Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel review, Canberra

Our rating

4.5 out of 5

THE PLACE

Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel

THE LOCATION

Until recently Canberra was itself a little akin to an airport hotel. It was serviceable, a tad bland and somewhere to stay as a matter of convenience rather than as a true pleasure. But Canberra, and for that matter airport hotels, have undergone positive change in recent times with the new $50 million 191-rooms Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel just one of several to invest in more challenging, architect-driven designs and facilities. The hotel is a short walk from Canberra's impressive airport terminal with the capital's Parliamentary Triangle, making Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel a viable accommodation option for both business and leisure travellers. Until recently Canberra was one of the few world capitals with an airport that didn't receive international flights. But that changed last month when Singapore Airports announced it would operate flights to Canberra, making the Vibe Canberra Hotel even more relevant. The airline will introduce four flights per week between Canberra and Singapore from September 20, with an initial schedule of four flights per week on a Boeing 777. There will also be a Canberra to Wellington leg, designed to link the two antipodean capitals.

THE SPACE

Designed by the Melbourne-based Bates Smart architectural firm, responsible for the Victoria capital's Federation Square, the hotel's main public space is its most impressive feature. The arresting circular atrium, the setting for the hotel's restaurants, bars and reception, alludes, a little brazenly, to Frank Lloyd Wright's groundbreaking Guggenheim Museum in New York. One of the most appealing features in the imposing main public space is a circular marble-clad fire-pit surrounded by custom-designed rugs.

THE ROOM

As unorthodox for an airport hotel as its bold architectural and interior design treatment of its public spaces may be, Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel's most conventional features are its rooms. Although perfectly pleasant, my "Upper Deck" room on one the hotel's higher floors has that familiar spare and transitory airport hotel-style, er, vibe. One and two-bedroom apartments are also available.

THE FOOD

Aside from these days punching well above its luggage weight in terms of top-notch design and boutique hotels, the national capital is per capita one of Australia's best restaurant cities. Inside the hotel's atrium is Helix Bar & Dining while several easily accessed Canberra restaurants, including Aubergine, Courgette, Monster Kitchen & Bar and Temporada, receive hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. But a real bonus of a stay at Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel is that it's a short drive away from the one-hatted Pialligo Farmhouse, a rustic affair in bucolic surrounds on the edge of the city.

STEPPING OUT

Unless you want to take the airport bus or a taxi, you'll need your own vehicle to get around Canberra. You'll find a suite of car rental companies at the terminal convenient to the hotel. All of the capital's major attractions, such as the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum of Australia, are within easy reach. Civic, Canberra's main retail and dining precinct, and fashionable inner-city-style suburbs such as Manuka and Kingston are eminently close, too.

THE VERDICT

What could have so easily been yet another anonymous airport hotel has become another welcome addition to Canberra's suite of design-driven hotels, a trend which can be traced to the opening of the visionary Hotel Hotel at the capital's cutting-edge NewActon precinct. It's hard to conceive Canberra ever becoming a major international destination for airlines but with the city so near, the Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel is a worthy accommodation option for visitors, even if they're aren't actually flying.

ESSENTIALS

Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel, 1 Rogan Place, Canberra. Ph: (02) 6201 1500. Doubles start from $135 per night. See vibehotels.com.au​

HIGHLIGHT 

The design of the hotel's dramatic public spaces is stunning with credit due to its developers for investing in quality architecture and interior design.

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LOWLIGHT

The rooms, which are not completely soundproof when the atrium is busy with revellers, don't quite live up to the promise of the rest of the hotel.

Anthony Dennis was a guest of Vibe Canberra Airport Hotel.