CHECK IT OUT HOTEL KURRAJONG, CANBERRA
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.