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Ibis Adelaide review: Weekend away

TIME : 2-26 17:45:24

Ibis Adelaide review: Weekend away

DEFAULT Jane Reddy

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Our rating

4.5 out of 5

HIGHLIGHT

A place to experience the best of the city, Christmas pageant or not.

LOWLIGHT

No swimming pool, should there be an Adelaide heatwave.

THE PLACE

Ibis Adelaide

THE LOCATION

While Ibis is generally a favourite for the business traveller, this addition to the stable is ideal for anyone wanting to explore this walkable city set in the heart of Colonel Light's vision: a grid of wide streets, terraces and public squares, and the green of the surrounding Adelaide Parklands. The Christmas Pageant, a much-loved Adelaide parade first run in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression and now consisting of more than 60 floats, fortuitously passes the hotel on its route. In a nostalgic moment I've come home with my young daughter to show her the event that signalled the start of long, hot days and the festive season.

THE SPACE

Just 12 months old, the new build of 16 floors extends beyond the predictably neutral background with oak panels, an LED-lit multi-coloured staircase through the floor to ceiling, two-storey glass street frontage and oversized timber-clad barrel lights. Works by graffiti artist Ghostpatrol feature among the sitting areas with comfortable couches and free Wi-Fi. There's a small gym and, pleasingly for anyone on a longer stay or with young ones, a laundry for guests.

THE ROOM

The economy-room category has been taken up a notch. Big picture windows in a special access king room lift and lighten the space. There's a workable desk area, adjustable office chair and backlit bedhead and Samsung smart TV. We look down on Grenfell Street but for views of the Adelaide Hills ask for a corner suite room.

THE FOOD

The standard buffet breakfast is served in a good-looking restaurant-bar space of Bentwood and Kartell Combackchairs. An open balcony area overlooks Grenfell Street and on this day, the parade. More impressive is the dinner menu and commitment to local produce from the kitchen and head chef Justin Parker. Beef is from the Murraylands, lamb from the Clare Valley and fresh fish is South Australian only.

STEPPING OUT

Next door the charming Adelaide Arcade, built in the 1800s of bricks, glass and marble from a local quarry, speaks of past prosperity. It houses other local institutions including Janesce, an organic skin care range established in the late 1960s and ahead of its time, and Haigh's chocolatiers with its chocolate aniseed rings of childhood. It's a short walk down Rundle Street around to Golden Boy (golden-boy.com.au) on the corner of North and East terraces for Thai sharing plates and cocktails of 666 Tasmanian vodka and umami bitters.

On this pageant day grandmothers have arrived at 5am to stake their claim with picnic rugs. We wander downstairs at 7am and we're still front row. There are cheering children and grandparents, clowns, marching bands, penny farthings, shimmering floats and fairies on horses Nipper and Nimble before Father Christmas glides by in a sleigh. I'm enthralled, once more.

THE VERDICT

The Adelaide Ibis sits comfortably among a burst of new accommodation in the city that includes the Mayfair Hotel and plans for a 32-storey five-star Sofitel.

ESSENTIALS

Ibis Adelaide, 122 Grenfell Street, Adelaide. Rooms from $130 a night. Superior rooms from $160.

Wi-Fi free for loyalty members and if room booked direct.

Phone 08 8159 5588; see www.accorhotels.com.au.

The 2015 Credit Union Christmas Pageant will be on Saturday, November 14. See www.cupageant.com.au.