QT Hotel Canberra general manager Paul Scott in one of the refurbished rooms in the QT Hotel. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
The QT Canberra hotel launches in New Acton on Thursday featuring a quirky, vintage design that pays homage to the political history of the national capital.
Formerly Rydges Lakeside, the additions to the building include live Twitter feeds on screens in the lobby, wallpaper featuring historic quotes and caricatures and hidden, back-door rooms.
Stephen Howard, from QT Hotel and Resorts, said despite remaining operational throughout the renovations, all of the rooms had been updated to the QT style for the opening, a feat they managed by "doing it stage by stage".
A Preview of the QT Hotel
The Rydges Hotel Lakeside is being rebranded and refurbished to launch as QT Canberra later in the year. Executive sous chef, Carlos Saslazar in part of the new kitchen. Photo: Rohan Thompson
The public spaces have been made over to suit the new look and fitted with bespoke furnishings.
As well as a new restaurant and bar, a New-York style speakeasy, Lucky's, is on the ground floor and has a hidden entry through an operational barber shop.
The transformation of the rooms is less dramatic. They share the same layout and fixtures as the old Rydges Lakeside. The upgrade has been about details, including designer fittings and quirky furnishings and conveniences.
Mr Howard said while the rooms shared the same shell as their predecessors, they had been revamped by QT stylist Anna Roberts.
"You've got new furnishings, new bedheads, new lights, new cushions, so it really brings in that contemporary feel to the room, which is what QT is all about," he said. Unique to the QT chain, each room features a cocktail station with vintage glasses and utensils, as well as the ingredients and directions to mix your own ''Old Fashioned - QT'' Canberra's signature cocktail.
Howard said QT was about engaging with the cultural and creative sectors.
"QT Canberra will embrace these industries, however, it will also engage the political nature of Canberra through art and design, and the unique food and beverage offerings of the property," he said. "The QT brand fits perfectly with the New Acton."
The only part of the hotel not opening on Thursday is the QT Lounge, on the 15th floor. It will open in May on budget night. The invitation-only lounge will offer members everything from breakfast to evening cocktails and is expected to host politicians, lobbyists and other key associates.
The Canberra launch is the latest for the QT chain, which has hotels in Sydney, the Gold Coast, Falls Creek and Port Douglas.