Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Canberra
I adore staying in hotels and Crowne Plaza Canberra was no exception. Located bang in the centre of town, the hotel is a short walk from a lot of Canberra’s major attractions, including the Floriade flower show on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin.
I have long been a detractor of Canberra, whining about the arctic temperatures, brick-and-tile ’70s architecture and general sense of despair I feel when confronted with bland concrete monuments. Well, I have finally been proven wrong. Staying in Canberra CBD is delightful.
Crowne Plaza Canberra is especially ace because there’s parking underneath the hotel so you can leave your car and walk everywhere. Nature Boy and I went for a stroll around the lake to the Carillion (the weirdo giant musical instrument that was gifted to the Australian Government by the British) and then back to the hotel via the Vietnam Memorial and unmarked new ASIO offices. I felt like we were in some sort of political thriller starring Denzel Washington. Fun.
We had breakfast in Red Salt Restaurant both days which provided an excellent start to the day. The espresso coffee is a la carte and included in the buffet price and the buffet offering is extensive with daily changes to the hot menu (my favourite things were the field mushrooms and the omelette). The only criticism is that the poor Chef cooking eggs to order was overwhelmed with requests so there was a bit of a wait on bespoke ova.
We were also treated to dinner in Red Salt and drinks in Binara One, the hotel bar. Stupidly, we did it in that order so by the time we got to the bar, we were bursting at the seams and sleepy as seals. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend Binara One to anyone looking for a lively, classy joint to hang out in on a Saturday night.
Our meal at Red Salt was a little bit hit and miss. Some of the wines listed were out of stock and the menu descriptions were a little off at times. I ordered zucchini and pea fritters and when they appeared, they were more like bhajis (chickpea flour coated deep-fried veggies served with cucumber raita and lime pickle). They were still very good but not at all what I expected. I had the duck with puy lentils and roasted beetroot for my main. The duck was delicious but I still experienced severe food envy over Nature Boy’s wild mushroom risotto which was glorious. The big winner of the night was the dessert. I had a white chocolate raspberry bombe alaska and Nature Boy had pear pannacotta with Valhrona chocolate mousse and tasty frippery.
We stayed in a suite overlooking Glebe Park which was EEEENORRRMOUS. The bed was super comfy, there was a good range of pillows (very important as I have a crook neck) and the room was clean and climate controlled (you get to choose the temperature). The bathroom had a spa bath in it (a regular bathtub shaped one with jets in the sides) and there was a mega stocked mini bar to go rock star on if you had the inclination.
Floriade Celebrate Spring Package
To coincide with this year’s festival, Crowne Plaza Canberra is offering a special Celebrate Spring package including overnight accommodation, buffet breakfast for two in Redsalt Restaurant, complimentary car parking, a two-for-one drink voucher in the newly-refurbished Binara One bar, an exclusive welcome pack and a sweet in-room treat, from $250 per night (terms and conditions apply). The package is valid for stays between September 17 and October 16, 2011. To read a review of Floriade, click here.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Crowne Plaza Canberra as an ideal place to stay if you are visiting Canberra for National Gallery shows, Floriade or anything that’s taking place in the heart of the city. You can walk to a lot of places from the hotel, the rooms are quiet and well-appointed and the staff is unfailingly friendly. Double thumbs up.