If you're dreaming of a picturesque landscape shouldered by the rugged Grampians mountain range, ancient volcanoes and waterfalls, with majestic rivers meandering pastoral land dotted with red gums and sheep, then a weekend in Hamilton and the Southern Grampians might just be that escape from the bustle of Melbourne. A visit is made easy with the range accommodations available from hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts to self-contained units at affordable prices.
A perfect hotel to park your tired feet after touring the surrounds is Comfort Inn Botanical, whose name was inspired by the Royal Botanic Gardens opposite the property. If you are traveling by V-Line, the property is only a short walk from the V-Line coach station or Hamilton Railway Station. Located a few minutes from the main streets which provide the majority of shopping and dining in Hamilton, the hotel is an ideal base for venturing to different parts of the town.
Comfort Inn Botanical is what I would call an old fashion country hospitality hotel, operated by with genuinely nice locals Geoff and Lyn Hayes and their daughter Jess Rolls. It's not much to look at but the rooms are comfortable and service is sincere.
Rooms were along single storey blocks equipped with parking right outside the doors. The options include standard queen or double rooms, twin share, or family rooms, larger queen rooms and rooms with spas. Jess informed me that the property is popular with several long-staying corporate guests. The hotel was home to members of the Vintage and Classic Car Club from Ballarat during their annual Hamilton Queen's Birthday Rally. The carpark was transformed into a showroom of immaculate classic cars for vintage auto fans.
The queen room I occupied on my previous trip was not fancy but spacious, clean and adequately equipped with air-conditioning, bathing amenities, small dining table, television, mini-fridge, coffee and tea making facilities for less than AUD130 a night. With my Vodafone wireless broadband down, the free Wi-Fi in the room was a welcomed blessing.
The Comfort Inn Botanical also boasts an onsite restaurant, The Botanical Dining and Bar, which seats up to 70 people. Open 7 days from 7am till late, the restaurant offers a casual environment overlooking the Botanic Gardens. It is popular for quality meals including brekkie, lunch and dinner from an ever changing black board that is prepared by the chef nightly. The cake and coffee come highly recommended by the locals and I have been encouraged to try. In-house guests are invited to dine in or take advantage of the room service. The onsite cocktail lounge and bar is an excellent place to chilli out over beer or local wine with family and friends after a day of touring. For Business travellers, the hotel also provides copy and fax services and meeting facilities that can accommodate up to 15 people.
The Botanical Dining and Bar / Image courtesy of Comfort Inn Botanical
The hotel is a franchise of Choice Hotels International, one of the largest and most successful lodging companies in the world under its Comfort Inn hotels brand. Members of Choice Hotels can earn Choice Privileges points with every qualifying stay at Comfort Inn Botanical.