Hotel Hotel

Writer Claire Hastings shares with us a unique experience at a beautiful design hotel in sunny Canberra, Australia! In Claire’s own words…

A friend suggested going to Canberra, Australia where culture travelers, art lovers, business enthusiasts and students fantastically mingle with the charming locals; he babbled on and on about this new, stand-out hotel: Hotel Hotel. At first, I wasn’t into hotel accommodation at all but when I finally looked it up, I swear my jaw dropped. I may have even drooled a little!


On the presentation, the hotel looked like a Hollywood-star-worthy-a-complex, modestly speaking. The page cited they have “the best of global cinema, independent book and pop-up stores, music, and local cafés and bar”, and that wasn’t all – the hotel was a sustainable architecture, re-used and salvaged timber miracle!


As I’d grasped, they had amazing bicycle lanes, all kinds of sports activities options and a relax center to die for. I was enamored immediately… and booked it, obviously!

Everything from the hotel’s phenomenal, spine-tingling surroundings to the overwhelmingly beautiful interior was a whole new experience. I have no idea how my eyes didn’t pop out right there. And when I entered my room, I swear the hairs on my back all stood up in amazement.


Sweet Suite


The leather arm chair and muted tones made for a very earthy look and feel in the bedroom. I loved the art on the walls.


Even the bathrooms are super sleek.



The food was remarkable, the staff incredibly nice, there were hoteliers who offered their full-time service in aiding with suggesting activities to do and inform of hotel theme evenings.


Get Active
I spent ten days in the hotel and enjoyed everything I could – from swimming and cycling around, exploring culture and architecture of the site to wining and dining in the evenings. And yes, I did meet someone but we’ll leave that for some other time, okay? I’ll just say we headed to Europe together, afterwards 🙂

The End

It was spectacular, the whole thing! Please treat yourself to a Hotel Hotel experience if you can; it’ll change you forever. And, most importantly – remember to love yourself. The future you will thank you.



Since I was planning on going on my Aussie-Euro trip for a few months, I knew I had to bring all the key pieces; everything else, I figured, I can buy when I’m there (wherever “there” happened to be in that moment).


My hygiene kit (everything from toothbrush, band aid and floss to allergy shots and paracetamol based meds) and makeup kit (just the basics) were essentials, along with all of my chargers, phones, tablets and my laptop. I’ve packed a few pairs of jeans, a few statement shirts (never liked to keep things dull, even in distress), my cycling and workout gear (I figured this place in Canberra was going to be amazing for cycling and workouts) and three of my jackpot evening dresses, just in case (you never know who you’ll be dining with next). One pair of sneaks and nude heels – I did not need more.

Want Claire’s laidback approach to travel? Here is some sartorial inspiration:




73 AED –

H&M high-rise shorts
37 AED –

Leather flat
94 AED –

TOMS brown leather bag
735 AED –

Casetify iphone case
145 AED –

Sennheiser tech accessory
54 AED –
Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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