The Vibe Hotel is a new, architecturally striking building at Canberra Airport which opened its doors in November 2015. The hotel is literally located at the Canberra Airport and is only a 50-metre walk from the front door of the hotel to the main terminal. This close proximity makes it a convenient hotel for visitors who are leaving early in the morning or arriving on a late flight and need an easy hotel to get to. It is also an ideal location for business people, politicians or holiday makers who want to stay close to the airport, as well as being only a quick 5km taxi ride to the CBD.
For Canberrans, it is also a fascinating place to relax with a coffee or cocktail, enjoy a meal or just explore the many striking features inside the building and out. On a personal note, I was intrigued by the inside of this hotel, however it wasn't until I received a comment on one of my articles - 10 Cafes, Pubs & Wineries with Fireplaces - which led me to find out more. A Weekendnotes reader had commented that the Vibe Hotel also had a fireplace that was worth checking out (thank you for the tip if you're reading this!). So on a chilly Winter weekend in August, it was all the excuse we needed to go for a morning coffee by a toasty fire and try it out for ourselves.
Bates Smart Architects designed this 50 million dollar, seven-storey, 191-room hotel. Inside the foyer is a seven story high atrium which is the stand out "wow" feature of the interior. When you walk in the front door and look up, this is all you can say. The atrium has five round skylights to let in the natural light which bathes the lobby, bar and restaurant in white light, so visitors feel they are more outside, than in. For those who are interested in architecture, the atrium was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wrights' Guggenheim Museum in New York, which was designed to let natural light in to enjoy the artworks inside. The Guggenheim painted the levels of the atrium in white, however the Vibe Hotel has black levels where the hotel rooms are situated, to show the contrast in the lines. As seen below, the resemblance is easy to see.
Looking up from the foyer to the hotel levels above - with black walkways for guests to walk along to their rooms
Under the middle of the Atrium is Helix Bar and Dining, with a central bar and a sectioned off dining area to the side, which focusses on modern Australian cuisine and featuring local produce on their menu. They are open at 6am for a full or continental buffet breakfast as well as lunch (12pm - 3pm) and dinner (5pm - 10pm) from the menu. If you visit for dinner, why not linger around the bar and enjoy a cocktail, local wine or craft beer from their extensive drinks list. On our visit we enjoyed coffees from the bar, however you can also order bar food to enjoy by the fireplace or any of the two lounge areas.
Helix Bar and Dining is also advertised as an airport lounge, so you can relax in comfort with a drink while you wait for your flight or to pick up someone from the airport. On one wall is a large screen showing the airport departure and arrival information so you can keep up to date with the flight status. With so many interior features to admire around the bar and atrium however, it may be hard to leave.
If you are planning on going to the Vibe Hotel for dinner and perhaps are thinking of making a weekend of it, there are packages for overnight stays including breakfast, see here for details. Another architectural feature of this hotel is the floor to ceiling decorative metal circles designed into the window frames in each of the rooms - which are seen from the inside and out.
Stylish hotel rooms with views and decorative windows. Source: Vibe Hotel website
When you walk inside the Vibe Hotel the centre of the foyer and bar area isn't large, however as you look up and then around, it is a place you want to walk around and explore. The fireplace, in particular, is a highlight in the winter months, with a comfortable area to sit and just chill out with a coffee, cocktail or pinot. Although the restaurant area wasn't busy when we visited, there are more substantial food options on offer if you want something more to eat.
If you are visiting Canberra and have a love architecture, food, wine and fireplaces (not necessarily in that order), then also check out the Monster Kitchen and Bar inside the Nishi Building in the NewActon Precinct. It is unsurpassed.
With so much architecture and design around Canberra to admire and enjoy, Vibe Hotel fits in with its own unique style and atrium "wow" factor. Even the unisex toilets next to the bar have their own surprise factor, ensure you have a look on your visit. So why not drop in this weekend and have a look around....
..you may as well stay for a cocktail while you're there! Source: Helix Bar and Dining Facebook
Where:Vibe Canberra Airport, 1 Rogan Street, Canberra ACT 2609. On our visit we parked out the front of the hotel (next to the petrol station) in the 1 hour free parking. More parking is available under the hotel.