South Australia goes glam

FROM glamorous hotels to funky boutiques, Adelaide is upping the ante on stylish accommodation.

The entrance to Clarion Soho Hotel by GuavaLime

The latest addition is the Clarion Hotel Soho – named for the arty London suburb, and close to Adelaide’s stylish East End. The five-storey hotel opened in October, 2008, in a brand new building on 400sq m of land. It’s designed by award-winning Australian architects Loucas Zahos, with 30 rooms, including balcony and spa suites.

General Manager and fifth generation hotelier Stephanie Horlin-Smith says their vision was “to create a modern masterpiece on a small footprint”. Her family has always been in hotels and pubs and they now run two Quality hotels in Adelaide, which are also part of the Choice Hotels Australasia chain.

“We’ve travelled a lot and stayed in some of the best places in the world and I guess we drew on that for what we wanted to do here,” she says. “The name is saying a little bit of Soho in Adelaide… I’ve been in Adelaide my whole life and I can’t see myself leaving. I love it here.”

They worked with the architects and interior designers to create something with the best sustainable building practices in mind. The rooms feature bi-folding windows with electronic external louvre shutters admitting natural light and fresh air, and energy saving Eco-Green switches which control power to all in-room lights and appliances. They also have king-size beds with Missoni linens, Australian-made Natio Spa products, 42-inch LCD televisions, iPod docking stations, cable broadband internet and 20th century designer furniture.

The hotel also has an extensive, ever-changing art collection showcasing emerging South Australian artists. Each guest room features an original artwork, available for sale, and Stephanie points out that “we have about five different artists (represented) at the moment. We move them around and bring new ones in … we support the local art scene.”

While the hotel in Flinders Street is still a little off the beaten track, it’s a short walk to Rundle Street shopping, bars and restaurants as well as the Botanic Gardens and the Art Gallery of South Australia. The area’s also gradually becoming dotted with good breakfast places and Horlin-Smith hopes its Decant restaurant will capture outside diners for breakfast.

“Breakfast trade anywhere in Australia now is huge. In this east end of the city there’s a couple of great breakfast places (Chianti and East Terrace Continental) … we want to be part of that. It’s a laidback area, a sophisticated area plus you’ve got the best shopping and the restaurants and cafes in walking distance.”

It’s also very close to arts festival venues and the Clipsal 500 race (warning if you’re not a car racing fan). “It’s a fairly safe area too,” she says.

While there are bed and breakfast packages most rates don’t include the a la carte breakfast in Decant. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner with a modern Australian menu by chef Rocco Tedesco showcasing local and organic produce. The hotel, with its bright orange balconies, has a small rooftop deck and equally small heated jet pool overlooking Adelaide’s city skyline. However passes are also available to the excellent Christian Brothers College gym and pool across the road, which is open to the public.

Story by Diana Plater
Adelaide Advertiser
Full Story HERE