As Australians eagerly return to travel, there’s a standout choice for post-lockdown adventures: the new-generation pub stay.
Offering unbeatable value, endless choice and impeccable cleanliness along with the rich history and warm hospitality unique to Aussie pubs, these latest pub stays are reinventing a beloved tradition – with an enticing array of extra benefits.
“If you’ve never stayed in an Aussie pub, I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” says Amanda Aldridge, Director of Aldridge Hospitality Solutions. “It’s an experience that really ticks all the boxes for smart travellers – especially right now, when value for money is more important than ever.”
“They’ve enhanced the history and character that people love in their favourite pubs with luxe touches and extra comforts, such as gorgeous designer room makeovers of the standard you’d expect in boutique hotels– except without the hefty price tag.”
While you’re cocooned in contemporary comfort, a pub stay immerses you in its neighbourhood in ways no other accommodation can. Pubs are community hubs, filled with regulars, stories and history. Step from your room into the bar for a beer and banter in an authentic atmosphere built over decades, and you’re instantly a local. And with delicious food and drink using locally sourced produce, pubs live and breathe the paddock-to-plate philosophy.
When it comes to location, Aussie pubs span the map – from tourist hotspots to lesser-known nooks that only locals know. From city to coast and country, the choice of destination is as vast as the landscape itself. At a time when travellers are seeking exciting domestic experiences, pub stays offer new perspectives on destinations closer to home.
To showcase the diversity and appeal of the new-gen pub stay, Aldridge recommends these freshly updated gems from her NSW portfolio:
Coastal retreat: Harbord Beach Hotel
Located at Sydney’s iconic Freshwater beach, the birthplace of Australian surfing, this gracious 1928 hotel is a slice of real Australian beach culture. Its accommodation now boasts a brand new refurbishment from celebrity interior designer Jason Sullivan, a Northern Beaches local whose work graces the homes of Hollywood A-listers. Sullivan transformed the hotel’s boutique guest rooms with a contemporary coastal aesthetic in the weeks prior to the lockdown. His makeover complements the charm and history of this neighbourhood hub, where ocean-loving locals of all generations kick back on the hotel’s sun-kissed terrace.
City bolthole: The Criterion Hotel
At the heart of Sydney’s CBD and with the city’s best shops, entertainment and attractions on its doorstep the Criterion re-opened in January 2020 after a major renovation. This beautiful 1874 heritage building now boasts a luxe interior, while its Irish traditions and personality remain as strong as ever. Each guest room features a stunning contemporary art print as its design centrepiece, bringing the style sensibility of a boutique hotel to a classic, family-owned pub renowned for its Irish Bar and convivial vibe. Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, it’s an unbeatable city base.
True-blue country pub: The Tamworth
In Australia’s country music capital, this traditional rural pub is loved for its delicious local fare created using award-winning local produce. Surrounded by the New England region’s rolling green countryside, the pub is a home away from home for guests who flock in for the annual world-famous Tamworth Country Musical Festival. The hotel has a packed live music programme year round, ensuring there is entertainment just beyond the door of your cosy room. With a new menu brimming with local flavour, this is a place to feast, mingle and sing along.
Urban Village: The Erko
This beloved neighbourhood watering hole in Sydney’s inner-west unveiled 12 new guest rooms in January 2020, allowing guests to stay for the first time. Inspired by the pub’s love of dogs, each room is named for a favourite canine regular and lovingly furnished with quirky accents reflecting the Erko’s big heart and colourful personality. You can enjoy the company of four-legged regulars in the dog-friendly bar downstairs, mingle with the pub’s eclectic tribe of friendly locals, or explore one of Sydney’s most engaging urban villages.