Hotels around Australia are gearing up for a busy Christmas season with special deals and packages, refreshed food and beverage offerings, and new ways to support the local community.
At the Bondi Beach outpost of QT Hotels and Resorts, for instance, a “Slow Set to Slow Rise” package is on offer, where visitors can take a self-care holiday that includes a pamper package at neighbouring Slow House spa.
“Our relationships with our neighbours have grown, and there is a shared desire to work together to reinvigorate the unique ways to see our cities,” said David Sude from QT Hotels and Resorts.
“Even more so than ever before, we’ve seen our guests increasingly seek experiential accommodation.”
Marit Connell from TFE, the group which owns Adina, Vibe Hotels and Travelodge, said now is the time to take advantage of great deals for hotels in urban centres.
“Whilst regional areas have seen an injection in bookings, the cities are sluggish, but we are starting to see bookings for weekends in November.
“Like the last time we emerged from lockdown, demand is centred around apartment hotels (they’re versatile), with traditional hotels recording a slower pace. The majority of the demand is skewed towards the weekends, driven by leisure demand. Melbourne and Hobart are very much at a standstill.”
TFE Hotels has spent the last year updating the onsite restaurants attached to its hotels. Salted Egg at the Quincy Hotel in Melbourne fuses the eclectic buzz of Melbourne’s laneway life with Southeast Asia’s tantalising sights, sounds and flavours under the guidance of Adam Woodfield, who is recognised as one of Australia’s most celebrated masters of the cuisine.
“My dream is to bring back what Sydney was so famous for in the ’90s and early 2000s. Authentic, fresh, and deliciously robust cuisine, with its own story to tell,” said Chef Woodfield.
At the A by Adina in Sydney, Dean & Nancy on 22 has developed a cocktail menu that balances decadence and drama with precision and playful service.
“At the end of the day, an impressive cocktail list might get people through the door but it’s the experience they have with you which keeps them coming back,” said Dean & Nancy co-founder and creative director Andrew Gualdi.
The crew at The Calile in Brisbane has spent the past 12 months reinventing its Lobby Bar. The new menu was inspired by the team’s international experiences and unique heritages.
QT Hotels and Resorts’ staff are excited to reopen and welcome travellers back. “Gowings Bar & Grill has been gearing up to open our doors again, from the moment we closed for lockdown,” said QT’s Mr Sude.
“Produce-forward dishes, silver service, a place for fun and frivolity, an escape to New York-inspired city dining – we haven’t been able to do what we do best.
“In search of silver linings, like many other places, we’ve taken this time for research and development,” he added. “The whole dining experience, from the first cocktail to the last drink, has been invigorated the past few months.”
He also said holidaymakers, after months of being locked down, are looking for pampering experiences to complement their holidays.
“It’s been wonderful to see spaQ looking after locals and guests. The demand has been incredibly high and it’s well timed as we’ve been working on expanding our spaQ offering. It’s very exciting and we look forward to launching this concept soon,” he added.
Looking to 2022 he said, “A nimble attitude towards travel plans will translate to international bookings as vaccination rates are up and we open our borders.
“Everyone has had to increase their flexibility when it comes to booking policies, in addition to health and safety standards. I don’t see this going anywhere anytime soon. We’ve seen growth in bookings of our fully flexible rates.”
He said there has been many positives to be taken from the pandemic, “a silver lining is a newfound or greater appreciation for the little things. An expertly shaken martini, a Director of Chaos at QT Sydney remembering your coffee order or following up on the restaurant they’ve recommended to you, to room service or a midnight mini-bar raid.
“Settle in for a staycation and be a tourist in your own city before international travel opens up, you’ll find there’s so much of home to discover.”