Hotel Hotel is an incredible experience, not simply a place to stay. Its design is a crazy mix of textures and colours that fit together seamlessly. You feel like you're a guest in an art-loving philanthropist's secret hideaway.
The rooms are modest but well-appointed. Delicous cork & golf leaf walls, textured cement and well-thought design elements. Aesop toiletries add an extra touch of decadence. Views across the lake are lovely.
A note for business travellers, there's no desk in the room, so having a quick meeting or doing work in the room would be uncomfortable for anything but sending quick emails.
Also, there's no bath which is understandable when you look at the size of the rooms, but I like nothing better than a long hot bath when I'm away from home.
Staff are wonderful, it's done well, it's thought through. Do have a cocktail at the bar and gaze up through the glass bubbles to the tree-fern forest.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Hotel is a hotel. A place of collaborative craftsmanship conceived of and made by artists, makers, designers and fantasists. It is the brainchild of the Molonglo Group, an artisan led property development and creative production house.
The 68 rooms are dressed with salvaged and restored 20th century Australian furniture, original artworks stockpiled over ten years, objects collected in nomadic times, and artisan made furnishings. The beds are made from reclaimed oak, the walls are a mix of concrete, cork, earthen clay, and natural fibre wallpapers. It is a quintessentially Australian vernacular expressed through raw materials. A reimagining of the textures and layers of an Australian shack and landscape. Finishing touches include Aesop amenities and heated bathroom floors.
Half of the rooms look out of their opening hardwood windows onto the lake or bush; and half onto the internal atrium populated with ferns from Tasmanian forests destined for clearance.
The hotel's public lounge is a series of nested spaces made of woven rough-formed concrete structural lintels. The lounge houses the reception and concierge; a library stocked with small press and vintage books; two large fireplaces for people to colonise; and the Monster kitchen and bar with its Mosaic room, Salon room and Dining Room.
The Mosaic room is a triple height room filled with large-scale original artworks. The Salon and Dining rooms are an homage to post war immigration to Australia and the eclectic-kitsch tastes that came with it - shattered terrazzo floors and floral carpets, Greek oil paintings alongside German neon prints.
The Monster kitchen and bar wanders throughout these lounge spaces preoccupied with local and seasonal food prepared for sharing.
The hotel sits in the environmentally thoughtful pineapple shaped Nishi building within Canberra's arts and culture precinct, NewActon.
HH is connected to the NewActon precinct, its amenities and gardens, by the grand stair; a geometric explosion of salvaged local timbers. Scattered around NewActon are 39 HH managed apartments.
Hotel Hotel's service and character is given life by kind and curious folk who welcome people like they would to their own home.
The result of the collaboration is a hotel rethought both in terms of what it is, how it is made and therefore what it does.
It is a re-evaluation of the consumption culture that dominates much of contemporary design and manufacture. It favours the work of designer-makers, artists and curators who are invested in the authenticity, integrity and care of the well made. The notion extends to those people not generally cast into the designer spotlight but who are equally essential to the proposal.
The artist and the framer that framed their artwork so well. The tile maker and the tiler that laid the tiles with such care. The curator that collected the mid-century furniture pieces and reupholster and French polisher that restored them. The furniture designer and iron monger, brass worker and carpenter that made their design possible. The chef and the producer that grew the ingredients.
And the endless banter that goes with it all.
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