restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

Going back to the ground floor, reception is to your left as you walk through the main entrance. Straight ahead is restaurant Capitol Bar & Grill, which is a large open plan space with a bar pretty much at the center of the hotel. The menu offers ‘bistro classics and contemporary dishes with an Italian flair’.

We liked the open kitchen, buffet corner and impressive-looking meat slicers, with the meat itself on display in a temperature-controlled cabinet with scary-looking chop-knives above.

The restaurant spills out onto a terrace at the back of the hotel, with in the far right corner of the ground floor a small barbershop, which, very appropriately, is the indoor entrance to speakeasy Lucky’s (below).

There is a proper entrance outside, but in the same style it’s relatively hidden – watch for the red neon sign and the light above the door. Inside, there are a number of areas that can be curtained off for a more intimate, booth-style experience. We were here during the middle of the day, so understandably it was empty, but during opening hours of 5pm to late Wednesdays to Saturdays, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s packed.

A Standard Room at QT Canberra runs at AU$175 ($164) a night on a weekend late May. Next up for QT are Perth and Melbourne; we’ll keep you posted on those too.

[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]

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