QT Canberra review: Weekend Away

Read our writer's views on this property below

Say hello to the new, sleek, designer QT Canberra.

THE SETTING

What was the iconic but dated '70s vintage Rydges Lakeside Hotel has morphed into QT Canberra, a sleek, designer establishment in London Circuit with wit and attitude. After a $6 million renovation and the development of the nearby precinct of New Acton, the rebranded property blends perfectly with its updated surrounds. As night descends, women in cocktail dresses, men in suits and ties, young fashionistas perched on vertiginous high heels, giggling hen parties and lads on the loose fill the black marble lobby and adjoining restaurants and bars such as the Capitol Bar & Grill and Lucky's Speakeasy bar. A few of them may even have access to the exclusive and private new QT Lounge on the 15th floor.

THE SPACE

Politicians have long felt at home in this hotel and have apparently taken its transformation in their stride. It is fun and arty, with the lobby wallpaper representing heads of states. Quirky portraits of politicians, lit by neon tubes, adorn one wall, and there are live tweets streaming on another wall and curated historical newsreels of major Canberra moments on TV screens. The old-fashioned barber's shop conceals a discreet entrance to Lucky's Speakeasy, already popular among hipsters.

THE KIT

After entering a junior suite on the 14th floor, the impression of a small room dissipates quickly once the curtains are pulled, revealing a long balcony and a view over Black Mountain, the Australian National University campus and Lake Burley Griffin. The bedroom has an adjoining sitting room with a double sofa and two en suites. Paired with neutral tones, the designer's palette of yellow, black and white is candy to the eye.

COMFORT FACTOR

The bed is comfortable, the airconditioning quiet and the noise insulation good. A desk is fitted with a multi-purpose technology board. There is free Wi-Fi and a large selection of films on stream. Also complementary is the Nespresso coffee and machine. The mini bar stocks an impressive selection of alcohol. Also for sale are sweets, mini games, toys and QT mementoes, including caps, slippers, umbrellas and bathrobes.

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FOOD

Food is a major part of the QT concept. The Capitol Bar & Grill, on the ground floor, is a fantastic and convenient option for dining. Top mixologists at the bar pour interesting concoctions. The dining room is a classy space, with an open kitchen and a work area. The restaurant serves Italian classics and prime cut steaks with the meat from Cape Grim, Tasmania, dry aged on site. Don't miss the amazing breakfast buffet, from $29 a person, including a large selection of fresh juices, yoghurts paired with different fruit coulis, a boulangerie with delicious breads, and any style and combination of eggs cooked to order and to perfection.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

A convenient footbridge leads directly to the path for walks around nearby Lake Burley Griffin. Take a stroll through New Acton and discover Canberra's new urban vibe, the Canberra Centre for quality retail therapy and the Old Bus Depot markets, on every Sunday in Kingston.

THE VERDICT

It is a luxury boutique hotel with a designer streak, whose pledge of offering an "intriguing yet relaxing experience" is fully delivered, along with service that shines.

HOW TO GET THERE

Canberra is about three to four hours' drive from Sydney along the Hume Freeway and then the Federal Highway, just after Goulburn. QT Canberra is on the edge of Civic, Canberra's central business district. It is about seven to eight hours' drive from Melbourne up the Hume Freeway and then the Barton Highway near Yass. There are regular domestic flights to Canberra from Sydney.

ESSENTIALS

Rates start at $155 a night for a standard room. Check the website for packages, including a ski package for $188 a night for a standard or twin room, based on two people, breakfast included. QT Canberra, 1 London Circuit, Canberra. Phone 6247 6244.

The writer stayed as a guest of QT Canberra.