Walking through the space of Monster Kitchen & Bar and through a dim hall to the elevator, I realised how kind Canberra’s Hotel Hotel was to my colour-fussy eyes. A wooden key opened the door to a wide hall, aligned with chip wood cupboards and a textured concrete wall. The hall swelled into a space for a huge bed before leading to a sitting area and a window that overlooked a fern atrium. The sitting area had a wall covered in art and there were no plastic wrapped utensils, glasses or soaps to be seen.
Earthy tones, vintage furniture and room service martinis (made with a local Canberra gin) left me feeling elated and never wanting to leave Hotel Hotel. I was at that point very willing to sink down and soak up my surroundings. Now, how to introduce this bathtub…
The tub was made of raw smoothed concrete and held a beyond-brutalist-architecture aspect offset by a bottle of Aēsop Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser. It was deep and it was good and as smooth as a pebble. I slunk into gin and geranium infused daydreams.
But let’s get back to that lack of single-use plastic in this place. Hotel Hotel is not known for it’s steps in sustainability, but rather its collaborators; artists, makers, designers and fantasists. It celebrates creative thinkers and clever solution seekers. Other hotels’ single-use disposable objects and in-room marketing material not only add to wastage, but also tarnish the experience — because nothing says ‘make yourself at home’ like tearing plastic off your knife and fork.
Choices like opting for an iPad with hotel information instead of ugly laminated paper, or implementing large bottles of SLS-free organic shampoo instead of small, disposable chemical-riddled, poorly designed bottles are making a difference.
Single-use plastic is entirely about convenience and ‘cleanliness’. But it needn’t be like this in hotels. Unfortunately, there is no panacea for the single-use plastic epidemic. But haven’t we come even a little way from days where convenience was seen as a solution and not a problem?
Hotel Hotel is an oasis filled with thoughtful, modern solutions and post-war furniture, reclaimed oak, concrete, linen, brass and woollen carpets. Staying in one of its unique rooms provides a glimpse into a design-loving, single-use-plastic-free future. But then again, plastic would look all wrong amidst raw materials.