A design-led and sustainable stay in Canberra’s arts and cultural hub.
Why stay here?
Located in Canberra’s Constitution Place, the 130-room A by Adina Canberra is a premium apartment hotel that opened in early 2021, designed to combine the best of a hotel stay with residential living. The hotel sits within the mixed-use precinct that includes commercial and retail space, alongside a 12-storey tower occupied by premium commercial tenants.
Conveniently located near Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin, the four-level hotel sits proudly on the Vernon Circle side of Canberra’s arts and cultural hub, London Circuit. Next door is the Canberra Theatre Centre and the Canberra Museum & Gallery; while the ACT government building at 220 London Circuit is just steps away, as is the ACT Legislative Assembly – and you’re only a five-minute stroll to the city’s main shopping area.
Staying on a weekend, I loved the peace and quiet at this quarter of the city, yet I was still within walking distance to several attractions.
A by Adina Canberra, along with the entire Constitution Place, was designed by world-renowned architects, Bates Smart.
Design and sustainability notes
Approaching by car, the glass and black-panelled exterior of the precinct’s buildings, as well as the curves of the hotel levels, hint at a premium hotel experience. From the street, the doors automatically part, allowing us to walk through a large, circular glass entryway.
The foyer is spacious, light and understated with a natural colour palette and materials – the effect is instantly calming. Olive green velvet tub chairs and timber furnishings form an inviting space in which to sit and rest and plan your Canberra adventures.
Stepping into my light-filled room is a contrast from the cocooned feeling of the hallways.
I’m staying in one of six Destination A self-contained two-bedroom apartments at 74m2, capable of sleeping five guests. It includes an oval-sized dining table that can be used as a desk (with hidden power/USB compartments), upholstered chairs, a sitting area with a couch and freestanding mini-bar, a full-sized kitchenette with a fridge and amenities concealed by timber joinery. Loop pile carpet is used throughout, designed to be reminiscent of pebbles in a riverbed and precast concrete feature walls are left deliberately exposed.
Further along, a king or twin bedroom and neighbouring bathroom are separated from the master bedroom, which includes a walk-through robe area, a bathroom parlour and a sitting area with a full-sized tub, before you move through to the shower, washbasin and lavatory – all can be compartmented and separated by recessed, sliding doors.
Bates Smart Associate Director Amelia Donald explains the design concept, inspired by Canberra’s Alpine and windswept environment:
“I think of the rooms – in particular the one-bedroom apartments – like those beautiful Russian [Matryoshka] wooden dolls,” says Amelia. “You know, the evolving concept of a box within a box within a box.”
Amelia said bathrooms in the two-bedroom apartments shine as destinations in their own right.
“The bathrooms are designed like jewels,” she said. “In the two-bedroom apartments, the master bedrooms have expansive walk-through robes that lead into bathtub areas and onto standard bathrooms, which can be sectioned off with sliding, frosted panels. The end shower wall features Irish Marble, which is beautifully lit (white with green striations), so it glows like a jewel.”
The hotel is focused on supporting local artisans and is an official hotel partner of Canberra’s annual Design Week each November.
Constitution Place is a 5-star NABERS energy-rated building, with 200kw roof-mounted solar panels and is one of Canberra’s first WELL-rated buildings.
Standing guard at the corner of Constitution Place and London Circuit, is an enormous bronze sculpture of Andrew Inglis Clark (1848-1907) titled Windswept 2020 by Australian artist, April Pine. Clark was the co-author of the Australian Constitution and was a prominent engineer, barrister and politician – marking a fitting tribute to the precinct. Made of weathered steel, ‘Corten’, the natural dark-toned metal links the bronze facade and the sculpture. This ‘disappearing’ sculpture changes in view and perspective as you move around it, viewing it from different angles.
Outside the ACT Government Building at 220 London Circuit is a wind-activated, kinetic, gold sculpture titled The Snake, by New Zealand-born Phil Price. In the Constitution Place laneway, find the cast bronze sculpture, Between Innings, 2020 by Gary Lee Price of a child holding a book, created to reflect the power that comes with knowledge.
In the room
I really feel instantly at ease and relaxed in our apartment, thanks to its calming colour tones and earthy, textural materials.
Views overlook either the park space in front of the Canberra Theatre Centre, or the laneway below and Constitution Place buildings of the precinct. We can conceal or reveal either with sheer or block out charcoal-coloured curtains.
The freestanding, Destination A circular mini bar features premade cocktails by the expert team from Maybe Sammy in Sydney. As part of the ‘Destination A’ experience, we can enjoy a $25 per person mini-bar credit. Our choice for the day is a bottle of Oakridge Yarra Valley Chardonnay from Victoria, which we sip on while eating the cheese and charcuterie delivered to our room via the Daily Pause grazing box, complimentary and available to all guests between 5-8pm.
I take a bath in the large, freestanding tub, flanked by a wall covered in glossy, sage-green titles and those clever, frosted glass sliding doors that resemble Japanese shoji screens.
Bathroom amenities are large-sized vessels of Hunter Lab skin products handcrafted in Melbourne. The natural-coloured, linen robe is oh-so-comfortable to mooch around my room in – and so much more practical for the Australian climate than heavier, thicker robes. I also appreciate the spacious walk-through robe with separate hanging space for two, and a bench for each suitcase.
Mini bar products include Koko Black chocolates – perfect with a selection of Tea Drop teas made using the Smeg kettle; or a coffee in the L’or in-room espresso machine.
Streamlined bedside lighting is retractable, and the bedside unit includes ample power outlets and a USB charger. I enjoy a very good night’s sleep tucked into the luxurious Dreamcatcher bed.
As hotel guests, our stay includes a $25 voucher per person for breakfast at the neighbouring ARC Café by Canberra coffee roasters, Redbrick Coffee. We dine on salmon rillettes with potato, fennel and house-made pickles on toasted sourdough; and vanilla hotcakes with lemon curd, blueberries and mascarpone. The sun is streaming in during the morning from large glass windows with views of the Andrew Inglis Clark sculpture.
For dinner, lunch or celebratory libations, you only need to wander the Melbourne-style Constitution laneway, which neighbours the hotel, for a range of premium options. Here, choose from Mu Omakase & Cicada Bar (Japanese cuisine); Hero Sushi; Tenko Mori Ramen House; and the fine-dining Meat and Wine Co. with a striking sculpture suspended from its ceiling, the African Crown, featuring about 1200 individual sculpted, gold, silver bronze and coppers tiles.
Options designed for guest convenience include flexible check-in and check-out, a 24-hour reception desk, complimentary and unlimited high-speed Wi-fi, and complimentary in-room movies on a 55-inch Smart TV.
Inside each room, smart speakers come complete with an A by Adina curated playlist: choose from Australian Breakfast Chill, Night Sounds, or Dean & Nancy.
The two-bedroom apartment I have reviewed starts from $684 per night.
One-bedroom apartments start from $279 per night.