Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge
233 Victoria Square
If convenience is a luxury, the Hilton Adelaide is hands down the most luxurious hotel in the capital city of Australia's South Australia province.
Located in the heart of the city's historic grid design at the cross of King William and Grote Street, a modern tower surrounded by vintage courthouses, the Hilton crowns one side of Victoria Square. Outside the front door, expanses of the Square's green grass stretch to each side. And smack dab opposite the hotel's front door is a stop for the free tram trolley that takes riders around town free of charge.
And convenience is only the beginning of the hotel's attractions. Bellmen uniformed as Bush wranglers in Crocodile Dundee-style hats and tans carry your luggage up the steps to the soothing white marble lobby where efficient staff receptionists welcome you and may even manage to find a room at 9 am for early check-in.
Hilton has a knack for designing rooms that are contemporary and comfortable while ingeniously making the best use of space and the 374 guest accommodations in this Hilton exemplify stylish design. On entering, straight ahead is a window -- and an operable one -- framing the cityscape outside. Besides it is a work station, fully outfitted with outlets and hotel information. The roomy bed faces a 21-inch screen TV on a clever mounting that allows it to swivel and be seen from all three sides of the room.
Unlike some other chains, Hilton offers spacious drawers slung below a handy counter for unpacking. The closet is fitted with slippers, terry cloth robe, and a roomy safe. A separate slim closet beside the door conceals the iron and ironing board. The mini-bar fridge is secured behind handsome wooden molding with an adjacent ledge holding the kettle to boil water for packets of tea and coffee -- with milk supplied in little packets of liquid, not powder. Room service is available every day all day. Equally well designed, the bathroom contains a separate tub and a glass enclosed shower, a handy vanity fully outfitted with Peter Thomas Roth cosmetics and amenity kits, and lots of heavy white towels.
In addition to the Business Lounge on the first floor, the sixteenth floor premium Executive Lounge offers free wi-fi, easy checking in and out, and complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening snacks.
Meals are served in the lobby's open plan Brasserie which features Australian specialties from Barossa Valley wines to olives from the Eyre peninsula. Options for the $25 express lunch include black Angus prime sirloin with creamed garlic and thyme mash or Huon salmon with lentil sprouts and baby spinach. The elaborate breakfast buffet fills the room with specialty dried fruit yogurt parfaits, bespoke waffles and pancakes, a choice of honeys from Bush Mallee to Blue Gum, and orange juice fresh-squeezed on the spot. While scheduled for remodeling, the space is currently partitioned with wrought iron coils of twining grape leaves, for after all this area is central to Victoria's wine regions. Langmeil Backsmith Cabernet Sauvignon is one particular local favorite from an extensive local wine list.
Wi-fi is free in the Lobby Lounge where plushy pink and lavender suede chairs and big brown leather banquettes are arranged around handy tables and colorful modern tapestries brighten the mood. One side of the lounge is lined with liquor bottles offering an array of choices for those nestling up to the bar.
Alternatively cocktails are served in the hotel's Collins Bar. Entering from the street, clients walk into a sophisticated space with a handy open "picture window" enabling clients to sip cocktails while virtually sitting on the edge of Victoria Square. Augmenting 45 gins, 55 bourbons, plus scotches and tequilas from around the globe, the cocktail menu features over 30 "bespoke" cocktails. The most favored, according to waiters, is the Elderflower and Lychee Breeze infused with fresh ginger, apple juice and kafir lime leaves, but other choices include the Peanut Butter Flip which features spiked bourbon, chocolate bitters, and maple syrup and the Maple Syrup Bacon Manhattan -- bacon washed bourbon blended with sweet and dry vermouth, maple syrup served straight up with a crisps of bacon!!
To counteract meal and beverage calories the fully outfitted gym and outdoor swimming pool considerately stay open until 10 pm. There's also an indoor sauna and Jacuzzi. Hotel concierges can help guests arrange golf at the local course or day trips and tours to nearby wine regions Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, and Barossa. The tram outside the hotel goes direct to beachside Glenelg where the city's founders first landed, now a region of marinas, outdoor restaurants, and the Centre Bay Discovery Center.
But there's also plenty to do in town with its wonderful mix of Victorian and modern buildings and activities. Fine arts, local history, and Aboriginal culture are vividly documented in local museums. "Must" stops include touring the Botanic Gardens and the National Wine Center, viewing the extraordinary three-level vintage Mawson Room of the public library, and visiting the 19th-century mansion built by Sir Henry Ayres for whom Australia's famous natural landmark Ayres Rock is named. Shoppers can stroll the promenade of the Rundle Street Mall, visit craftspeople making jewelry, ceramics, and artwork at the Jam Factory gallery, or just behind the Hilton browse the foodstuffs, restaurants, and goods in the arcades of the charming historic Victorian Market.
Nicknamed "Festival City," Adelaide hosts annual events focused around music, dance, cabaret, guitar, writing-- there's something happening almost every week. The mainstay is the annual Adelaide Arts Festival, over two weeks of events held all over town. I happened to be there during this year's that festival while it was running concurrent with two other events, the Garden of Unearthly Delights and the Fringe Festival. Some of the Fringe events were set up in Victoria Square right across the street across from my room. For hotel guests that was an extra luxury -- concerts and dances performed right outside the window.
© April 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.