An old-school Adelaide welcome with a creative vibe

A new hotel is always welcome in Adelaide, the “festival city” that well and truly earns its moniker. Culture vultures searching for a room at peak festival times can now consider Vibe Hotel, a design-led urban bolthole that opened this year in the city’s East End.

Vibe Hotel Adelaide

The festival city has a smart new design-driven hotel, ideal for art lovers and Fringe dwellers.

It’s a CBD base conveniently close to the Adelaide stages where global creatives and performers strut their stuff during arts, music and literary events. This part of the city, within walking distance to the Adelaide Fringe, the annual Adelaide Festival’s edgier, cabaret-oriented sidekick, has a boho rather than corporate flavour. Its heritage pubs, bars, galleries and boutiques give Flinders St, lined with signature bluestone architecture, a neighbourly feel.

My warm welcome on arrival feels very old-school Adelaide; staff are clearly energised by the city’s newest hotel. Whenever I wait outside for a taxi, reception staff pop out to see if I need anything and offer a takeaway cuppa.

Vibe Hotel’s striking 18-floor glass frontage brings urban boldness to the leafy enclave bordering the parklands. Adelaide and Brisbane-based Loucas Zahos Architects has filled the cavernous lobby and communal space with design elements of timber, pressed metal and glass to bring warmth to textural raw concrete. The hotel commissioned local metal artisan, Jeremy Herbert of Iron Edge Design, to create the lobby’s 15m-long serpentine chandelier, suspended from the concrete ceiling. Its acrylic rods glow in varying colours throughout the day, adding to the upscale feel of the new build. Herbert’s lattice work above the reception area and perforated timber panels on the exterior help to integrate interior and outdoor spaces, while the cantilevered roof, angled panels and geometric glass box walls of the lobby give a contemporary edge.

The 123-room hotel offers multiple guestroom and suite categories, from lead-in options to Premier suites. Upper-level rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows have fabulous district views, all the way to the Adelaide Hills. Thick charcoal carpet scattered with geometric patterns, slatted Tasmanian Oak bathroom panels, textured walls and rippled tiles in slate and grey-green tones create the look of an inner-city apartment. Local artist Alex Frayne’s eerily atmospheric landscape photography (Adelaide Noir is the title of one of his books) adds a gracenote of cultural colour, while exposed concrete ceilings mirror the lobby’s modern, elemental style.

The lobby’s 15m-long serpentine chandelier, by Loucas Zahos Architects and Jeremy Herbert of Iron Edge Design

One of my favourite touches is the elevated freestanding bath placed right by the window in my Urban Retreat room; it delivers a touch of wellness-retreat in the city. I soak in warm bubbles while watching the lights of the skyline twinkle and pedestrians walk by far below. Toiletries are by homegrown clean beauty brand O&M, imbuing skin and hair with pleasant scents of grapefruit and lilly pilly.

Another memorable design detail is the Level One lap pool suspended on a bridge between the hotel and the development’s neighbouring ONE apartment building above the lobby. For travellers who are daily swimmers, as I am, a hotel pool is a gold-star asset. The chevron tiles are stunning, and it’s just long enough for a decent lap. It’s an intimate space, designed for a quick dip rather than lounging, so you may have it all to yourself. A metal lattice shelter creates prettily dappled light, and the nearby spa and sauna adds a pampering element.

Storehouse, the in-house restaurant, flows out to a courtyard filled with established trees and Australian native grasses. Try one of South Australia’s most iconic ingredients in the Blue Swimmer Crab Benedict (locals often take their kids crabbing at nearby Port Gawler), stuffed into a croissant with lashings of yuzu kosho hollandaise. The a la carte breakfast menu showcases other local goodies such as Beerenberg jam on ciabatta. Dinner fare includes Goolwa pipis, mullet from the Coorong, and MB9+ wagyu rump from the fertile soils of Mayura Station on the Limestone Coast.

Guestroom at Vibe Hotel Adelaide

Adelaide, with its grid planned to perfection by Colonel Light in the early 19th century, is an eminently walkable city. From Vibe, guests can stroll to nearby dining favourites such as Golden Boy (Thai), Kiin (fusion) and grand old dame – complete with ballroom – Ayers House.

The independent retail stores of Rundle St and the wisteria-hung archways of the Botanic Garden are also close by.

As Adelaide’s latest festival, Illuminate, draws to a close this weekend, art lovers may be tempted by the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition (until September 17) and Misty Mountain, Shining Moon, a new display of Japanese landscapes (until November 12), both at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Visitors now have another creative accommodation option around which to anchor their stay.

Story by Cleo Glyde for The Australian.
Cleo was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission.
Original Story HERE