The Burbury Hotel:
1 Burbury Close, Barton ACT
(02) 6173 2700 or www.burburyhotel.com.au
I’m not the first one to say it, but Canberra is a peculiar place. Normal ‘rules of engagement’ don’t necessarily apply. And as you get sucked nearer the Parliament Hill vortex those rules become more and more elastic. The area I’m referring to, Barton, is dominated by be-suited bureaucrats, lobbiests, and pollies. Regular people like you and me hardly rate a mention. So when the Doma Group built the five-star Hotel Realm [Issue 36] it was very aware of its target market. Yes, leisure travellers would occasionally flit in and out of the Realm orbit but here was a hotel designed, built and pitched to the Monday to Friday visitor.
Realm has done very well for itself. Ostani — the house bar/restaurant — is the place for after-work drinks, to the point where the courtyard is absolutely heaving on a Friday evening.
Such is the success that the Doma Group determined that a companion 4.5-star hotel was necessary. The new hotel would have access to the Realm facilities but essentially it would be a comfortable, stylish dormitory with breakfast facilities and modest function spaces.
The result is The Burbury, a hotel conceived for the corporate market, which opened in September last year.
Externally the hotel is unremarkable, but inside, KRM Architects has successfully given The Burbury a timeless and comfortable feel with satisfying touches of luxury. There aren’t any flashes of quirky exhibitionism — Burbury maintains a classic aesthetic and comfort is never sacrificed for the sake of a headline.
The rooms feature dark fabric wall panels and a custom designed carpet from Feltex. A timber veneer-clad box separates the bedroom from the open plan bathroom area and houses a built-in desk, wardrobes and a mini bar, a feature that KRM Director, Harlan Redgen is especially happy with: “If you’re in a normal-sized hotel room, I hate feeling like I’m falling over the luggage racks, and then you have a tinny fridge, a desk in the corner with a chair, and it all feels really clunky. By putting all of these aspects into one central element, it feels like everything has its place. It’s not just a room with a collection of furniture thrown into it.”
There are no doors to the bathroom but thanks to the Gohera Limestone it almost feels like a lobby to the hotel room. The vanity was designed to look more like a freestanding piece of furniture as opposed to a built-in bathroom basin. The furniture in the room is sophisticated and sits comfortably within what is essentially a bedroom but also the guest’s living room for the duration of their stay. White plantation shutters set the tone for the lighting within the room: “The white shutters provide some contrast,” noted Harlan. “As do the lights behind each of the bed head panel and the panel that conceals the bed head TV, so at night there’s a glow around each of those.”
As mentioned, Burbury doesn’t need the full complement of facilities — pool, spa, gym etc — but the Burbury Terrace on the upper level of the hotel is particularly successful. Designed as a multi purpose venue for functions, it’s day-to-day role is to provide the hotel breakfast service. Harlan explains: “The top floor can be divided into three separate areas or it can make one area, or it can be used for weddings or conferences, or it can be shut off and used for private dining for 20 while another party is using another area. Flexibility is the key.”
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
For a hotel whose raison d’être is taking care of business travellers, it successfully treads the line of not being too quirky or too stodgy. For example, the use of the beautiful Gohera limestone — from the lobby to the bathroom — is a standout. Soft, muted, classic, understated and classy, without flashiness… in many regards it epitomises what the hotel is all about. Little wonder, then, that The Burbury has joined the upper echelon of Canberra’s hotel establishment with sure-footed confidence. — Christopher Holder