Globetrotters may disagree on which country has the best nightlife, the most idyllic place to get a dose of Vitamin D or how much you should be paying for accommodation abroad, but there’s always one thing that can bring travellers together, and that’s food.
Whether it’s a staycation, a backpacking trip, a family holiday or a couple’s retreat, the top thing on everyone’s list for the ultimate getaway is good grub, fancy cocktails and an epic atmosphere.
East Hotel in Canberra delivers on all three, with the hotel featuring luxurious accommodation alongside two seriously impressive restaurants and a sleek, hip, bar, making it a foodie-lover’s dream destination.
Opened in 2012, designers of the hotel created a stylish and colourful haven in the capital city that could never fail to put you in a good mood as soon as you walk in the door.
The open plan lobby is definitely the standout area in the whole hotel, decorated with dreamy couches, a welcoming fireplace, a ceiling to floor projector screen playing black and white films and not forgetting the jar of lollies, which is a nice touch for both kids and adults alike.
Nestled in between the thriving Kingston and Manuka areas, East Hotel is just a stone’s throw from the Canberra CBD and many of the city’s most iconic landmarks, with Manuka Oval and Telopea Park within walking distance.
For the active travellers who want to ditch their cars and explore the great outdoors, the hotel offers free bikes for guests so you can get your fitness on while taking in the sights.
We stayed in one of the 140-room hotel’s luxe apartments, which felt like our own little home from home for the weekend.
Despite the fact we were itching to see what the restaurants and bar at the hotel were like, we could easily have shacked up in the room and not left for days, as it was equipped with a gourmet kitchen with a stove top, and oven, a Nespresso coffee machine and a washing machine.
For sunny days the room also had a large balcony with outdoor furniture or for the cold Canberra winters, a 42-inch TV to keep guests entertained.
The real gem in East Hotel’s treasure trove though is the culinary offerings just off the main lobby, which attract Canberrans in their droves to the hotel.
Dedicated to simple, wholesome Italian food with a modern flare, Agostinis Italian is well-known in the area for its mouth-watering menu, lovingly curated by head chef, Francesco Balestrieri.
From the delicious Stinco D’Agnello 12-hour slow-cooked lamb to the seriously satisfying Diavola spicy salami, olives, chilli and fior di latte mozzarella pizza, you’ll need to be rolled back up to your room when you leave this place.
If you still have room for dessert after the filling feast, we recommend the Torta Al Cioccolato decadent flourless chocolate cake, for a sugar-hit like no other.
Guests on the hunt for a trendy bar to carry-on their night need look no further than Joe’s Bar, located just steps away from the door of Agostinis.
Classic Italian cocktails like Negronis and Espresso Martinis are perfectly presented in an atmospheric bar, decorated like it was inspired by the Great Gatsby, with velvet couches and intimate tables for two.
We recommend the Ruby Rose cocktail, which is exactly as punchy and refreshing as you would expect from an Archie Rose gin, St German elderflower, lemon and rhubarb beverage.
Over on the other side of the lobby, Muse restaurant brings contemporary cooking, fine wine and books together in one place.
Lined with shelves of books at the entrance (old and new which are on sale during opening hours), the award-winning restaurant is an inviting space, which opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We thankfully made a booking for breakfast, as when we arrived, the queue was out the door on a Sunday morning.
But it’s worth the wait, as we had nothing but good things to say about the poached eggs and dukkah heirloom tomato, bocconcini, and roast pistachio salad with seeded toast or the sriracha eggs Benedict poached eggs with pulled ham hock, sourdough toast and sriracha hollandaise.
We even made room for the crispy pastry of the day, which is baked fresh daily, on our way out.
And with the hotel being near the ski fields and the Canberra wineries, we can definitely see ourselves visiting again.
This writer was a guest of East Hotel Canberra
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