Hotel Review: East Hotel ups the ante with a lush lobby to lounge in

East Hotel was one of the first design hotels in Canberra when it opened its doors a number of years ago. It’s been able to marry the service of a luxury hotel, the personality and care of a boutique stay, yet offer so much more than a hotel room – their range of luxury apartments.

The Welcome: We arrive just after 6pm following a busy Friday night escape from Sydney. Whoah! This place is buzzing. Normally reception areas are place you pass through, but not here. The East has just reinvented itself again. Joe’s Bar now spills out into the main floor which has been transformed with low slung sofas, rich fabrics, arm chairs and ottomans. Everyone has come out of their rooms and the beautiful skyward atrium is full of the hum of people drinking, chatting and relaxing under a stunning chandelier installation. We dump our bag’s, freshen up and it’s not long before we sink into a green plush sofa, order an old fashioned and join the socially distanced party!

One Bedroom Apartment

Rooms: Room 503 is a one bedroom apartment is tucked away in one of the corner wings. It’s decked out in art from Red Bubble with floor to ceiling views over the sparkling city and mount Ainslie. Our balcony has a table and chairs just begging for a glass of wine which is rather handy as a complimentary bottle of Collector Tiger Tiger Chardonnay and some artisan chocolates welcomes us! The fit out is stylish and creative from candy purple arm chairs, sleek black designer kitchen and spa bathroom adorned with Appelles apothecary. There are enough fluffy white towels to keep a Dulux puppy happy. Our Kingsize bed is oh so comfy but dinner is calling…


Dinner at Agostinis – It’s unabashadly Italian from the Vespa parked to the by the side of the golden domed Marana Forni wood fire oven from Verona to Chef Francesco Balestieri. Everything is made in house from the pizza dough naturally leavened for 72hrs, pasta, olives, gelato, to his salami. We kick off with a glorious plate of calamari rings along with a ‘Bruschetta Di Granchio’ which is a marvel of sweet blue swimmer crab, fennel, lemon and topped with bold slices of chili and capers. It’s so simple – but beautifully flavoured its our hero of the night. Move over tomato and basil we say!

The lobster marinara is a show off and rightly so – half a lobster greets you (minus the royal wave), sitting on top of a jumble of al dente spaghetti and cherry tomatoes. The pappardelle of slow cooked pork and tuscan kale is rich and delicious. Pizza’s are flying out of the oven and one hits our table. The base is light as a feather but holds up to generous topping of Scamorza cheese, dabs of italian pork and fennel sausage. Wine’s are a romp through Canberra and Italy. We are tempted to order the house Sangiovese on tap, but opt for a glass of award winning 2019 Ravensworth Beppos Blend which is a collaboration with East Hotel. We finish with a 2015 Cutaja Caruso Nero D’Avola which is full of soft fruits, good structure and cut’s through the richness of the meat.

Roasted portobello mushrooms

Breakfast at Muse: Part bookstore, part cafe. It’s a refined way to start the morning. The coffee machine is keeping up with orders of roasted Red Brick Espresso. The menu is eclectic and we order sriracha eggs benedict. It could go more hard core on the chili, but the eggs are poached perfectly and a generous layer of pulled ham hock lifts up the flavours. Slow roasted garlic and thyme portobello mushrooms are everything mushrooms should be but rarely are. Served with a fried egg so perfect it should be hung in an art gallery. The souffle is one for cheese lovers. It has a dense rather than fluffy texture arriving on a puddle of intense tassie cheddar and double smoked ham cream sauce which is a winner for dipping.

East Hotel
69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston, Canberra
Agostinis & Joes Bar
Muse – Hours; Mon-Sat 7am – 2pm, Sun 7am-midday

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).