Provincial Hotel evaluate, Ballarat, Victoria: 100-year-old pub now a stellar nation lodge



The gold rush metropolis of Ballarat in central Victoria – web site of the famed Eureka Rebellion – wears its historical past with delight. It is house to one of many nation’s most intact historic streetscapes, lined with grand previous buildings, together with the once-again lovely Provincial Hotel. Built in 1909 the artwork nouveau pub closed its doorways in 2007 and lay derelict for years earlier than a meticulous two-and-a-half-year restoration noticed it reborn as a boutique 15-room lodge and restaurant. In phrases of location the Provincial is tough to beat. Opposite the Ballarat railway station and the brand new Goods Shed cultural hub, it is a 90-minute practice journey from Melbourne’s Southern Cross, and about the identical by automotive. Once right here, it is a simple five-minute stroll to the centre of town.


There’s a mixture of rooms, one and two-bedroom flats and suites. Each has its personal color scheme and a mixture of up to date and classic items from native vintage shops, alongside floral materials. Works by native feminine artists line the partitions, and are all on the market. The impact is daring, vibrant and really fairly, very similar to the namesake behind the lodge’s restaurant, Lola Montez, the Irish-born Spanish dancer who scandalised and enthralled the gold diggers of Ballarat in equal measure together with her infamously erotic spider dance in 1856.


I’m in a balcony suite on the primary flooring overlooking historic Lydiard Street. There’s a king-sized mattress, sensible TV, a separate sitting room, kitchen and a non-public balcony, in addition to a giant soaker tub within the lavatory. The fridge is stocked with native snacks, wine and Lola gin, a collaboration with Ballarat’s Kilderkin Distillery, makers of Larrikin Gin. Everything, together with the books on the tables and the artwork on the partitions, is adorned in shades of blue and white.


Featuring the identical signature look because the rooms, Lola is a chic French bistro. During my keep breakfast was for company solely – sadly the marketed a la carte menu was lowered to a selection of an eggs and bacon or haloumi fry-up or a platter of fruit, granola and pastries because of staffing points. But lunch and dinner, Wednesday via to Sunday, is as fashionable with locals as it’s company, for each meals or a drink. The focus is on native produce and traditional French dishes, together with an excellent checklist of regional and French wines and a formidable number of grown-up booze-free drinks too. There’s additionally a retro cocktail caravan known as Clara (named after the primary feminine editor of The Ballarat Times) within the courtyard out the again.


There are a number of grand previous inns and cosy laneway bars close by, the Armstrong Street strip of eating places is simply across the nook and the Ballarat Art Gallery is a few blocks down the highway. An early morning circuit round Lake Wendouree is an effective way to work off the earlier night’s excesses. If you are eager on studying extra about Ballarat’s previous you will discover the unique Eureka Flag on present on the Eureka Centre. Sovereign Hill – an authentically recreated gold rush city – and the soon-to-open Rare Trades Centre, is a five-minute drive away.


The stellar location mixed with the nice and cozy welcome from the employees and Lola restaurant makes the Provincial a terrific selection with regards to a brief break in Ballarat.


Rooms from $275 an evening. The Provincial Hotel, 121 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, Victoria. Ph 03 5331 3399. See


Lots of area, beautiful styling and fabulous chandeliers within the bedrooms.


There’s a railway degree crossing throughout the highway, and you’ll hear the ringing of the bells out of your room. It did not disturb my sleep although.



Lee Atkinson visited as a visitor of Ballarat City Council. See;