No visit to Canberra is complete without a bit of history, but those who relish being steeped in it might want to consider a stay at Hotel Kurrajong. Designed by John Smith Murdoch – the Commonwealth chief architect also responsible for Old Parliament House – the building opened in 1926 to house public servants laying the foundations of the new capital.
Over the ensuing decades, the heritage-listed property has lived a handful of lives; most famously as Prime Minister Ben Chifley’s place of residence, but also as the site of government offices and the Australian International Hotel School. Today, following a top-to-tail restoration in 2014, it’s a rabbit warren of old-world details and art deco accents with 147 rooms across two storeys, 12 of which have a balcony or terrace.
Convenience is a major drawcard, with Old Parliament House, the National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Australia all within a 15-minute walk – and the buzzy Kingston Foreshore precinct is only a tad further. Staying put is a tempting option too: on-site restaurant Chifley’s Bar & Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and the well-stocked back bar warrants exploration. On chilly nights, a glass of local red cosied up by the lobby’s handsome fireplace should prove just the ticket, while a sunny afternoon would be better spent in the intimate courtyard with a G&T in hand – mixed with the hotel’s very own signature smoked gin, recently launched in partnership with Canberra Distillery.
8 National Cct, Barton, ACT
Facilities: Prices from $239 per night for a Classic Room
Hotel bar: Yes
Room service: Yes
Free Wifi: Yes