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LUXURY HOTELS: East hotel, canberra 
THE first night at East Hotel in Canberra we had been planning to go out to eat in nearby Manuka but really, why bother when the food inside East is so good. Especially when it’s a wild and windy night blowing cold air from the ski slopes further south.   Much better to stay and savour the snacks at Joe’s Bar (oh, that crispy prosciutto and smokey scarmorza cheese) accompanied by a glass of warming red … or two. Since Joe’s attracts a lot of locals as well as guests the bar is hopping; both the antipasti and the atmosphere are brilliant. Yep, we’re definitely hunkering down here for the evening. 

East Hotel
East Hotel
East Hotel  outside
East Hotel  agonstinis
East Hotel Canberra Lobby
East Hotel joes
East Hotel bikes


That’s the thing about East Hotel, there’s an energy and a vibe about the place that makes guest want to hang around. The furniture is more funky and the food more fabulous than so many places outside. Which explains why the following evening at Agostinis restaurant there’s not a spare table in sight.  True, it’s a Saturday night but there are other places to eat in Canberra. In Australia’s seat of government people are clearly voting with their stomachs, so they come here.  The Vespa parked next to the open kitchen and the wall art state the intention clearly –they serve authentic Italian food with flair.  The restaurant is named after the owners’ (Dion and Dan Bisa) mother Marisa, whose maiden surname was Agostini. Her family owned a restaurant in Northern Italy before migrating to Australia in the 1930’s.

they serve authentic Italian food with flair

To keep the family connections flowing, Bryan Martin from Ravensworth Wines has also created a wine especially for Agostinis, a  blend of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo & Barbera, three great Italian varieties. It is named after Nonno Beppo, (grandpa Beppo)  who apparently loved  a steak cooked in olive oil, butter and sage with a raddichio salad and  ”a glass of vino rosso”. Needless to say the steak here is excellent, Nonno would approve.   The pasta is good too (I recommend the tortellini in brodo soup) and the pizzas were so popular they were being launched out of the kitchen like a fleet of flying saucers, landing on virtually every other table. 

There is Madmen-meets-modernism décor to the common areas and rooms. This is the perfect hotel for a stopover if you’re driving from Sydney to the snow fields.  There are some nice winter touches; Gluhwein is served to guests on arrival and our one bedroom apartment there was a cosy wool throw to curl up with while reading a good book.  Hot chocolate, as well as tea and a Nespresso machine in the kitchen, was also very welcome on a chilly day.

Talking of a good book, anyone obsessed with books and food (guilty as charged) should also try out Muse on the ground floor (see, back to the food again). The restaurant/wine bar/bookshop has a concession in the hotel and dishes up novel food (pun intended) on a loosely literary theme (entrees are the ‘prologue’, followed by chapter one, chapter two etc). An honourable mention also has to go to the restaurant's innovative breakfasts - the baked cheese soufflé cheese and smoked ham in particular.

East Hotel bedroom
East Hotel bedroom
East Hotel Lobby
East Hotel sofa
East Hotel pizza
East Hotel  bed


Canberra is a great spot for a weekend away the wide boulevards of Walter Burley Griffiths original design for the city mean getting around is easy. East Hotel offers bicycles to guests for a chance to explore the city on two wheels. It’s an easy ride down to the lake where locals always seem to be walking, running or cycling around the perimeter. We also bought Premium tickets [s please link to news piece] to the Monet Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, then wandered around the rest of the gallery, etting spotty in the permanent Yayoi Kusama installation and leering at the Lichtenstein’s. 

Enjoy Monet: Impression Sunrise at the NGA, cocktails at Joe’s Bar and a Monet inspired dinner for two at Agostinis (Alcoholic beverages are not included for dinner.) Accommodation in an East Apartment with free parking and WiFi.  Stay one night for $380 or relax and stay two nights for $580.  Valid From now until September 1 2019

Luxury Hotels Link: www.easthotel.com.au

Hilary Doling, Posted 10/07/2019

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