Ovolo Nishi is not your average Canberra lodging. The hotel (formerly known as Hotel Hotel) offers seriously cool digs, with luxurious flourishes and artistic flair that combine to create a youthful boutique hotel. Showcasing award-winning sustainable design, the hotel uses recycled and rejuvenated natural materials for common areas and bedrooms, with some rooms facing into the hotel’s internal atrium filled with a forest of Tasmanian ferns. The lobby houses a small gym, library, cocktail bar and the esteemed Monster Kitchen and Bar – with the raved-about kitchen serving up show-stopping dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Art Deco hotel occupies the bottom three levels of the Nishi complex in the heart of the NewActon cultural hub. Nishi is located between Canberra’s CBD, the Australian National University and Lake Burley Griffin, and is seven kilometres from the airport.
You can’t go wrong with any of Nishi’s stylish 68 rooms, which vary from snug to sweeping in size. Rooms that face into the atrium can be dark, adding a much-needed cosiness on cold Canberra nights. Prefer some rays? The light-filled sun rooms tick that box. Rooms are kitted out with restored 20th-century Australian furniture and original artwork that contrast beautifully with stark concrete and cork walls, alongside high-tech additions including a smart TV and in room iPad. Each of the rooms have a free mini bar.
Food and drink
While trendy restaurants of the NewActon precinct are close by, you’d be remiss not to grab a bite at Monster Kitchen and Bar, Nishi’s hip French/Japanese/Middle Eastern eatery. Kick your day off right with a bowl of porridge served with poached quince, halva and pistachios alongside a cup of Dark and Stormy tea, a special T2 x Monster blend. After a busy day of exploring the city, grab a friend and return to Monster for dinner. The menu is created to be shared; standouts are the hiramasa kingfish, a plate of roasted beetroot served with smoked Meredith goats curd and caramelised walnuts, and a flat iron Black Angus steak dished up with bone marrow butter. Don’t miss the cocktail list, which features inventive turns on old favourites; a must-try is the Manhattan by Night, which muddles Buffalo Trace bourbon, sweet vermouth and Sriracha bitters.
For business travellers
Nishi’s mosaic room, connected to Monster, provides a perfect spot for events of up to 60 people. Not only does it have all the business knick-knacks so you can keep on working, including fast wifi, whiteboards and notepads, the space has high ceilings, natural light streaming through large windows and an outdoor terrace.
For wellness travellers
Located on the ground floor, the hotel has a small gym with enough treadmills and weights to keep you active during your Canberra sojourn. Nishi also offers a daily yoga classe for free in the Nishi Gallery (times vary between morning and evening classes) as well as free bike hire so you can explore the city on two wheels.
The fab factor
The hotel’s show-stopping Grand Stair is made from timber salvaged from a demolished house, a basketball court and Nishi’s own construction site, turned into a dramatic piece of art.
SEE ALSO: A Family Friendly Guide to Canberra
Best for: Arts and culture lovers
Number of rooms: 68
Rates from: $249/night
Wi-fi: Fast and free
Parking: Valet parking is $50/night
Address: NewActon Precinct, 25 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra 2601
Telephone: (02) 6287 6287