Hotel Hotel is Australia's 'best boutique city hotel'

Hotel Hotel, General Manager, Tracy Atherton in the hotel's reception and bar. The establishment in the Nishi building, New Acton, has won a Gourmet Traveller award for best boutique hotel.
Hotel Hotel, General Manager, Tracy Atherton in the hotel's reception and bar. The establishment in the Nishi building, New Acton, has won a Gourmet Traveller award for best boutique hotel. Photo: Graham Tidy

It's got the quirky name, the buzzing location in NewActon and a cool aesthetic but now HotelHotel has also been named Australia's best boutique hotel.

The award came last night from the magazine Gourmet Traveller, which also named East Hotel in Kingston and Diamant Hotel, across the road from Hotel Hotel in NewActon, in its top 50 hotels. 

General manager Tracy Atherton said the award was so unexpected that she and her colleagues were still trying to figure out what category they might be nominated in when they went to the ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday night.

The HotelHotel bar
The HotelHotel bar Photo: Jeffrey Chan

"We're very honoured, not just for us but for Canberra," she said.

Ms Atherton said HotelHotel was part of a renaissance in Canberra's hospitality scene.

"Canberra's going through a little bit of a revival in terms of the hotels, the wine, the food, if you think about the great wineries in our region, there are so many great places to visit," she said.

HotelHotel
HotelHotel Photo: Jeffrey Chan

"It's getting more buzz about where to stay, where to eat and dine."

The magazine praised brothers Nectar and Johnathan Efkarpidis, the developers who created the hotel, for "remind[ing] us how thrillingly unique a character hotel can be", saying the hotel was "so intriguingly layered with ideas, artworks and objets that guests are left gaping in wonder". 

Hotel Hotel has 68 rooms in the timber-veiled Nishi building in NewActon, all of them designed to be interesting and unusual. The hotel bar is a hotspot for post-work drinks among the Canberra office crowd.

A wall of Indian luggage trunks make a striking feature at HotelHotel
A wall of Indian luggage trunks make a striking feature at HotelHotel Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Ms Atherton said 56 designers and three architects had collaborated on the project. "We brought in many, many different talents from around Australia to create the hotel. It's also the detail that Johnathan and Nektar had in designing it. There are stories everywhere."

It was opened in November last year to play host to Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was due to attend a Canberra centenary event in his honour, but Weinstein was a no-show at the last moment. 

There's also an arthouse cinema, Palace Electric, downstairs, a showstopping reclaimed timber grand staircase, a downstairs foyer that's regularly used for art markets and fashion events, and a Max Brenner chocolate store coming in mid-June. 

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