I’ve been in search of a great place for a city getaway for a while now. Going home to Adelaide leaves me feeling obliged to catch up with as much of my family and as many friends as I can, to the point of needing a holiday to recover from my weekend getaway. Sydney is fun, but the price-tag isn’t, and the Gold Coast is more of a long-weekend destination with its 2hr+ flight time from Melbourne and long sandy beaches that beckon “stay a while”.
There is one city that I’m forgetting: Canberra.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve only visited Canberra twice. As the Nation’s capital and the location of Parliament, the city gets a bit of a bad reputation from Aussie’s as “boring“. Oh, how wrong they are (but we’ll talk more about that in my next post!)
As a city that primarily caters for mid-week business travellers, accommodation in Canberra is very reasonable on weekends and there was one hotel, in particular, I was keen to test out.
Staying at Novotel Canberra
Part of the Accor Group, the Novotel Canberra has one defining feature over other city hotels: a city centre location that is truly city-centre. It’s a beautiful property with light filled large rooms, a restaurant that focuses on local seasonal dishes at Arbre Bar and Pantry, and what I’m going to tentatively call Canberra’s best hotel pool, perfect all year round. Oh, and did I mention it’s walking (and biking!) distance from some of the cities best sights and food?!
I stayed in one of the spacious Executive King Rooms. Situated on the properties executive floor and modestly furnished with comfort in mind, the room comes with a king bed, large (and very comfortable) lounge/day bed, as well as a single plush yellow leather chair, perfect to rest in while enjoying a morning cuppa and newspaper. I want to take a moment again to stress the size of the room: it was huge compared to hotels in other capital cities, and even larger than most hotels in Canberra I had stayed at.
The beds were on the firm side, but still provided a sound sleep with the soft pillows and cosy quilt. One feature I really liked about the bed was the padded leather headboard and mattress base, something I haven’t seen in a hotel for a while. It is a perfect fit for their business clientele but gives a modern cool feel for couples, friends or singles staying for leisure.
In the room, you’ll also find a spacious desk (it’s just outside of the frame in the picture above), perfect for business travellers, with a range of charging options (socket, USB, etc.). There’s also a large 36″ flat screen TV which includes local and satellite channels, such as BBC, SkyNews and Fox8. Under the TV is a selection of magazines to peruse at your leisure.
While I wasn’t afforded much of a view from the rooms, just the city passing by below, the location by far makes up for it.
My favourite feature had to be the day bed. It was so soft you simply sunk into it, and the coffee table was perfect to pop my laptop on and work what to see in Canberra.
The bathroom is a modest size with granite laminate countertops (is that a thing?!) and double shower heads (including the all important rainforest-style shower head). There’s nothing spectacularly new about the bathrooms, but they are a good size and have exactly what you need. The Novotel Canberra also uses eco-friendly toiletries and soaps, a range of which will be stocked should you forget anything!
I love the Novotel Canberra‘s location! Located on Northbourne Avenue, a block from London Circuit, the hotel is within walking distance for plenty of great cafes and a veritable range of restaurants to meet any connoisseur’s budget in the Melbourne Building buildings and beyond.
For the days prior to my stay at the Novotel I was based on another side of London Circuit and it was a nice but long walk to the great cafes the area has to offer, so instead I drove (shh, don’t judge me!) From the Novotel Canberra, the cities most popular cafes and restaurants are a block or two away – perfect!
A future feature to look forward to is the cities new Light Rail (tram) network which will run from the City to Gungahin, including a stop right outside the hotel set to commence operation in early 2019 which will only help visitors access to the city.
Experiencing the wonders of the Palace of Versailles
Have you ever wanted to experience the magic and sheer opulence of the Palace of Versaille but haven’t quite made it to Paris yet? Consider instead a trip to the National Gallery of Australia to discover ‘Versailles: Treasures from the Palace‘ running until April 17th.
For the first time in history, the Palace of Versailles’ has sent some of the precious treasures overseas. It’s an incredible experience to discover the lavish and at times tumultuous period in French history in Australia, covering the reign of three Kings, their Queens and their mistresses.
The way that the exhibition is curated is stunning. From the grand golden gates to welcome you in through the gold gilded furniture of the palace and, finally, into the gardens. Some of the key pieces in the exhibition include Marie Antoinette’s harp and a massive carpet from the Grande Galerie du Louvre circa 1682; but my favourite is the ornate 18th Century birdcage.
For those bringing the children, never fear because the NGA has put together a free interactive program for them to enjoy as well in the NGA Play area.
Accor Hotels and Novotel Canberra are proud to be partners in bringing this exciting exhibition to Australia and are offering guests at their properties a deluxe Cultural Getaway package which includes;
– Overnight accommodation
– a Glass of French bubbles on arrival
– Buffet breakfast for two
– 2 x tickets to Versailles: Treasures from the Palace including an audio tour package
– 10% discount at NGA shop and NGA cafe
– Souvenir Versailles tote bag
Being able to collect the tickets at the hotel, rather than wait in line at the NGA, was such a timesaver because during peak periods the lines can be long! Rather than wait, I skipped the queue and headed straight into the exhibition to be immersed in the opulence.
While you can stay at any of Accor’s Canberra’s properties and take advantage of the package, make it a weekend to remember by staying at the Novotel Canberra!
65 Northbourne Ave
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6245 5000
Planning a trip to Canberra?
I was a guest of Novotel Canberra.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.
Photos 1, 4, 6, & 7 are the property of the Novotel Canberra and used with permission.