The Bendigo Regional Art Gallery has made a reputation for internet hosting blockbuster exhibitions. Just down the highway is the brand new Hotel Ernest, already forging its personal sturdy fame, regardless of being primarily unfinished. Its helpful proximity to the principle present on the town (when an enormous exhibition is on on the gallery, or adjoining Rosalind Park is internet hosting a competition, that’s) has after all made it widespread.
But there’s extra afoot than comfort.
The Victorian Goldfields metropolis of Bendigo is wealthy in architectural historical past. Inhabiting Bendigo’s oldest financial institution constructing, courting to 1864, Hotel Ernest’s house owners, David Cook-Doulton and Martin Shew, have labored on the assumption that guests wish to be imbued in historical past slightly than simply have a look at it. To that finish, the road stage house that was the teller corridor has been stripped again to disclose authentic stone partitions, and the cavernous previous protected is now a novel place to sit down and converse.
Hotel Ernest, named sweetly after country-bred Cook-Doulton’s grandfather, is just a few minutes’ stroll from the gallery and lots of different sights together with adjoining Rosalind Park – and it has been busy since opening, in no small half because of the Elvis exhibition.
Enter the Hotel Ernest through its tall, authentic double entrance doorways to be enveloped in a classy but sublimely comfy parlour. Huge arch home windows let in dappled inexperienced gentle from the park and moody greys and greens on gentle furnishings invite resting some time, similar to the proprietor’s charismatic Airedale terrier, usually seen doing his personal resting on the furnishings. But the hero is certainly the atmospheric expanse of stone wall, bearing bullet holes believed to be from a gold-rush period heist.
It’s no secret that Hotel Ernest is a piece in progress. Come 2023, this house will home a restaurant and a conspicuous flight of stairs main right down to the financial institution’s authentic vaults will turn out to be the doorway to an bold bar.
Throughout the property, together with the ten rooms, in addition to grand stairs a spectacular assortment of artwork, acquired by proprietor Cook-Doulton throughout many years, and well-considered ceramics and vegetation add curiosity round each nook.
No two room footprints are the identical however every is spacious. Comfortable lounges, espresso tables, a eating desk with seating for 4, a credenza dwelling to upmarket espresso, tea and arty crockery accompany a king mattress cosily dressed with crumpled linen, loads of cushions and a rug for a nap. Hanging house is an open, sculptural rack, the carpet is thick, the artwork wonderful. It’s the New York studio condominium of your flight of fancy, solely in Bendigo.
For me, a small let-down was the toilet, which was authentic to the earlier lodging incarnation. It’s all marble, and whereas solely practical, the tapware is dated, as is the massive triangular spa bathtub with bathe overhead. There are plans to replace faucets within the rapid future. Excellent tech together with Netflix, is a bonus.
FOOD + DRINK
While ready for the restaurant to be put in, gentle continental breakfasts are provided by the much-lauded Harvest eatery close by.
The on-site restaurant opens in 2023 with chef Derek Boath on the helm. Boath is shifting his underbar restaurant to the Ernest’s soon-to-open Ballarat twin property, Hotel Vera (named after Cook-Doulton’s grandmother).
Guests are surveyed on their pursuits earlier than arrival, options made and bookings secured through the resort for Bendigo’s fabulous eating places equivalent to Masons, Ms Batterhams and The Dispensary.
OUT + ABOUT
There’s a lot extra to Bendigo than the gallery. Sure, come for the subsequent huge exhibition however do discover additional afield. Chancery Lane is a microcosm of hip Bendigo. Nearby wineries are world class. And small gems, such because the Golden Dragon Museum, devoted to the historical past of Chinese Australians and residential to Dai Gum Loong, a 125-metre ceremonial dragon, are well worth the time.
If it is this good as a piece in progress, the Hotel Ernest goes to be spectacular – and maybe a vacation spot unto itself – when the restaurant and bar are put in.
Rooms from $269 an evening.
Hotel Ernest, 10/12 View St, Bendigo, Victoria. Phone: 0447 242 987. See hotelbendigo.com.au
THE SCORE OUT OF FIVE
Julietta Jameson stayed a visitor of Bendigo Regional Tourism.