Ask South Australians about their capital’s history and the first thing you’re likely to hear is that Adelaide wasn’t established by convicts but was founded in the 1830s by forward-thinking British free settlers seeking out new prospects.
The enterprising spirit of those founders is still alive and kicking. With 1.3 million inhabitants, Adelaide might be smaller than its eastern counterparts but, in October 2016, the city played host to Icebreaker16, the largest speed-networking event in the Southern Hemisphere.
With myriad co-working spaces and accelerator and incubator programs, it’s now a nexus for entrepreneurs. In 2015, tech titan Cisco declared Adelaide to be Australia’s first Lighthouse City, positioning it alongside pioneering tech-connected metropolises such as Barcelona, Chicago and Dubai. Recently, it was ranked in a KPMG report as the most cost-competitive city in Australia to do business. Punching above its weight? You bet.
For visitors, the best area to stay is the CBD (just seven kilometres from the airport), where most hotels and nightlife are located. Overall, Adelaide is easily navigable, with boulevard-style streets and a grid-like design encircled by 900 hectares of picturesque parkland. Its layout feels strikingly modern, even though it was conceived in the 1830s by urban-planning progressive Colonel William Light. And with $3.5 billion worth of major projects, including the recent Adelaide Oval redevelopment, the new Riverbank precinct and the state-of-the-art Royal Adelaide Hospital, it’s clear the city means big business.
Two years since opening, the Mayfair is still at the top of Adelaide’s luxury list. Aesthetes will appreciate Art Deco details such as bespoke mirrored cabinetry, crystal lamp bases and leather bedheads. The beds themselves in the 170 rooms are a particular point of pride: the owners tried 30 mattresses before creating their own. (They’re available to buy, too.) Hennessy, the swanky rooftop bar on the 13th floor, is the place to toast successful deal-making.
Business facilities:A small, private business centre sits off the lobby; one flight up, a conference space caters for groups of six to 150. A dedicated team is on hand to ensure logistics run smoothly.
Wi-fi: Free throughout.
Food and wine: Mayflower Restaurant and Bar serves revamped ’80s classics such as prawn cocktail, caviar with toast points, Caesar salad and chicken Kiev – a noticeable step up from standard hotel fare. Fun fact: the hotel’s executive chef, Bethany Finn, is a trainee apiarist who keeps bees on the hotel’s rooftop.
Fitness and wellbeing: There are free weights and cardio machines in the diminutive gym (open 6am to 10pm).
Run route: Head north on King William Street to join the River Torrens Linear Trail at Elder Park. Follow the river east, cross it at Frome Road and make your way back on the other side. It’s about four kilometres.
45 King William Street, Adelaide
Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury
This gracious heritage building, completed in stages from 1839 to 1907, has seen some historic moments: Australia’s first gold coin was minted here during the 1850s; in 1894, the right of women to vote in South Australia was passed in the first-floor Cabinet Room; and The Beatles escaped the crowds on their Australian tour in 1964 using the Treasury’s courtyard. Because of the history of the building, all 79 rooms are unique. The décor is tasteful – some with period detailing – and the one- and two-bedroom suites come with a fully equipped kitchen. Call in advance so housekeeping can stock your fridge and pantry before you arrive.
Business facilities: Of the four meeting rooms, the highlight is the antique- and artefact-filled Old State Cabinet Room. Hosting an event in the underground tunnels promises to be impressive.
Wi-fi: Unlimited at 512kbps; high-speed is $9.95 per day.
Food and wine: On-site restaurant Treasury on King William has seating that spills into the sunny courtyard and offers a casual breakfast and pub-style lunch and dinner.
Fitness and wellbeing: There’s an indoor pool, spa, sauna and 24-hour gym. The concierge can arrange an in-room massage for extra relaxation.
Run route: Bear east along Flinders Street until you reach the East Terrace parklands. Cut south into Victoria Park alongside the raceway before heading west on Halifax then north on Hutt to rejoin Flinders for the home stretch. It’s just over four kilometres.
2 Flinders Street, Adelaide; Book now
It’s rare for a hotel in the middle of a city to offer views from every room but the Hilton’s location on Victoria Square means it stands apart from other high-rises. Each of the 374 rooms looks out to the ocean or up to the hills. Executive rooms are well appointed with warm lighting and practical features such as oversized desks. The location is ideal for government and financial industries; also on the doorstep is Adelaide Central Market and buzzy restaurant strip Gouger Street.
Business facilities: There are 19 meeting spaces (including a ballroom), a business lounge, secretarial services and facilities for up to 500 residential delegates.
Wi-fi: Free throughout for HHonors members.
Food and wine: With its modern menu, four private dining areas and clubby, intimate feel, Coal Cellar + Grill is spot-on for business entertaining. Relax in The Collins Bar once negotiations are done.
Fitness and wellbeing: The 24-hour gym has great natural light, plus there’s a heated pool, sauna, spa, tennis court and 100-metre outdoor running track.
Run route: Go down King William Street to the South Terrace parklands, do a lap around Veale Gardens then head up Morphett Street and along Grote Street for a three-kilometre circuit.
233 Victoria Square, Adelaide
Peppers Waymouth Hotel
Since Peppers took over this 18-floor, 202-room property in 2015, it has become a firm corporate favourite. The sleek lobby is inviting and the guestrooms are airy and spacious. Deluxe Suites with luxurious spa baths are the top pick. Peppers has an edge, too, in terms of location: Waymouth Street is home to Press Food & Wine, Georges and Bistro Dom, which are all perfect for entertaining clients. And it’s a short walk to the West End’s hip laneway bars and eateries.
Business facilities: Two conference rooms each cater for 40 people, theatre-style, and Peppers can arrange audiovisual add-ons such as electronic whiteboards and microphones.
Wi-fi: Free throughout.
Food and wine: For relaxed, contemporary fare, head to Barketta in the lobby. Essay Kitchen on the first floor offers more formal dining.
Fitness and wellbeing: With a bank of windows overlooking the street, the heated lap pool is a soothing place to dissolve any work stress. A gym, sauna and spa complete the offering.
Run route: Cut west on Waymouth Street, turn right at Light Square and head across the Montefiore Road bridge. Over the river, go left at War Memorial Drive, hug the parklands and golf course then rejoin Montefiore Road back into town. This 5.5-kilometre loop is one of the few in the city that has hill climbs.
55 Waymouth Street, Adelaide
SEE ALSO: 5 Great Things to Do Between Meetings in Adelaide