Comforts of home

Where to stay

Stylish hotels turn up the cosy factor with open fires and warm welcomes, writes Julietta Jameson.

CANBERRA has blossomed as a cultural and culinary destination. Its hotels now reflect that vibrancy.

Of course, ACT hotels still cater for the endless parade of powerbrokers on government business. But the best properties are also adept at ensuring leisure travellers are made to feel comfy and welcome, too.

As a destination in itself, few hotels in Australia match the divine five-star Hyatt Hotel Canberra in the suburb of Yarralumla. A room in the historic 1920s section of the hotel, the first to be built in the city, is quite an experience in luxury - especially for art deco buffs - as original features have been retained.

Even the newer wings and public spaces are sumptuously glam, worthy of The Great Gatsby and perfect for pointing your pinkie at the amazing high tea buffet or doing a little eavesdropping over a martini in the fabulous Griffin's or Speaker's Corner Bar, with their cosy open fires and squishy furnishings.

Over near Lake Burley Griffin, rooms at the refurbished Rydges Lakeside have a crisp Parisian chic as well as panoramic views of the city and the water. Lakeside suites offer two bedrooms and bathrooms, great for couples visiting together or families (up to four occupants).

Rydges provides great access to lakeside cycling and walking paths. There is self-parking and a lovely lobby bar and restaurant - at breakfast, have eggs cooked to order.

For later in the day, huge wine walls tell their own story. Once the lights are dimmed and the jazz piped through, try to get a seat on the banquette in the fireside nook.

Style also abounds at hotels Burbury, Realm and Diamant, each offering a range of accommodation configurations in boutique surrounds.

But for families, few beat the Novotel Canberra where children under 16 stay free when sharing their parents' room.

Kids get free breakfast, a welcome gift and access to Kids' Corner. There is also late checkout - until 5pm on Sunday, so guests can enjoy a full weekend for the price of a Saturday night.

To top it off, the Novotel property has a huge indoor pool and spa that kids love.

Address book

Hyatt Hotel Canberra 120 Commonwealth Avenue, (02) 6270 1234;
Rydges Lakeside Canberra
Hotel London Circuit, (02) 6247 6244;
Burbury Hotel
1 Burbury Close, Barton; (02) 6173 2700;
Hotel Realm
18 National Circuit, Barton; (02) 6163 1800;
Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Avenue; (02) 6245 5000;
Diamant Hotel
15 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton; (02) 6175 2222;

This article produced with support from Canberra Tourism.