Any weekend is a good excuse to pack your bags and jump in the car to explore the country we live in, but a long weekend is even better. Like the Queen’s Birthday this weekend, having an extra day up your sleeve means you can make the most of your time away. An option that may be overlooked but definitely shouldn’t be is our nation’s capital, Canberra. It’s only a short drive from Sydney or Melbourne, and a quick flight from other Australian cities. Canberra has come a long way since the days of your year 6 school camp and visit to Questacon. With recent developments, it’s now an epicentre for art, culture and food, and you’ll find that there’s way more to see and do there than you imagined. The best part is you won’t have to sleep in a bunk in a cramped room with 5 of your other school friends anymore, that is unless you want to. Assuming that you don’t, then there’s an awesome designer hotel you should check out; QT Canberra.
If you’ve stayed in a QT Hotel before, you know you’ll be in for a pretty wild ride. They offer an outstanding customer service experience with a side of some cheeky fun, plus each one is unique to the city it’s in. The Canberra location describes itself as ‘Politique and Pop-Chic’, as a fun reference to the political environment it’s in. Images and portraits of heads of state, framed by neon lights, adorn the walls in the lobby, while an old newsreel plays in the background. We recently stayed there as guests of QT, on a weekend trip away and really enjoyed the atmosphere and aesthetics of the hotel. It’s central to the newly developed arts and coffee scene of Canberra, with plenty of places to explore on its doorstep. Check out our Townske guide on what to see and do around QT Canberra.
QT Canberra offers a variety of rooms, each fit for any savvy politician or discerning tourist alike. We stayed in the QT Queen, which is a comfortable size and has a balcony you can step out to, to catch some of that fresh Canberra air. Every room in the hotel offers guests a cocktail making kit to whip up your very own Old Fashioned, which really is the ideal cocktail to sip on while enjoying your views over the city. Amenities included a favourite, the New York based skincare brand, Malin+Goetz shampoo and conditioner. A good-sized working desk and free Wi-Fi rounds out the room’s stylish and functional offering, not to mention the cheeky products to be found in the mini-bar…
Capitol Bar & Grill
QT Canberra’s in-house restaurant is the Capitol Bar & Grill, an “Italian themed concept”. When you come here you’ve got to dress to impress, and when you step in it’s easy to see why. The dim lighting provides the perfect warm atmosphere for guests to enjoy the stellar menu created by Robert Marchetti and Nic Wood, QT Hotel’s Creative Food Director and Executive Chef respectively. The highlight for us was the double rib-eye Tomahawk, which was cooked impeccably. The desserts are also super tasty and an ideal way to end a great dining experience.
The breakfast buffet at Capitol Bar & Grill has a good variety of gourmet offerings, including smoked bacon sourced from a local supplier. It’s easily one of the best we’ve ever tasted. QT uses Allpress beans for their espresso, our absolute favourite coffee roasters. Some of the produce used in the dishes at Capitol Bar & Grill are actually grown on-site at QT’s rooftop garden, which also boasts its very own apiary for fresh honey.
You have a few options if you’re up for a tipple at QT Canberra. In addition to Capitol Bar & Grill, there’s also Lucky’s Speakeasy, a fully fledged cocktail bar that wouldn’t be out of place in a hidden alley or laneway in Sydney or Melbourne. It has a really fun vibe and remains entirely unpretentious – a feeling that is found throughout the hotel – with its own unique personality to it too. The cocktail list is strong and varied but we couldn’t go past the classic Espresso Martini, made to perfection by the experienced mixologists behind the bar.
A space where a plethora of business deals and secret handshakes have been conducted, we imagine, is the QT Lounge, located on level 15 of the hotel. This invitation-only bar offers guests a private experience, away from the eyes and ears of others. We were lucky enough to be invited to hang out in the QT Lounge and were impressed by the cocktail list, snack menu and its discreet alcoves.
QT Canberra Sky High Experience
If you’re looking to stay for the weekend or long weekend, we recommend trying the QT Canberra Sky High Experience. It’s the ideal way to explore the city and the hotel. $669 gets you one night in a QT Queen room for two people, as well as breakfast for two at Capitol Bar & Grill, a bottle of French champagne plus a scenic helicopter tour over Canberra and surrounds, including luxury return transfers. We tried the helicopter tour and it was an incredible experience, offering a very unique and out of the ordinary way to see the sights.
If helicopters aren’t your thing then there are other packages worth looking at, like the QT Hangover, QT Man and Artist Ink, each curated to provide a unique QT experience for every guest.