Adelaide’s having a moment. Lonely Planet listed the city as one of the world’s top 10 to visit in 2014, and if the slew of events (Santos Tour Down Under, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Food and Wine Festival) and trendy restaurants and bars popping up across the city are anything to go by, then they were right: Adelaide really is becoming, well, pretty Radelaide. The Franklin Boutique Hotel, housed in a grand old pub on the corner of Franklin Street in the centre of the city, is a great example of the kind of joints that are hippifying the City of Churches. The early Victorian beauty has been around since 1855, but since its current owners (who also own the funky Hotel Wright Street a few blocks away) revamped the place two years ago, it’s been creating quite the buzz, especially since they opened the upstairs accommodation 10 months ago.
The Franklin is achingly hip. Downstairs at the pub there’s indie music playing, graffiti murals, bare bulbs hanging from orange cables – hell, there’s even a Hills Hoist with plants dangling from it in the beer garden. The owners head to weekly antique auctions to pick up pieces to revamp and use for styling, so as you venture upstairs you’ll spot resprayed vintage studio lights, rusty metal stencils functioning as room numbers and eclectic works from local artists. There are just seven rooms, each varying in size, but all have en suite bathrooms (the larger ones have island tubs and stained glass windows), a Nespresso machine and iPod dock, bar fridge, wall-mounted flatscreen and airconditioner and free Wi-Fi. There are also a couple of vintage bikes for guests to borrow.
I score the smallest room. It’s still very cool. The walls and carpets are black, but luckily the high ceilings, large windows, yellow doors and blond wood detailing manage to keep things light and fresh. The interiors are impressive, and I spend a good chunk of my stay snapping details like the chunky pieces of stained timber used as side tables, and the silver pipes serving as clothes racks, for decorating inspiration. The gorgeous bathroom has an open shower, Australian-made Kudos Spa products, and towels neatly stacked on a wooden stool. Oh, and the mini-bar’s free. It’s full of Coopers, Hills Cider, soft drinks and bottled water.
The din from the courtyard downstairs would make for a terrible night’s sleep (the pub stays open until midnight on Fridays, 4.30am on Saturdays) but they’ve thought of that, providing earplugs, plus a yellow sign reading “There’s a good reason for you not to knock” for guests to pop on the door after a big night. Guests may bring friends to the spacious wraparound verandah, the perfect place to get stuck into that minibar.
If the buzzy downstairs pub lures you in, as it did me, then grab a beer (there are seven on tap), pull up a pew in the courtyard beside a mustachioed hipster or two and order something naughty from the American diner-style menu – a hot dog, chipotle chicken or a jamaican fish taco, perhaps. Otherwise, Peel Street just a few blocks away offers fresh, flavoursome food and stylishly raw interiors (Clever Little Tailor next door is the spot for a cocktail), and for breakfast head to Hey Jupiter on Ebenezer Place, a hip laneway behind Rundle St, for a French-inspired experience.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
You’re one block from Chinatown and Adelaide’s glorious Central Market, so make that your first stop. And you simply cannot leave without visiting the Haigh’s Chocolate factory in the iconic Beehive Building on Rundle Mall.
The Franklin is the poster hotel for the new Adelaide – fresh, trendy and oodles of fun.
HOW TO GET THERE
Adelaide Airport is a 10-minute drive away.
Rooms start from $150; 92 Franklin Street, Adelaide, phone (08) 8410 0036, thefranklinhotel.com.au.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.