Over the last decade, Adelaide has seen some serious changes. First the emergence of the small bar scene transformed the city’s side streets and laneways. Then a series of fine dining restaurants captured the attention of East Coast chefs, critics and diners. Now, with visitation at an all-time high, it’s the accommodation sector’s turn to get a serious upgrade.
Four major hotel openings in 2020 will be followed by another seven next year. And each of the new arrivals has its own personality, reflecting consumers’ increasing preference for boutique stays with a sense of place over anonymous chain hotels. Here are the best spots to stay next time you visit Adelaide (or want to feel like a tourist in your own city).
Named for the Greek goddess of the dawn, SkyCity’s new hotel Eos catches the sun and the eye with a facade of reflective golden panels that curve gracefully above the neo-classical sandstone railway station.
The 24 corner suites are a huge step up from anything else in Adelaide, with bathrooms larger than some hotel rooms and a living area spacious enough to accommodate a dinner party. Wake up in a River View suite and you can divide your attention between walls decorated with original local artworks and wraparound windows that look onto Adelaide Oval and the Riverbank Precinct.
And for serious high-rollers there’s the 305-square-metre Grace Villa, which has two king bedrooms and an on-call butler, mixologist and chef.
Standing at 138 metres tall, Frome Central Tower One is Adelaide’s tallest building. And the rooms at the Crowne Plaza make the most of that elevation. Stay in the hotel’s eastern half and you’ll have uninterrupted views out over the parklands and the Mount Lofty Ranges beyond, which are maximised by floor to ceiling windows.
The hotel’s East End location will be especially convenient during Fringe, when the major hubs are just a short stroll away. And if going out seems like too much effort, grab a bite to eat at Koomo, the Japanese-influenced restaurant on the 10th floor, before saluting the sunset with a saketini at the poolside bar.
Other venues may look out over the city’s green spaces, but the Adelaide Oval Hotel actually sits within the parklands. Located across the river from the city centre, it’s a bit quieter than other city hotels except on game days, when the roar of the crowd reverberates around Australia’s first stadium hotel.
138 light-filled rooms wrap around the stadium’s eastern side and look out over the Cathedral and the River Torrens. But head down to contemporary all-day restaurant Bespoke for breakfast and you’ll have an excellent vantage point of the famous oval.
And if you’re after a work-out yourself, hit the running trails that cross the parklands or take advantage of guest access to neighbouring Next Gen, one of Adelaide’s best gyms.
From the cantilevered balconies overlooking a sheer drop on the edge of the bucolic Piccadilly valley, Sequoia’s ultra-exclusive six-star villas feel like they’re much further than 20 minutes from the city. Each open-plan suite has a deep freestanding tub, fireplace and sensors triggering custom aromas and soundscapes as guests enter. Soon they’ll be joined by an onsen, sundeck and infinity pool.
In the former gatekeeper’s cottage nearby, the day spa is one of only two places in the world where you can find the trademark Jurlique Rose (the other is the Jurlique farm down the road). After a treatment, guests can stroll around the landscaped gardens, relax with a glass of bubbles from the onsite vineyard or even order a degustation from Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant delivered to their room.
Still going strong after more than 150 years, the Central Market is the epicentre of Adelaide’s culinary scene, a place where home cooks and high-profile chefs alike wander the aisles as vendors spruik their wares.
When it opens just metres away in February, Hotel Indigo will tap into that energy with locally driven menus at both mod-Oz restaurant Market & Meander and rooftop raw-food bar Merrymaker. Beyond the menu, look out for custom crockery and glassware by Caslake and Pedler and hand-forged blades from Dogboy Knives.
The airy rooms themselves celebrate another local icon, with colourful tessellated carpets and wall decorations inspired by Adelaide Festival posters from past years.