Hotel Kurrajong Canberra was originally opened in 1926 as a hostel for public servants in preparation for relocation. The hotel has a wealth of history starting with the design of the hotel by John Smith Murdoch who also designed parliament house, to Ben Chifley (Australia 16th Prime Minister) residing at the hotel from 1940-1951 and dying in one of the room (don’t worry there are no scary ghosts..).
The hotel has recently been taken over by Toga Hotel Group (and NRMA) who completed extensive refurbishment, returning it to it’s original grandeur, with 21stcentury comforts carefully incorporated.
Arrival/First Impressions –
Check in went fairly quickly, I was provided with a map of the hotel as its very large and a little maze like (don’t worry, once you’ve made it to your room, it’s fairly easy to navigate).
On the left of the check in desk is a small seating area, its quite cosy with a small fireplace. I spent a few hours working on my laptop with a Latte next to the fire.
The lady who checked me in, walked me to the elevators to make sure I got there (it was a little bit away from the reception) and explained where breakfast was the next morning.
When I arrived at my room, it took me about 30 seconds to find any light switches were as it was pitch black and no lights had been left on.
I was booked into the beautiful Classic Room in the Jarrah wing, the room is the perfect size for 1-2 people with no unnecessary wasted space (and no I don’t mean its too small… I find most hotels have a lot of wasted floor space).
The large king size bed is extremely comfortable; I can honestly say I haven’t had such a good sleep in a long time!
The minibar is stocked with reasonably priced, useful items (such as nuts, water, soft drink and wine, as well as a few extra goodies). Included in the minibar is Vittoria Coffee Pod Machine (which is complimentary), it is very simple to use and instructions are provided if you are unfamiliar with pod machines, make sure to let the machine warm up first as my first day started with a cold coffee.
Entertainment wise, there is a wall mounted LCD TV , where you can select paid movies, free to air TV, check your messages, news and weather as well as connect personal devices with wifi connectivity. You can watch unlimited paid movies in a 24 hour period for $34.95 AUD.
The work desk would suit all your business/work needs, on the wall above the desk is a power point with 2 USB plugs, which is always really handy with so many devices using USB these days.
The bathroom is always my favourite room, the lighting in this bathroom was excellent (not dull like most hotels), it had ceiling lights as well as a very large mirror light as well! The shower was small but not too small and had double sliding doors making getting in and out easy and the shower head was a good size, not small and annoying but not too big (not that you can ever have a “too big” shower head). I would have liked to have a bath after a few days of walking 10+km around Canberra (next time ill pay for an upgrade to a room with a bath), however with that said the water pressure was perfect, it helped to relax my achy muscles and refresh me.
The Premium Zambelli bathroom amenities are excellent, in the past I have found that most hotel amenities dry my skin and hair out but Zambelli amenities actually left my skin and hair soft!
The 24 Hour gym is something I have been looking forward to checking out as I have recently become a little addicted to working out and I have to say I was a little disappointed as it was fairly small but had several cardio machines (treadmill x 2, cross trainer and exercise bike) as well as free weight dumbbell rack, it would be good to see a smith machine or something similar put in – it would be perfect then! This might be handy for long stay guests, you can usually get away with changing your routine for 1 or 2 days but after that it can be difficult.
Dining Options –
At Chifley’s Bar and Grill is located on the ground floor across from the reception, chef Michael Chatto serves up delectable dishes featuring an array of hand selected meats and fresh local produce with a wine list that boasts 120 local and international wines.
The night I dined in at Chifley’s Bar and Grill I had 5 courses!! (piggy I know!)
Crab with watercrest and watermelon with a wine pairing of Resling.
Shaved scallops in a smoked kombu broth, oyster mushrooms and kelp with a wine pairing of Chardonnay
7+ Wagye sirloin – cooked medium rare, with a side of green beans with eschallot dressing and onion rings (amazing!) with a wine pairing of Spanish tempranillo (red wine).
Raspberry parfait with raspberry sorbet, fresh raspberries, meringue and sherbet
Chocolate ganache, honeycomb, orange with rosemary ice cream
I enjoyed it so much that I dined at Chifley’s Bar and Grill on my second night and had:
Potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu
Black Angus Sirloin (cooked rare) with a side of onion rings.
I have eaten in a lot of restaurants in my travel… both fancy and not so fancy, but I can honestly say this is one of the best restaurants I’ve dined in, the atmosphere, the setting, the staff and the food at Chifley’s Bar and Grill are top notch! They staff and chefs genuinely care about their customers and this really does come through in the amazingly delicious food and in the first class service.
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra is in the heart of the Parliamentary circle, on the National Circuit, in Barton. This central position places you close to the current and old Parliament Houses, as well as many other Canberra attractions. On the left (up the road) is Capital hill and Canberra CBD is less than a 10-minute drive away giving you access to a wide range of restaurants, cafés and bars. Its only about a 4-5km walk into the city, this was my preferred way of getting around as I found taxi’s in Canberra to be very expensive ($20 AUD to go 10 mins… I think it worked out to be 1 cent per 10 seconds?? – clearly my math is not great).
Staff Worth Special mention –
Front Desk: Alex was very easy to get along with and provided some great information about Canberra and directions and we had a good laugh at the same time! He recommended some great places to eat and drink (and of course promoting Chifley’s first!)
Front Desk: Anna was very sweet and helpful with providing directions and information about Canberra, she also helped organizing a few jugs of milk to be put in my minibar.
Restaurant: Judith was the restaurant manager who kindly looked after me during my delightful evening at the restaurant, she was very knowledgeable about wines and ensured I was having a good time throughout my night, what I appreciated the most, is that she didn’t hover or come and ask if how my food was when I had a mouthful, she made eye contact with me as she walked past, giving me the opportunity to call her over if need be.
Restaurant: Simon was very helpful and friendly, providing me with some great information about Canberra and the local sights.
Did the hotel fulfil my requests? –
I had no prior to arrival requests however did request for a few jugs of milk to be placed in my minibar; this request was handled with ease.
Did I have any issues during our stay or do I have any suggestions? –
I think an image gallery on the website would be fantastic, before I arrived I wanted to have a look at the gym to see if I would need to modify my routine however was unable to find any images.
I had an issue with a main set of lights not working in my room (making it a little difficult to see clearly at night) as well as the coffee machine pouring cold water instead of hot. This was reported to front desk, however no follow up provided.
Maybe some training for staff around helping guests in and out of the double doors at the front (this can be difficult with large bags), I struggled a little when arriving and departing with this. And maybe some offered assistance with bags being taken to rooms – at least for older guests.
Would I stay here again? –
Yes!!! The hotel has recently been renovated, everything is modern and new, the staff were very helpful, the food was fantastic and the location is ideal, it’s not in the middle of the city but it’s not too far out, making it peaceful but still easy to get to places of interest.
General Summary –
I really loved this hotel, its modern, clean and the staff were really helpful. The hotel itself can be a bit of a maze however once you get used to walking around (usually after 1 or 2 trips to your room), you’ll be fine, it is very well sign posted – although the room numbers are a little odd to pay attention to your map.
The food was absolutely fabulous and reasonably priced, the restaurant staff are knowledgeable and easy to talk to.
The rooms are homey and comfortable, they have everything you need to be comfortable and ensure your stay with the hotel goes without hitch.
The Wi-Fi works well however you do need to contact reception for a internet code – I would suggest getting this at check in – cuts out a phone call 🙂
I’ve heard of the grapevine that some well known politicians (even our current Prime Minister) frequents teh hotel and Chifley’s bar for after work drinks! You might get lucky to spot one!!
I have only just noticed it is a 4.5 star hotel – I’m shocked! My whole experience here was better than some 5 star hotels I have stayed with!
I honestly cant wait to go back to Canberra and when I do, I’ll be staying here again.
One of my favourite places was the gardens behind Chifley’s bar, I spent some time working outside with a cup of coffee, it was lovely to be in the sunshine surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra
8 National Circuit Barton, Canberra Australian Capital Territory 2600, Australia
Tel: +61 2 6234 4444
Fax: +61 2 6234 4466
Disclaimer: Thank you to Hotel Kurrajong, TFE Hotels and Visit Canberra who kindly hosted my stay in Canberra. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.