Feel like a white Christmas close to home?  Team up with Sofitel Queenstown, grab a picnic and take a chopper to a New Zealand glacier.
Feel like a white Christmas close to home? Team up with Sofitel Queenstown, grab a picnic and take a chopper to a New Zealand glacier. Detours

Hotel superstars of Australia

AUSTRALIA has picked up its act over the past few years with some world class, boutique hotels. Here we take a quick look at some of the coolest places to lay your weary head, both here and abroad.

Henry Jones Art Hotel

NOT many hotels boast an art curator and an historian as full time members of staff. Henry Jones was the founder of Hobart’s IXL jam factory. When IXL was taken over by another business doyen, John Elliott, the old jam business was put on the backburner and the factory became nothing but an ancient dockside pile.

Today, it’s one of Australia’s hippest hotels – the work of some of Tassie’s best and emerging artists adorn the walls, installations come alive in the foyer and dining areas – it’s like living in a gallery.

■ For more go to www.thehenryjones.com.

VIE Hotel, Bangkok

SHOWING us around this very cool and sophisticated hotel, the guide stopped at a side table –‘wow, that’s new – it’s beautiful!’

He was as taken with the African inspired carved legs as we were, given he works for an owner who is also an avid art collector and deposits new and exciting works in the hotel regularly, at whim.

VIE is the hottest of the new ‘design’ hotels in this vibrant heart of Thailand. Rooms are pure style, bordering on zen.

VIE is offering a ‘hot and spicy Bangkok Christmas’ for around $220 per couple which includes a night in a deluxe suite, VIE breakfast, and a balancing massage.

■ For more go to www.viehotelbangkok.com.

Grand Hotel, Melbourne

FORMERLY the Railway Administration Building for Victoria’s gold rush era of the 1880s, today the Grand is pure gold for its style and elegance – it takes up an entire city block, with soaring six metre high ceilings, and has corridors nearly four metres wide.

Situated next to Spencer Street Station, the historically significant hotel offers sweeping city views, indoor pool and gym, and spacious loft-style rooms or studio suites with terrace balconies.

The Grand has a great Living History package on offer for Christmas holiday makers that covers overnight accommodation in a deluxe suite, hot breakfast for two and a guided Melbourne city heritage walk for $355 per couple.

■ For more email, grandhotelmelbourne@accor.com or call 1300 361455

Emporium Fortitude Valley

NOT everything good is old. Prior to the Emporium being built, the site it occupies was known as the Light Street Bus Depot and comprised a mix of oil pits, bitumen and corrugated iron sheds.

Today, this sleek, stylish establishment is the coolest thing to hit Brisbane in years.

With a solid environmental policy, the hotel still manages to have every luxury, such as heated lap pool, sauna and gym, spacious studio suites, one of the funkiest cocktail bars in town and staff who reflect a relaxed, attentive and totally Queensland style.

The Emporium is offering Hot Summer Escape deals from $220 for accommodation in a King Suite with a choice of extras, such as mojito cocktails, breakfast vouchers and chocolate strawberries.

■ For more, go to www.emporiumhotel.com.au.

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

THE Wentworth is one of the city’s great retro buildings and since getting the Sofitel ‘treatment’ it has found new life as one of the hippest places in town.

To experience the magic of Sydney in Summer (remember the Sydney Festival kicks off in January), the hotel has prestige Christmas Club Sofitel packages starting at $550 for two nights.

■ For more, go to www.sofitelsydney.com.au.

Sofitel Queenstown

WANT a white Christmas, but can’t see yourself getting to the northern hemisphere this year? Never fear, Sofitel Queenstown is here.

Just across the ditch, the very stylish and chic hotel situated in New Zealand’s prime ski resort town is featuring the very coolest thing you can do this Christmas – a “Chic Picnic on a Peak” package which includes a chopper ride to a glacier for a secluded champagne picnic Christmas feast. White Christmas, guaranteed!

The package, priced from $1500, includes the chopper ride and picnic, luxury accommodation, breakfast and is available from December 1, 2009 through April 5, 2010.

■ For more, email reservations@sofitelqueenstown.com.

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