CHECK IT OUT HO­TEL KUR­RA­JONG, CAN­BERRA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Asia -

THE fed­eral cap­i­tal’s re-en­er­gised ac­com­mo­da­tion in­ven­tory has been given a fur­ther boost with the re­open­ing of the his­toric Ho­tel Kur­ra­jong, sit­u­ated on the Na­tional Cir­cuit in Bar­ton, within walk­ing dis­tance of Par­lia­ment House.

The her­itage-listed prop­erty was a favourite of post-World War II prime min­is­ter Ben Chi­fley, who es­chewed of­fi­cial digs at The Lodge to live in the Kur­ra­jong, and suf­fered a fa­tal heart attack in the ho­tel in June 1951. Dat­ing back to the birth of Can­berra, and de­signed by the com­mon­wealth’s then chief ar­chi­tect John Smith Mur­doch (who also de­signed old Par­lia­ment House), the ho­tel is to­day jointly owned by the NRMA and TFE Ho­tels.

Orig­i­nally in­tended as a hos­tel for public ser­vants mov­ing up from Mel­bourne, the Kur­ra­jong is con­sid­ered a fine ex­am­ple of early com­mon­wealth ar­chi­tec­ture and while the five-month re­fur­bish­ment has pre­served the prop­erty’s many his­toric as­sets, in­clud­ing deep ve­ran­das and ra­di­at­ing court­yards, the ho­tel’s 147 gue­strooms and suites have been brought bang up-to-date. There are 26 her­itage-listed rooms, four ex­ec­u­tive suites, four bal­cony rooms and eight ter­race rooms. Dec­o­rated in soft blues and taupe, each new-look gue­stroom fea­tures a cof­fee ma­chine, iPod dock­ing sta­tion, wall-mounted flat-screen telly and Zam­belli bath­room ameni­ties.

The ho­tel’s gar­dens are note­wor­thy, orig­i­nally es­tab­lished by Thomas Charles We­ston, su­per­in­ten­dent of Can­berra’s Parks and Gar­dens, and most of his 1920s plant­ings re­main.

A stroll in the his­toric gar­dens of Old Par­lia­ment House af­ter grab­bing a take­away cof­fee from the ho­tel’s barista.

Chi­fley’s Bar & Grill has also had a makeover and un­der ex­ec­u­tive chef Michael Chatto spe­cialises in prime aged beef. The stand-alone steak menu, list­ing weight and mar­bling ra­tios and of­fer­ing about 20 spe­cial­ist cuts in­clud­ing Wagyu and Cape Grim An­gus, should prove a hit with pol­lies on the nearby hill. Chatto has also had a hand in stock­ing the in-room mini­bars, which are filled with gin­ger beer brewed in-house and bil­tong cured in the ho­tel kitchen.

Aubergine (18 Barker Street, Grif­fith); Mo­can & Green Grout (1/19 Mar­cus Clarke Street, NewAc­ton South).

Ho­tel manager Rob McKenna sug­gests a game of cro­quet on the lawns over­look­ing the ho­tel, or re­lax­ing in Chi­fley’s Bar with a 1920s-in­spired cock­tail while en­joy­ing a clas­sic read from the ho­tel’s li­brary.

Rooms from $220. More: tfe­ho­tels.com.

Ad­ina Apart­ment Ho­tel Ade­laide Trea­sury; St Er­min’s Ho­tel, West­min­ster; The Ho­tel Wind­sor, Mel­bourne.

CHRISTINE McCABE

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