Forget the roundabouts and bike paths, Canberra’s recent coming of age has seen our Nations Capital plant its feet firmly on the cultural map. Vibrant retail hubs, true cafe culture and award winning restaurants add to the myriad beautiful reasons to visit the Bez (Berra, The Can… take your pick. I’m an ex-Canberran so this is completely acceptable).
An easy 3 hour drive from Sydney in a fairly straight line will take you to the door of one of Canberra’s newest hotels, QT, who have put their signature quirky meets luxe stamp on the old Rydges location positioned perfectly between the spoils of Lake Burley Griffin and the city centre. This area, now known as New Acton, is the epicentre of Canberra’s cultural revolution – home to a swathe of amazing new restaurants, award winning architecture and easy access walking and cycle paths. The tagline “left of centre, right by the lake” sits perfectly with the ethos of QT.
Leaning into political incorrectness with tongue firmly in cheek, QT’s black marble lobby is equal parts sexy and fun. Be sure to get up close and personal with the “Poli Paper” on the walls – from a distance it’s rather pretty baroque inspired wallpaper, up close you’ll be face to face with montages of Julia, John, Tony, Kim et al. Love it. Golden elevators, quirky and surreal neon art add the finishing touches to the lobby area – with the personality laden touches continuing throughout the hotel.
Our suite offered extensive 180 degree views showing off a perfect juxtaposition of Old and New canberra; to the right Black Mountain tower, historic Acton, ANU and a forest of Autumnal trees dotted throughout… to the left the award winning Nishi apartments, Hotel Hotel and beautiful landscaped gardens. Well chosen furniture showed off some of our favourite brands with Pony Rider cushions, custom bedheads and Dion Horstmans wall sculpture are well noted. The addition of Malin + Goetz bathroom products are a welcome addition.
Being an ex-Canberran I was somewhat taken aback to find the lobby and restaurant (Capital Bar & Grille) absolutely buzzing on our Monday night stay – oh Canberra, you’ve come a long way baby! With cosy lounge seating and an extensively stocked bar sitting alongside the sleek and moodily lit restaurant, QT cater for any occasion from casual cocktail through to a belt popping three (four, five!) course meal. With a Robert Marchetti designed menu in full effect you know the standard of Italian-leaning fare is to be exceptional – our dinner hit every note with fresh as they come pacific oysters and a tuna sashimi salad, mouth watering eye fillet and my not-to-be-missed veal cutlet crumbed, topped with mixed wild mushrooms and truffle pecorino for good measure. Dessert is also an incredible affair and I will personally vouch for their take on ‘pavlova’ any day of the week!
Perfectly positioned to take advantage of beautiful lake walks, the best of Canberra’s museums and galleries or the city, you need not get political about deciding where to stay in our nation’s capital. QT Canberra clearly gets our vote.
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