Sydney's Chinese Friendship GardenSydney's Chinese Friendship Garden

Rediscovering our Newest Hotels and their Neighbourhoods

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Old and new meld together in Australia’s eastern capital cities, where urban neighbourhoods embrace art, culture and vibrant shopping, cafés and restaurants, all in eminently walkable city blocks.

Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane is an eclectic blend of old and new. Housed in a grand old 1922 bank building, it is perfect for exploring the ‘hood, including shopping in Queen Street Mall and a great choice of restaurants. You don’t even need to leave the hotel to enjoy Donna Chang and its contemporary Chinese cuisine.

It’s a short walk to Treasury Casino and world-class steakhouse Black Hide by Gambaro, and just a few blocks to Eagle Street Pier restaurants such as Madame Wu and Blackbird Bar & Grill. Further along Brisbane River you’ll find Howard Smith Wharves with cool bars and restaurants, a brewery, and outdoor dining making the most of the balmy weather.

From the Adina Brisbane, take a ferry across the river for live music at the Brisbane Jazz Club, or to Southbank for restaurants, bars, parklands and cultural attractions including the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Museum and Gallery of Modern Art.

The stunning Vibe Hotel Sydney Darling Harbour also pays homage to its historic surrounds, with brickwork chosen to fit the streetscape and a dramatic foyer that cuts through to heritage facades in Sussex Street and James Lane. The hotel’s cutting-edge design has been recognised with a nomination in the 2020 NSW Architecture Awards.

Within walking distance of CBD and Darling Harbour shops and restaurants, the Chinese Garden of Friendship (main pic), theatres, King Street Wharf, Sydney Aquarium and Barangaroo restaurants, Vibe Darling Harbour has an unbeatable location.

The hotel’s ground floor eatery, The Sussex Store, references the site’s history – small general stores and manufacturers were once located here. Take the lift to Above 319 Restaurant & Bar for sunset views and a thoroughly contemporary ambience.

And, like the Adina Brisbane, the Vibe Hotel Melbourne - On the corner of Queen and Flinders Streets - is perfect for exploring the city’s beating heart. This new kid on the block incorporates one of Melbourne’s oldest buildings, dating from 1873. The two-storey Renaissance Revival building – formerly a Fletcher Jones showroom and respectfully retained in the 24-storey hotel design – houses the lobby and trendy St Marks Road Co. bar and dining.

The newly built hotel tower offers unrivalled views of the Melbourne skyline. It’s tempting to stay in and order room service, and if you’re very lucky, you might spot dolphins in the river. According to the Dolphin Research Institute, about 100 dolphins live in Port Phillip Bay, with about six sightings a year in Melbourne rivers. 

For a different vantage point, visit Eureka Skydeck which has the highest public viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere. Ride the giant Observation Wheel, the Melbourne Star, or splurge on dinner at Vue de Monde, 55 floors up in the Rialto building.

Breathtaking views can also be had from Naked in the Sky, a rooftop bar/restaurant in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Brunswick Street is recommended for moderately priced Asian food, while Southbank offers a huge choice of dining options. For something different, head to Ponyfish Island, a floating café/bar beneath the Southgate footbridge.

Wander through city laneways to discover eye-catching street art and busy cafés where you’ll appreciate why Melbourne is renowned for its coffee. The backdrop to Melbourne’s cultural diversity becomes apparent in the Immigration Museum, a short walk from the Vibe. Marvel at the wonders of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica in the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, or visit St Kilda Pier for sunset views. 

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