Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

 

Considering that I wasn’t actually staying at Hotel Hotel, I spent an unusually large amount of time there whilst in Canberra. Hanging out in hotel lobbies isn’t my usual past time of choice, but if you hear me out, you’ll understand why.

Greeted by a staircase of stacked recycled timber, it’s not just architects that look up with jaws dropped. Shooting timber lengths form the stair treads and wrap up the walls and ceiling. It’s a grand and dynamic gesture that marks the entry to the hotel.

The stair leads to the bar and lounge area which has been aptly dubbed “Main Street.” With brass chandeliers, a concrete ceiling punctured with round skylights, sleek fireplaces, leather lounges and shaggy topped stools, the aesthetic is a unique and luxurious take on the Australian shack. The space is high end but without the stiff, unapproachable feel of most hotel lobbies. As soon I walked in I had already decided that I was coming back.

Although all essentially one open space, between the leather sofas, banquette seating, large communal tables and stools clustered around small tables, it’s a place you can have drinks with friends, have a sit down meal or sit for hours drinking and snacking alone with your laptop.

 

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

 

One of my favourite parts of the “Main street” is the library run by Perimeter Books, a bookstore specialising in small run publications mostly about art, culture and design. Unlike other Perimeter Books outlets, the publications are offered for loan and not for purchase.

The hotel complex also includes a cinema, gallery, market style vintage and craft store, gym, bike shop, day spa and hair salon which are also open to the public.

I was lucky enough to be shown through a handful of rooms whilst there. Of the sixty-eight rooms, no two rooms are alike. Much of the furniture is vintage and the artwork has been sourced from a range of artists, with some pieces commissioned specifically for the hotel. There are a few common threads that keep the rooms cohesive. The interiors are dim with sumptuous textures including clay rendered walls, oriented strand board, woven grass wallpapers, aniline leather upholstery and polished concrete bathtubs. The theme of the Australian shack continues.

 

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

Hotel Hotel, Canberra | Yellowtrace

 

The Molonglo Group are the property developers behind Hotel-Hotel and they commissioned over fifty artists and designers to make the project happen (all of which are listed here). Rather than being a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, each contributor fulfilled a unique, niche interest. Of particular note, Fender Katsalidis were responsible the masterplan and the architecture, and March Studio for the staircase and lobby interior. The collaboration was co-ordinated by James Bichard of the Molonglo Group, to ensure each contribution aligned with the overarching vision.

This might be a sweeping statement, but I think Hotel Hotel is a significant cultural injection into Canberra at the larger urban scale. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sets the tone for more exciting urban developments to come.

Text by Ella Leoncio for Yellowtrace.

 


[Images courtesy of Hotel Hotel.]

 

3 Responses

  1. Lauren

    Oh my gosh, I loved it too, although I didn’t get to see the rooms. They look gorgeous. It’s worth visiting Canberra just for that precinct. I really hope that it spurs on more like this in Canberra, they desperately need it!

    Reply
  2. Richard Alexander

    the best example of design collaboration i think ever done in Australia, what a great developer to have a design driven outcome rather than budget, need more of it.

    Reply

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