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Secret hotels

Thursday, May 27, 2010
Always in the search of somewhere great to stay, Kelly Landry, Natalie Gruzlewski and Jules Lund did some snooping in Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane to find some great little hotels you may not have heard of.

Fire Station Inn, North Adelaide

Built as a shop in 1866 and becoming a fire station in the now-trendy North Adelaide in 1904, the beautiful two-storey Victorian bluestone has been cleverly converted to fantasy sleeping quarters. An original 1942 fire truck is a big drawcard and the fire engine suite is equipped with fantastic memorabilia.

Part of the North Adelaide Heritage Group, Fire Station Inn can be booked as a complete four-bedroom townhouse with three spa bathrooms or three separate suites, each with its own ensuite spa.

The Fire Engine Suite is open plan and has an original fireman's pole, uniform, hats and fire engine toys.

The huge bathroom has fluffy towels, good quality toiletries and the kitchen has everything you might need.

North Adelaide is the city's hot spot for restaurants, cafes and trendy night spots.

Regina and Rodney Swiss deserve congratulations. Twenty years ago they began saving properties on the demolition list and now have 20 properties in North Adelaide. Their love of travel, historic buildings, antiques and collectables have certainly added to Adelaide's treasures.

The Melbourne Hotel, Perth

This little boutique hotel in Perth's CBD offers fantastic value for money. It was built in 1897 and opened for business under licensee Grace Lannin in the same year. The size of the site was increased in 1909 and in the 1930s garages for travellers' vehicles were added. A beer garden was established in 1951 and in 1964 a counter lunch area was added.

The first of two major upgrades was carried out in 1971 with the addition of a two-storey extension. A private business club was added in 1996, but that failed and in 1997 a return to the original up-market accommodation upstairs and bars, restaurant and function room on the ground floor came about.

After a century of change and resilience, The Melbourne Hotel was entered on Western Australia's State Register of Heritage Places in 1997.

There are just 34 rooms, loaded with character. It's a comfortable, reliable and traditional hotel and one of its attractions is that you can sit on the balcony and watch the world of Perth go by.

The Melbourne Restaurant offers fine dining and is open weekdays for lunch and every evening except Sunday for dinner. For casual dining, M Café is open every day for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. Open for every day serving a wide selection of beer and wine is the Melbourne Bar.

The Limes Hotel, Brisbane

Brisbane's hot spot is where you will find Limes, a boutique hotel with 21 double and twin rooms with balconies or ground floor courtyards — with hammock.

It's the latest project of Design Hotels and the first Australian work of Argentine designer Alexander Lotersztain.

Limes is a kilometre from Brisbane's nightlife district and on the fifth floor is a rooftop bar and terrace if you prefer to stay put. From Monday to Thursday they show classic films there, accompanied by French champagne or beer.

They have a "Play and Stay" rate. On a space available basis, they offer a rate of $99 when the rooftop bar closes at midnight. It cannot be pre-booked and you need to be in the bar when the clock strikes 12.


Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.


Fire Station Inn accommodation starts at $265 a night twin-share. It's $62 per person for additional guests and children younger than 12 years, $45 a night.

The Melbourne Hotel rooms start at $160 a night. Verandah rooms are $220.

The Limes Hotel rooms start at $229 a night. A Limes signature cocktail or glass of wine are included. Ask about the "Play and Stay" rate. Rooftop movie on the terrace is $12 per person.

For further information

Fire Station Inn
80 Tynte Street
North Adelaide 5006
Ph: (08) 8272 1355

The Melbourne Hotel

Hay and Milligan streets
Perth 6000
Ph: (08) 9320 3333

The Limes Hotel

142 Constance Street
Fortitude Valley 4006
Ph: (07) 3852 9000
Fax: (07) 3852 9099

Fire Station Inn is offering a special Getaway package. It includes accommodation for two, continental breakfast provisions and a bottle of Barossa Valley sparkling shiraz. It can be booked by phone or e-mail asking for the Getaway package.

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