From former government buildings to old theatres, city heritage hotels make the perfect place to rest your head while satisfying your cultural curiosity
With their grand architecture and detail-driven craftsmanship, there is something undeniably romantic about heritage hotels, and when they manage to perfectly meld a sense of rich history with modern comfort, they are hard to beat for a city stay.
Australia might be young, but it is still home to myriad impressive buildings with architecture and design dating back to the country’s pre-federation days in the 18th century. So if you’re after a history lesson, or just a change of pace from the quintessential Australian beach-combing holiday, look no further than our below picks of Australia’s best heritage hotels…
Treasury on Collins
Dating back to the 1800s, the Treasury on Collins building was once The Bank of Australasia and designed by principal architect Joseph Reed, who also designed the Melbourne Town Hall and State Library. Located in the Melbourne’s CBD, the apartment hotel now delivers the same historic charm in a posh and more elegant setting. Guests can choose from a variety of suite styles, from the Plaza Queen Suite, which is perfect for shorter stays and solo travellers, to the exclusive Heritage King Loft Apartment with its in-suite spa bath and spacious living and dining room. Treasury on Collins is also one of Melbourne’s few boutique hotels, providing a more intimate and personalised form of luxury in its 95 rooms. In addition to unlimited Netflix and stunning city views, those who book directly with the hotel receive complimentary breakfast, wine and more perks in the luxurious Guest Lounge.
An unforgettable classic, this five-star hotel is ideal for the business and luxury traveller, resting at the heart of Sydney’s CBD just a block from Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House. Once the Treasury Building in the 19th century, this ‘oldie but a goodie’ hotel now houses 509 contemporary guest rooms and suites, each boasting spectacular views of the city and harbour. A glass-panelled pool and sauna offers even more views on the third floor, while the renowned Sebastian Salon and Odyssey Health Club & Spa are additional luxuries. Dining options include The Meat and Wine Co. steakhouse, the buffet-serving Cafe Opera and The Cortile with its refined High Tea, along with the Supper Club terrace on Level 31, where you can sip on cocktails while taking in views across the world’s most beautiful harbour city.
A change from your standard luxury stay, the Ovolo welcomes guests with trendily-dressed staff and the sounds of classic rock and dance music in the lobby. The Lo Lounge, a bar and social space, additionally attracts attention with billiard tables and old-school arcade games. The hotel’s alternative and modern atmosphere makes it hard to believe it’s the heritage-listed Finger Wharf building, especially with the music-themed rooms and eye-catching art. In-house, casual lounge fare is available without leaving the hotel, while a plethora of waterfront dining options ranging from ocean-view fine dining to Asian and Italian are a few steps away on Woolloomooloo Wharf. Guests can additionally enjoy the indoor heated pool, sundeck, fitness centre and meeting and event spaces. As well as its heritage in the true sense of the world, the now Ovolo has had many accommodation iterations over the years including as the first W Hotel outside of the United States and then as “Blue Hotel” for a period from 2007, managed by Taj Hotels & Resorts.
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel
Welcoming guests with traditional heritage architecture and a vintage sandstone facade, this former-Fairfax-newspaper-office-turned-hotel is in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and walking distance from Circular Quay and the Botanical Gardens. Interior touches channelling the building’s 1800 origin are scattered throughout, while more modern and spacious amenities offer ultimate comfort. Guests can additionally upgrade to a premium Business Class Room on the tenth floor, which grants access to the private Business Class Lounge for breakfast, drinks and hors d’œuvres. The 336-room hotel is also home to the notable Lady Fairfax Room, which serves traditional High Tea, and The Fax Bar for late-night cocktails. For a hatted meal, though, there’s no looking past multi-award-winning Bentley Restaurant & Bar, where you’ll be treated to delicious Modern Australian cuisine complemented by a celebrated, lengthy wine list.
COMO The Treasury, Perth
With a Victorian-esque exterior reminiscent of the building’s early days as the State Buildings in the 19th century, COMO is anything but outdated. 48 contemporary rooms and suites, all conceived by respected and local designer Kerry Hill, fill the space and treat guests to the finest European furnishings. The elegant stay is conveniently located in the heart of Perth, just a short distance from Swan River and Kings Park, as well as a 20-minute drive from the Perth airport. In addition to the many dining options surrounding the hotel, COMO boasts three restaurants, including the Two Chefs Hatted-Wildflower, which is located on the hotel’s rooftop. The zen COMO Shambhala Urban Escape treats guests to massages, facials and more, while the techno gym and heated indoor pool complete the experience. This impressive hotel has won countless awards over the years making it a must-visit for your next stay in WA.