The modern family-friendly hotel to call home on your next visit to Canberra

It’s luxe for less in the nation’s capital!
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Stepping foot into this plush hotel lobby on a crisp winter’s night, you immediately feel warm. It’s not only the hotel’s inviting décor and buzzing atmosphere thanks to its guests that makes you feel this way; the crackling fire also physically makes the space feel like a cosy hug.

We’ve just checked in to East Hotel, situated in the Canberra suburb of Kingston, for a girls’ weekend away and we’re instantly smitten.

Entering our one-bedroom apartment for our two-night stay, we’re instantly impressed by how spacious it is. The room is self-contained with a kitchenette – perfect for those who are hoping to save some cash by preparing their own meals or who are hanging around for longer stays.

Upping the relaxation stakes at East Hotel is the bathroom’s free-standing bath as well as a balcony where we can already see ourselves sitting back and enjoying a glass of wine or two as we unwind.

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You feel welcome as soon as you step into the inviting East Hotel lobby.

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Although we stayed in a twin-room apartment, there are various configurations on offer, including a smaller studio size as well as family choices such as two-bedroom apartments or what’s known as the “Kid’s Cubby”.

The latter option connects to an adjacent apartment for the ultimate family-style accommodation and is filled with bunk beds, bean bags and an Xbox ONE loaded with games, plus lots of other activities to keep the little ones occupied.

There’s also on-site parking, which makes lugging everything around that much easier.

Rooms are luxe and family-friendly.

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Keen to get our step count up, we headed out to explore the surrounds, meandering our way down to the picturesque Kingston Foreshore before traipsing around Lake Burley Griffin.

While you might not to walk the entire distance around like we did (it’s pretty far!), it is feasible to take a casual stroll from the hotel to many of Canberra’s tourist attractions, such as Parliament House (about a 30-minute walk) and the Australian War Memorial (about an hour), stopping for takeaway coffee along the way.

For those who want to stay a little closer to home or are less active, the foreshore is a little more manageable while there’s also public transport options or you can of course, drive.

Spacious and comfortable: the self-contained apartment was top notch.

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Joe’s Bar

Some might say there’s nothing more relaxing on a girls’ getaway than sipping a couple of cocktails (guilty!) and at the hotel’s acclaimed drinking spot, Joe’s Bar, the offerings certainly didn’t disappoint.

Saddling up to a high table on night one in the nation’s capital, we peruse the menu while soaking up the surrounding atmosphere. If like us, you expect hotel bars to be a little bit more stifled than bars in general, you’ll be pleasantly surprised here. The place was bustling and seemed like there were just as many locals dropping in for a drink as there are hotel guests, making the venue lively and friendly.

Finding it hard to narrow down the plentiful choices of cocktails, we ultimately settled for a few. Our favourite picks? The humorously named “Melon Colie”, a vodka-basked, white melon flavoured delight, and the “Cherry Lady” which teamed Okar and Ilegal Mezcal with a strong hit of cherry. Both of which were from the Joe’s Mix selection. Quite peckish, we also ordered prosciutto and burrata pizza and calamari rings to share, which really hit the spot.

The lively Joe’s Bar had an array of impressive cocktails to pick from on its menu.

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Night two called for a more substantial meal and again, we didn’t need to venture far. In fact, we didn’t leave the hotel vicinity at all. We headed into the on-site restaurant, Agostinis which is right next to Joe’s Bar. With the words “You had me at pizza” in neon lights at the entrance of the restaurant setting the scene for what was to come, we knew we were in for a treat.

Welcomed by friendly staff, we were ushered into a plush pink booth as we got ready to order some tasty Italian fare paired with wine – the best kind of combo if we do say so ourselves!

You can’t go wrong with dinner at Agostinis.

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The whipped garlic butter served with the pane della casa as a starter (house-made pizza bread baked to order) still haunts my dreams in the best possible way. For my main, I opted for the risotto al tartufo, a mouth-watering dish consisting of mixed mushrooms, thyme, breadcrumbs and fresh truffles. It genuinely may have been the most delicious winter meal I’ve had in a while.

This all was, of course, washed down with wine suggested by the attentive waitress. Although you can’t go wrong with any of the selections on the list, we went for a local wine from the region which was as top-notch as the rest of the meal.

To finish off a perfect dinner, we shared the profiterole al tatufo e cioccolato for dessert before wandering back to our rooms with our stomachs full and our tastebuds truly satisfied.

You had us at ‘pizza’… and at ‘pasta’… and at ‘risotto’… and at ‘wine’.

(Credit: Now To Love)

Muse Café

With our short-lived trip almost done and dusted the next day, we were in dire need of caffeine before embarking on the three-hour drive back to our home city of Sydney.

To recharge and get ready for the day before checking out, we made our way to Muse, a café independent of the hotel but situated on the premises.

Standing out from your average café, the venue is also a book store. As we awaited our orders we browsed the array of tomes and had to steel ourselves away from the bookshelves lest we buy everything on offer.

Coffee calls at Muse Café.

(Credit: @musecanberra/Instagram)

The café features an all-day menu, offering up everything from light breakfast options such as apple and currant fruit toast or Greek yoghurt with poached rhubarb and raspberry and house-baked granola to more substantial fare.

Among the more hearty choices were appetising breakfast picks like sriracha eggs benedict or smashed avocado toast as well as selections more suited for later in the day such as baked cheddar and ham souffle or Nasi Goreng.

Most importantly for us and our long drive ahead, the coffee selection was both tasty and energising. And, after tucking in to a satisfying breakfast and downing some caffeine, we were ready to (reluctantly) make our way home – but not before promising we’d make a return soon.


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