Hotel Highlights

  • Cutting-edge contemporary furniture and art
  • Central location in New Acton bar, restaurant and spa hub
  • Canberra's cultural must-sees on your doorstep

Overview

Centrally located and practically lakeside in New Acton, one of Canberra’s most happening hubs, Diamant Hotel Canberra is a design devotee’s dream. Icons of modern decor provide the culture fix in this 1920s building turned chapel to the cutting-edge.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Diamant Hotel Canberra with us:

A free drink each and late check-out (1pm)

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

80, including one suite.

Check–out

11am, but you can pay AU$10 an hour for late check-outs until 1pm. Check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $143.98 (AU$154), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast.

Also

Design fans can play 'spot the modern icon' at Diamant Canberra, which boasts lighting by Italian label Flos, spindly orange steel-wire 'Corallo' armchairs by the Brazilian Campana brothers for Italian brand Edra and rugs by rated Hong Kong firm Tai Ping, among other cutting-edge pieces in the lobby and beyond. Set in landscaped gardens, the hotel was revamped by architectural firm Fender Katsalidis and the surrounding New Acton precinct offers a public arts programme led by art consultant Pamille Berg.

At the hotel

Bar, restaurant, free WiFi throughout, library of books, CDs and DVDs, gym pass for on-site New Acton South Gym or Fitness First (10 minutes' walk away in the city centre), garden, guest bikes for hire, free internet terminal in the lobby and laptops for hire (AU$10 an hour; AU$50 a day). In rooms: Bang & Olufsen flatscreen TV with cable, CD/DVD player with MP3 port, iPod docks on request, minibar, Romy toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

The Premier Rooms are our favourite with extra space and king-size beds, a comfy couch and generous marble bathrooms, some with baths big enough for two. Ask for a room away from the restaurant for extra peace and quiet, or for a special occasion you can’t go wrong with the Suite.

Poolside

The Diamant doesn’t have a pool but there is no shortage of public pools in the city.

Packing tips

Lycra shorts: the hotel has push bikes to rent and cycling is one of the best ways to get around this green city.

Also

The Diamant is housed within the New Acton complex which also contains a selection of restaurants, bars, a food store and the Soma Day Spa.

Children

The hotel doesn’t really cater to children, but baby cots can be provided for AU$15 a night, babysitting is available and the restaurant can heat up milk or baby food. Ask for a quiet room in any category above a Standard.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Bicicletta Restaurant, located within the hotel, serves Italian cuisine, specialising in gourmet pizza, fresh pasta and gelati. The focus is on supporting local producers, using seasonal ingredients to create delicious, traditional dishes, the majority of which are made from scratch in the kitchen. The authentic flavours are matched beautifully with an eclectic wine list that includes some lesser-known, but delicious drops from both Australian and Italian producers.

Hotel Bar

A far cry from your average lacklustre hotel drinking den, the Bicicletta Library Bar in the Diamant's lobby works a sexy yet smart look with turquoise- and cobalt-backed dark wood book shelves and round mirror-topped tables etched with floral designs. Grab a banquette and browse the eclectic literature decorating the rear wall while you relax with a glass of wine and some smooth jazz. Drinks are available from 4.30pm to 1am but guests can use the space, and its free WiFi hotspot, all day long. There's even a fireplace for cosying up in winter.

Last orders

Breakfast and lunch is served in Bicicletta from 7am–3pm and dinner from 6pm–10pm.

Room service

Available 24 hours from Bicicletta, reflecting its seasonal menus. Popular options include cheese and meat platters, linguine bolognese, toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and pastries.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Lose the lycra but avoid the corporate suited and booted look. This is a designer playground, after all.

Top table

Cosy corners for canoodling couples or communal tables for conviviality.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Reopening in 2013 within the ‘hotel complex’ is the Parlour Wine Room (+61 (0)2 6162 3656; www.parlour.net.au), which looks like the sort of place you’d enjoy a cigar in – if smoking was allowed. Decor is vintage-retro with plenty of cosy corners. Relax and enjoy tasty tapas or desserts while sipping classic cocktails or a glass of one of the 120-odd wines from the house list. Convivial staff keep the place humming Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30pm till late. Tosolini’s, on the corner of London Court and East Row, Civic (+61 (0)2 6247 4317; www.tosolinis.com.au) has been dishing up traditional Italian cooking to Canberrans for 20 years. Pop in for a coffee and a slice of tiramisu or a more substantial pasta or risotto. Lemon Grass (+61 (0)2 6247 2779; www.lemongrassthai.com.au), in the Melbourne Building at 65 London Circuit,  has an excellent menu of traditional Thai dishes using top quality ingredients (closed Sundays).

Local bars

Recently opened Tongue and Groove (+61 (0)2 6230 4455; www.tandg.com.au), is proving a hit with the locals. The vast industrial-styled space, on the corner of Genge and Bunda Streets, has plenty of plush seating and a menu designed for sharing. Try the Lime and Chilli Martini and finish with a Pizookie – a cookie dough pizza, covered in chocolate and ice-cream.

Local cafés

A light and airy place for breakfast or lunch in the New Acton Pavilion is As Nature Intended, an organic café and wholefoods store on the corner of Edinburgh Avenue and Marcus Clarke Street (+61 (0)2 6162 3440), decorated with vintage lamps. Stop by for coffee, smoothies, fresh juices, home-baked muffins, sandwiches, soup, pizza and pasta of the day.

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Lakeside urban village

Diamant Hotel Canberra

15 Edinburgh Avenue, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia

Centrally located near the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra's central business district (CBD) and cultural and entertainment hub, this boutique hotel is part of the New Action 'urban village' at the corner of Edinburgh Avenue and Marcus Clarke Street.

Planes

Fly into Canberra Airport (www.canberraairport.com.au), east of the city centre, which is served by regular domestic flights from Sydney, Melbourne and other Australian state capitals. You can pick up a taxi outside arrivals (expect to pay around AU$48 to the city centre) or the Airport Express Bus to town takes 20 minutes and costs AU$12 one way or AU$20 return; the last stop West Row is a 10-minute walk from the Diamant.

Trains

Country Link (www.countrylink.info/home) trains from Sydney, Melbourne and rural destinations run to Canberra Railway Station in Kingston, about five and a half kilometres from the hotel.

Automobiles

Canberra is about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, the nearest big city, if you've got your own wheels. Secure, underground parking at the hotel costs AU$20 a night and must be pre-booked as spaces are limited.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Joshua White , Art educator

As a teenager travelling around Australia, I had once tried to find someone to help me change a flat tyre on a squat and creaky car outside Canberra’s War Memorial. The streets then had been so dark and devoid of people that Canberra’s claim to be a capital city seemed a precocious bluff. But spending the weekend at the polished Diamant Hotel, a whole 25 years later, Mr Smith and I di...
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Diamant Hotel Canberra

Anonymous review by Joshua White, Art educator

As a teenager travelling around Australia, I had once tried to find someone to help me change a flat tyre on a squat and creaky car outside Canberra’s War Memorial. The streets then had been so dark and devoid of people that Canberra’s claim to be a capital city seemed a precocious bluff. But spending the weekend at the polished Diamant Hotel, a whole 25 years later, Mr Smith and I discover that Canberra is no longer Australia’s gawky child.

A large pair of sculpted wings in the lobby welcomes us with a contemporary flourish to the Diamant, a Modernist extension to a group of heritage buildings – in Canberra, that means marginally more than 25 years old – on the north shore of Lake Burley Griffin. A fireplace in reception, with chunky stools cut from giant logs, immediately creates a cosy atmosphere. Commissioned artworks lie in ambush throughout the building, lending an element of surprise and a quirky personality to the hotel. Upstairs, our large, modern Premier Room, painted an alluring dark chocolate colour, provides sanctuary from the heat as we flop on the bed. Deciding whether to hit the tourist trail or the bar, we wash away the travel grime with extracts of eucalyptus and lemongrass in the walk-in slate-lined shower.

Any thoughts of venturing out into the early evening are abandoned when we spot an exuberant crowd celebrating a wedding on a terrace outside the Parlour Wine Room, one of several independent restaurants in the Diamant’s complex, including Australian-focussed Flint Dining Room & Bar (we’ve since heard the hotel has launched its own in-house Italian eatery Bicicletta too). We elect to stay where the buzz is and scan the international wine list at this Spanish-style tapas bar; Mr Smith is in choice heaven. Sipping an icy rosé wine and tugging at fried zucchini flowers stuffed with goat cheese we find our reward for patiently chugging by train across New South Wales in the summer heat.

Our affable waiter explains that ‘Canberra has it all: good food, bars and great people. We’re the butt of a lot of jokes in Australia, but it’s a pretty good place to live.’ He tips us off to where the best nightlife can be found. Nightclubs? The city has indeed grown up. But after an Italian-inspired dinner of pasta and risotto in nearby bistro Du Jour, we turn down clubbing for comfort in our room. Soft, linen sheets lure us into our king-size bed, where we flip on our widescreen plasma TV and plot our assault on Canberra.

In the morning, fired up on muesli, fresh juice and croissants, we hit a woodland trail around Lake Burley Griffin, sending scarlet King parrots skimming across the water. The rest of the city seems to be out cycling or jogging, passing us effortlessly. At the tip of a point jutting into the lake, the National Museum of Australia tells the eye-opening story of European migration, settlement and aspiration in brilliantly judged exhibits, without shying away from the impact on the country’s original indigenous inhabitants.

Moving on to the National Gallery, a short taxi ride away, we are seduced by the soft oil hues of Australia’s colonial painters describing a strange new world. Sidney Nolan’s famous ‘Ned Kelly’ series illustrates the harsh Australian landscape as an outlaw-flocked frontier. Canberra, born out of similar bushland, today looks confidently out towards the whole world.

Marching uphill we arrive at a Parliament more pleased to see us and accessible than probably any other. The legislators had departed for Christmas leaving us free to explore their home, which borrows the colours of native eucalyptus leaves and flowers. The vast building fits snugly into the hill like a giant hobbit house with a grassy lawn for a roof from where you can see the city cut out of the surrounding pasture.

To cap off the day, we head up to the futuristic Black Mountain Tower, formerly the Telstra communications spire. Nibbling a cream tea in its circular observation gallery, Mr Smith and I compare the views with compact and crowded England. How vast Australia seems from the top, the landscape rolling upwards into the Snowy Mountains without interruption.

With sightseeing occupying the whole day, a massage in the Soma Day Spa, another independent enterprise sharing the Diamant’s courtyard, is an unavailable temptation, but Mr Smith is easily revived back at the Parlour Wine Room with spicy scallops and a fresh wine to taste.

Most of our Australian friends have happily spent a lifetime avoiding Canberra, give or take the odd obligatory school trip, seeking edgier thrills elsewhere. Arriving at what appeared to be a country railway station we won’t deny having doubts. But this garden city in the bush provided the perfect staging post on our ‘slow travel’ train journey between Sydney and Melbourne and with a diamond of a hotel such as the Diamant on the scene, youthful Canberra no longer deserves to be shunned.

 

The Guestbook

Reviews of Diamant Hotel Canberra from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 6 Sep 2012

We loved

Great food, lovely staff, interesting accommodation and a great location. I very much enjoyed the quietness of the hotel.

 

Rating: 8/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on 24 Aug 2012

We loved

The staff were friendly and the hotel was located in a new complex which had some interesting things to check out.

Don’t expect

While the design is modern, the hotel is looking a little tired in some regards.

Rating: 8/10 stars