Australia's Capital Revival: The Hottest Canberra Hotels for Your Next Local Getaway

If you're looking for a city that's quietly confident and unassuming, Canberra should definitely be on your list. There's a sense of pride here, but not the kind that's in your face. Instead, it's a quiet confidence that makes you feel at home. Despite being the country's capital, it doesn't hammer you over the head with its importance.

The neighbourhoods here are spread out and spacious, yet they still feel intimate and pocket-like. And for those looking to get amongst some true blue Australian culture, you won't be disappointed. The National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia are two must-sees, and they're just the beginning.

Canberra, a once relatively conservative travel destination, is quickly becoming a hotspot for entertainment, dining, and tourism. As the city continues to develop its offerings, we are seeing a surge of stylish and trendy hotel players enter the scene. It's time to peel away the brown paper and string of the past and explore Canberra like the locals do. From boutique hotels with unique hybrid concepts to more luxurious corporate stays, there is something emerging to suit everyone in this evolving travel space. Come with Locay as we explore Canberra's hotel evolution and get ready to experience the capital's coolest neighbourhoods and hotel concepts to enjoy them from.

As you pull up to the Little National Hotel Canberra, you might take a second glance at the impressive, nearly seamless cube-like structure rising up before you. But upon entering the lobby, you'll quickly realise this compact and clever design is the perfect fit for guests seeking a modern, affordable luxury experience.

The rooms, located on the top floors, are arranged with smart functionality in mind, leaving a spacious ground floor for common areas designed with both business and pleasure in mind. With a muted, contemporary colour scheme accented by natural textures and earthy tones, Little National Hotel is incredibly stylish without trying too hard. It's no wonder parliamentarians are quick to book this smart hotel as their go-to when visiting the country's capital.

We love the communal lounge offering, with a'self-serve'  mini bar selection of snacks to be enjoyed in what doubles up as a communal working space and social wind-down. With electric fireplaces, views out towards Canberra's Capital Hill, and an impressive curving white staircase that is impossible to miss, this is the perfect space to help balance out the compact nature of guest rooms.

The hotel gives complimentary access for guests to the nearby Hale Gym, as well as a simple cafe serving up easy bites and an all-day breakfast. Open-air parking is also available on site for all hotel guests.

Hotel Realm

Canberra City

As one of the first five-star stays in Canberra, Hotel Realm has truly set the bar high for luxury accommodations in the city.

After a 2019 renovation, the hotel has emerged as a contemporary and sophisticated mid-sized business hotel with a touch of 1960's style charm. From the moment you step into the lobby, you'll be met with a soaring atrium and stunning art installations that showcase the hotel's mature nature and elegance.

Hotel Realm is the prime landmark within the vibrant Realm Precinct in Canberra's Barton neighbourhood. This suburb, just a short stroll from Parliament House and named after Australia's first Prime Minister, exudes an array of hip eateries, trendy cafes, and stylish bars that serve an impressive selection of global cuisine. One of the top-notch restaurants to check out in the vicinity is Louis, the iconic European bistro nestled within the hotel that's making waves with its upscale menu showcasing the epicurean delights crafted by Chef Ben Willis.

Throughout the week, Barton buzzes, with government workers snagging a midday caffeine kick and savouring the wide selection of trendy cafes. Every street in Barton boasts stunning, mature trees, enhanced by sleek contemporary office buildings alongside iconic government edifices and hotels. Despite its small population of just over a thousand local residents, Barton exudes an irresistible appeal to numerous visitors, with Hotel Realm standing as one of the top draws.

Ovolo Nishi

Canberra City

A hotel we love for its high style and unique direction is the Ovolo Nishi Artistic Hotel in the heart of Canberra.

The hotel's stunning botanical-filled atrium and meticulously restored furnishings are nothing short of impressive and perfect for those seeking a vibrant and creatively inspired hotel adventure. Showcasing eco-chic rooms adorned with organic materials and modern finishes, providing both comfort and opulence, this trendy boutique hotel guarantees an unforgettable city getaway. In fact, it's rumoured that more than 60 designers, artists, artisans, architects, and curators collaborated to craft this remarkable ambiance, resonating with tales of Australia's traditional landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

Located in the vibrant NewActon precinct of Canberra, Ovolo Nishi features a dynamic array of amenities and collaborative retail spaces. Within the precinct, you'll find conveniences such as a cinema, trendy bike shop, cutting-edge art gallery, hair salon, and spa. This buzzing concept and precinct ensure an exciting atmosphere day and night. Yet amidst all the energy of this precinct, the hotel never fails to pay attention to even the tiniest of details. It still offers convenient guest experiences such as bike sharing and access to their very own lively local farmers market. It's these simple yet thoughtfully crafted offerings that set this boutique hotel apart, immersing guests in the vibrant local ambiance and creating an unforgettable stay.

The hotel's restaurant, Monster Kitchen and Bar, takes a refreshing approach with their New World Vegetarian menu (that's right, carnivores beware), sourcing local and seasonal produce and focusing on regionality. The concept merges a classic French brasserie feel with Japanese-rooted flavours to deliver a menu and dining experience that's both friendly and refined.

When it comes to exploring the cultural highlights of Canberra, the Ovolo Nishi Artistic Hotel is the perfect base, with Parliament House 4km away and the National Gallery of Australia only 3km away.

Midnight Hotel Braddon


Bring on Braddon!

An intriguing fusion of acclaimed restaurants, vibrant cafes, and innovative retail spaces, this once-industrial suburb has been revamped by the creative community. Boasting hip coffee spots, niche boutiques, and a thriving farmers' market, Braddon is the trendy spot of the moment in Canberra. Farewell to the tired car dealerships and obsolete factories of the past, and say hello to captivating stores, lively bars, and the irresistibly stylish Midnight Hotel.

Created by renowned architect Fender Katsalidis, Midnight Hotel is Canberra's ultra-modern 5-star hotel, featuring unique art, sleek contemporary decor, and locally curated goods that are bound to leave a lasting impression. Guests can enjoy the on-site fitness centre, indoor pool, trendy bar, and restaurant. With daily room service and a cool complimentary minibar stocked with local treats and drinks, convenience doesn't get much easier. For those looking to slow down and enjoy a premium boutique experience, Midnight Hotel is a top recommendation.

The Braddon Merchant is the hotel's bright, modern Australian eatery, open for breakfast and lunch daily, with dinner reservations available Monday through Saturday. Reservations are recommended; however, walk-ins are welcome and make for a great start or finish to any day exploring this evolving pocket of Canberra.

The Hyatt Hotel Yarralumla

Canberra City

One of your most lasting impressions of Canberra could very well be from your time spent at The Hyatt Hotel Yarralumla.

Although it may not offer the most modern, typical boutique hotel experience, this stylish hotel holds such significance in the city's history that we can't ignore its time-honoured charm. Perhaps it's the elegant curved art deco architecture, the century-old rose garden, or the ornate high ceilings of the hotel's tea room that are frequented by both guests and visitors. This heritage-listed hotel experience transports you to old-world mid-century Canberra, where Australia's parliament and elite were busy shaping the nation.

The Hotel Canberra, initially known as Hostel No. 1 and now the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, was proposed in early 1921 and opened in stages starting in 1924. The hostel was designed to accommodate 200 Parliamentarians, dignitaries, and high-ranking Commonwealth officials, exuding an aura of elegant simplicity to enhance the public image of the new capital. With its various transformations over the years and the acquisition of a liquor licence in the late 1920s, the hotel evolved into the heart of Canberra's social scene, reaching its prime in the 1950s. Prominent individuals who have resided at the hotel throughout the years include global leaders and A-list stars attending capital city events. In fact, Australian Prime Minister James Scullin and his spouse relocated to the hotel in 1929 to weather the Great Depression, thus avoiding the costs of living in The Lodge.

One of the major drawcards of this older style of hotel is the 252 extra-spacious guest rooms, including 13 stunning suites—a size that's often a rarity in today's hotel scene. Boasting a well-appointed fitness centre with an indoor pool and sauna, a tennis court, as well as garden atriums and quaint historic porch areas, the property allows guests to spread out and enjoy the property's expanse.

The hotel is situated centrally on Commonwealth Avenue, connecting the city to Parliament House. Its closeness to Lake Burley Gryphon, a quick ten-minute stroll to the National Library, and a leisurely twenty-minute walk to the National Gallery highlight its unparalleled positioning. Located in the coveted Yarralumla suburb of Canberra, right next to Capital Hill, this desirable neighbourhood is famous for its picturesque streets adorned with iconic Art Deco residences and historic gardens.

Larissa Fuller
Sydney, Australia

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