I always find that holidays are a way to unwind. You tend to do so much more, cramming as much as you can into your time away. Yet, everything seems new, so my sense of discovery always tends to overpower my need for rest (after all, you can always do that when you get home).
A couple of weekends ago I found myself in the unique position of being able to have a holiday right in my own back yard – a staycation – something I seldom do.
Urbandictionary.com describes a staycation as ‘a vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer.’ I did just that. I packed a bag and added all the essentials (mostly electronics) and drove myself to the Hyatt Hotel Canberra in Yarralumla. Just steps off Lake Burley Griffin, Parliament House, the galleries and museums, there is probably no better location to spend a weekend in Canberra.
The Hyatt Hotel Canberra is a beautiful building.
The Heritage section was built between 1922 and 1925 with the purpose of housing politicians after the Federal Parliament moved to Canberra in 1927. It was managed by the government until 1950 when the lease was taken over by a subsidiary of Tooheys; Hotel Canberra Ltd.
In 1974 the Hotel shut down and for the period between 1976 and 1984 it became an annex for Parliament House. I imagine the lack of space in the Old Parliament House was one of the reasons why Parliament moved to its new premises in 1988. In July that year, after a detailed restoration and extension project, the Hyatt Hotel Canberra (the only 5-star hotel in Canberra at the time) opened its doors for business.
As you approach the Hyatt Hotel Canberra you can’t help but feel like you have stepped in to somewhere special. Firstly, you are warmly greeted by the porters dressed in 20s attires, adding to notion that you are ‘away from home’. Then, the smiles continue inside as you check in, compounded by your own smiles as you admire the architecture and the Modern art deco details that surround you.
Staycation: a vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer
The rooms are spacious (even their standard rooms have king beds), and the bathrooms have separate shower and bath tub. To me, this is the perfect beginning to the weekend, topped by the Appelles skin and body care product range that the hotel uses.
In terms of food, the Promenade café offers both a la carte and buffet menus. Both are equally delicious, with the main difference being your plating skills (let’s just say mine are below par) and the elegance of the meals (both in flavor and ingredients).
On weekends (technically Friday to Sunday), the Tea Lounge is perfect for indulging in both sweet and savoury delights. The Hyatt Hotel Canberra prides itself on the range of food on offer and on ensuring that they cater for the needs of all their guests. As such, if advised at the time of booking, the chefs can create special menus to cater for your needs.
Everything on offer is expertly prepared by the chefs in one of the many kitchens in the levels below the Hyatt. They have chefs that work on savoury treats, and others that make the sweet cakes and tarts.
We had high tea on Saturday afternoon, and as I have no intolerances, or special requests, I dived in to sample every delicious morsel on offer.
From cucumber sandwiches, to hot savoury flaky pastries, to mouthfuls of freshly made crab salad, to warm scones with whipped cream and jam, to individual crème brûlée with that golden top that buckles and cracks when you hit it with a spoon, to chocolate cakes and citrus tarts; your eyes widen in bliss, and your mouth waters in expectation of what is to come. The high tea comes with a glass of Lerida Estate Zenzi sparkling wine, and your choice of tea or coffee.
If you are after a night cap after dinner, the Speaker’s Corner Bar is open till late on the weekend (note that on Sunday they close at 9PM). Like us, you can indulge in a cocktail (or two) at the bar itself, or tuck yourself in one of the many spaces surrounding it. Whether it’s the cosy lounges in front of a roaring warm fire in winter, or the pleasures or a spring and summer breeze in their courtyards, you can find your own little perfect zen area to chill.
Overall, I felt renewed. The staff made me feel welcomed and at home, and there was always a friendly face smiling at me, ready to assist if needed. I spent most of my time in or very close to the hotel, opting for a walk by the Nara Peace park, and some chill time reading in one of their courtyards.
Right now the Hyatt Hotel Canberra is inviting you to participate in their Instagram competition where you can win a two night stay in the Diplomatic suite, including breakfast, and a personalised walking tour at the National Gallery of Australia. Full details can be found here.
* Fran stayed as a guest of Hyatt Hotel Canberra. However, all opinions are her own.
What you need to know
- The Hyatt Hotel Canberra is located at 120 Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
- To book your staycation contact them on +61 2 6270 1234 or visit their website
- The Promenade cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can be contacted for reservations on +61 2 6269 8810 or via their online system.
- High Tea is offered on Friday from 2:30PM, and on Saturday and Sunday at 11AM and at 2:30PM. For bookings contact: +61 2 6269 8815 (please mention special dietary requirements at the time of booking).