There really is something about Canberra. No, I’m serious! I know, it’s got a rep as BoringTown (which is saying something, coming from Adelaide) but, just like Adelaide, Canberra is full of friendly people, cool spots to eat and drink, and gorgeous little spots to just watch the world go by. But, as always, you have to be open to it.
On the weekend I was lucky enough to head over to Canberra, our nation’s small but lovely capital city, for a girlfriend’s Hens Day. I hadn’t been to Canberra since I was a teenager, and I was super excited to have the opportunity to explore as a grown-up. And, let’s be honest, I was psyched for a girls weekend – and for a solo stay in a groovy hotel where I could chill and have some alone time. The QT Hotel was the perfect place to do this.
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The coolest hotel in Canberra?
For a political nerd such as myself, the QT Canberra was so much fun to stay in. There are so many little touches to take note of, from hilarious quotes from Australian politicians on the key cards, to the kaleidoscopic wallpaper design made up of images of different politicians. When you walk into the elevators, there’s a mural of a photographer on the mirror. A paparazzi moment!
There’s a really cool bar on the ground floor, Lucky’s Speakeasy, and the Capitol Bar and Grill is in the same area serving delicious food. When I arrived on Friday night, the whole place was very much in full swing and it looked like an awesome place to spend an evening. From the website: “Shake hands, kiss babies, and get toasty in the best bar Canberra has to offer. This iconic Canberra bar is the perfect setting for you to get sauced in secret. A private hideaway for those wanting to take the edge off a long day in the trenches with a fully stocked bar and a fully loaded bar snack menu. A carefully curated DJ set list that is as well researched as your latest press release means that this is the Goldilocks of cocktail bars – not too hot and not too cold. Just right.”
The QT Hotel location
You’ll find the QT at 1 London Cct, Canberra. While it’s not technically in the heart of the action of the CBD, it is a very short walk away (5-10 minutes tops). I enjoyed walking across to Civic to go grab a mid-morning coffee and check out some shops.
Because of its city fringe location, catching an Uber or taxi is super easy. There’s a cute waiting area at the front of the hotel and your driver will just pull in and collect you. No traffic, no hassles. Just in and out. Also, because everything is close by, rides are cheap (think $15-$20 in an Uber to the airport).
Checking in and out of the QT Canberra
Checking in is a breeze. They’ll take a $100 deposit on your credit card, which will be refunded at the end of your stay minus any charges you made to your room or mini bar items you consumed. I did the breakfast buffet both mornings, which I hadn’t paid for in advance, and ordered an extra coffee; I was refunded $36 of the deposit upon check out.
When I checked out, I sort of stood there like a lemon for a few seconds not realising we were all done. The process is easy and the staff know what they’re doing.
The rooms at the QT Canberra
The hotel has 205 rooms and suites. Because I was flying solo and sticking to a pre-Christmas budget, I booked the lead-in room which is a QT Superior King. This was absolutely all I needed. The room looked out over the city and there was a small balcony. I was on the 6th floor. Just like the rest of the hotel, the rooms are full of quirky political references.
The King bed was probably one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in – the bed was so soft and cosy it was like being hugged.
Because I was on my own, I just wanted to veg out a bit – lie around and watch TV, that sort of thing. There was no cable TV, just free-to-air. If you’re heading out and about this shouldn’t be much of an issue, but my family was recovering from a stomach bug and I’d had a pretty hellish week, so I did just want to lie around a bit and recover before all the festivities. There was a list of movies but I personally didn’t find any particularly appealing – a couple of new release blockbusters and then a bunch of movies I didn’t know anything about. A good rom-com would have been in order. When I first checked in, the TV wasn’t working. A quick call down to reception had them resetting the system remotely, then it worked well.
The room is equipped with a Nespresso machine and pods, as well as T2 Tea. The minibar is really well stocked (though pricey, as all minibars are) and there are all sorts of cute knickknacks for purchase too. What I really loved was the ‘Old Fashioned’ station in the room: a table set up with gorgeous crystalware, fine bourbon whiskey, angostura bitters, and instructions to make an Old Fashioned.
The bathroom was small and basic, but it certainly had everything I needed. The shower was roomy with a rainfall shower head, and the water pressure was perfect (you know how sometimes hotels have no water pressure? Not here!) Kevin Murphy amenities were lovely and the towels were super soft. There was also a very decent hairdryer (none of those pointless little hairdryers attached to the wall here) and more than one power outlet so I could plug in my straightener at the same time.
Breakfast at the QT Canberra
I’d read some reviews that said the breakfast was pricey, but on the first morning I paid for it as I wanted to try it for myself so I could mention it in this review. And I think of those reviews now and go, “whaaaat?!” The buffet is $25. If you go and order smashed avocado on toast and a coffee at the nearby hipster joint you will pay close to that, no doubt.
Being gluten-free, the continental options don’t suit me. But they’re there. Delicious looking pastries (danishes, regular and chocolate croissants) as well as a wide range of yoghurts, muesli, fruits and assorted cereals. Then there were assorted cheeses and charcuterie. And the hot breakfasts: the creamiest scrambled eggs I have ever tasted, bacon that had been char-grilled rather than just boiled or fried, chipolatas, the most delicious sautéed mushrooms, homemade baked beans, roasted and salted cherry tomatoes that were sweet and juicy, and rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes (these were incredible). Not to mention the coffee station with soy and almond milk options, and several kinds of juice. And of course the obligatory omelette station so you could order your eggs any way you wanted. For $25! There is also a barista on site so you can order a proper coffee at an extra charge.
On the second morning, I went out to a late breakfast with the girls, but I’d already eaten again at the hotel because I was starving, so I just ordered a coffee. I saw their breakfast and was very (I’m sure painfully) smug about my hotel brekkie.
Booking the QT Canberra
The rates at the QT are really reasonable for a city that can be on the pricey side. If you get a good deal, rooms start at around $120AUD/night. I paid a bit more than that (around $150/night) due to demand on the weekend I travelled. Even if the price goes up a bit, I honestly think this hotel is such great value for money.
If you’ve read this far and you’re ready to book your stay at the QT Canberra, BOOK HERE. Enjoy your stay (I know you will) and let me know your thoughts on the hotel in the comments below.