travelling along North East Rd after dark would be hard-pressed to miss the newly built Walkers Arms Hotel. A glowing beacon of green lights, towering flat-screen TVs and a car park teeming with vehicles, the venue competes with the almighty eyesore of Collinswood’s ABC building and the golden arches of the local McDonald’s for prominence on this main city artery.
It’s hardly the place for a relaxing getaway, but what it does offer is an out-of-city pad for visitors – if being in the heart of Adelaide isn’t your thing – or an option for a fun night out with a comfy bed to fall into.
When the previous hotel on the site was destroyed by fire, the block was vacant for some time, prime real estate unused and unloved. But now there’s a whole lot of love as the Walkers Arms attempts to be everything for everyone.
There’s the accommodation, which ranges from deluxe to spa rooms to executive suites in which you can fold away your bed and hold a video conference call by day. Then there’s the downstairs bar, restaurant, gaming room and, of course, the buffet. This suburban marvel books out most weekends with two dinner sittings and a hungry clientele keen on filling their plates up with as many fresh prawns as they can manage.
But what the food lacks in culinary finesse, the accommodation attempts to make up for. The green theme is continued upstairs – the hallway walls create an Alice in Wonderland feel. On entering the room you might even think you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. The centrepiece of the gleaming white bathroom is a sparkling fishbowl complete with a goldfish. Who feeds this creature, we wondered?
Ours was the deluxe spa room, which cost more than a standard deluxe room, but the “spa” was simply a deep bath with jets, hardly functional for two people to luxuriate in at length.
On the plus side, the bed was plush, the room spacious and the flat-screen TV had a plethora of channels for my partner to flick through while I tried out the spa and checked on the goldfish.
The Walkers Arms rises well above most pub-based accommodation and is stylish, clean and very affordable. And while it might not be as convenient as staying in the heart of the city it offers a different view of our state – right down to the famous buffet.