Homes for the holidays
The best hideaways across Australia
EAST HOTEL, CANBERRA:
This privately owned hotel in Kingston opened its lobby-level Joe’s Bar this year, named for the Bisa family patriarch and with a discernible nod to the clan’s Italian heritage. It has become a neighbourhood favourite, much loved for its inclusive feel and hearty fare, and with frequent drop-ins from nearby Capital Hill when parliament is sitting. This must please the owners enormously as sociability is everything at East Hotel, which caters well to families with spacious guestrooms equipped with kitchenettes, cleverly concealed laundry facilities and all-white bathrooms stocked with organic Appelles toiletries in apothecary-style packaging. The monochromatic decor is brightened with bursts of mulberry and orange, teal and mustard, and retro chairs and couches have buttoned backs and Scandinavian lines. There’s maximum storage and facilities without sacrificing a sense of space across 140 guestrooms and studios, which even include connecting kids’ cubbies with bunks and beanbags, junior-sized furniture and Xbox 360s. The long foyer, too, is well conceived and welcoming, with clusters of seating, rugs patterned with big discs of colour and cruiser-bikes lined up for guests’ use. Perhaps a leisurely cycle beside Lake Burley Griffin and then settle back at Joe’s Bar with a sunshinecoloured aperitivo? More: easthotel.com.au.
THE RETREAT, LAKE HOUSE, DAYLESFORD:
It’s hard to imagine how the Wolf-Taskers — chef Alla, artist Allan and their daughter and hotel marketing whiz Larissa — could improve on this consummate Victorian lakefront hotel and restaurant, but they have. The residential Retreat operates as a hotel within a hotel; it’s a snug country house (sleeping two couples) that’s perfect for a midwinter escape with al fresco hot tub, and a courtyard garden where the fire pit seems magically to be always blazing. After a private check-in, cocktails and canapés are delivered to The Retreat where the elegant living areas are kitted out with comfy sofas and open fires and stocked with wine, magazines and books. Take a stroll down to the Lake House Salus Spa for a massage or peruse the restaurant’s outstanding wine list, perhaps pop up to the delightful Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens where lunch at Alla’s garden-to-plate cafe is about as far from The Retreat as most guests will care to wander. More: lakehouse.com.au.
Almost a third of Hobart’s holiday-makers visit MONA, the groundbreaking private museum on the banks of the Derwent River, but few will know of Hobart’s other hillside art house. Arthouse Salamanca is a 19th-century Marine Board cottage in beautiful Battery Point, a stroll from the weekend markets and MONA ferry. The quaint exterior conceals a canvas of convict-hewn sandstone and brick that artist Genevieve De Couvreur has transformed into a captivating pied-à-terre. The two and a half levels contain two queen-sized bedrooms, two indulgent bathrooms, an entertainer’s kitchen (complete with pantry essentials and el Bullí cookbook) and secluded terrace with sparkling river glimpses. There is art everywhere courtesy of De Couvreur, former wife of Charles Blackman and a celebrated artist in her own right, and her collection. It’s an exclusive address but babies and children over 12 are welcome, giving families the option of full immersion in the city’s cultural life. More: arthousehobart.com.au.
THE BILLI RESORT, BROOME:
A little bit of Africa arrived in Broome in 2011 with the opening of The Billi Resort. Amanda and Dave Treleaven’s boutique prop-
Clockwise from top left, Cremorne Point Manor, Sydney; East Hotel, Canberra; Eco Tent at The Billi Resort, Broome; Ocean House, Lorne; The Frames in South Australia’s Riverland