By Jenny Hewett
Dec 20, 2021
Ed. Note: Thanks to you-know-what, the last time we published Best New Openings of the Year lists – for Australia and anywhere else – was 2019. So, throughout this series, you’re likely to encounter hotels, restaurants and bars that launched in 2020, included both to make up for missing them last year and as a hat-tip for persisting through the pandemic. Wishing all you wanderlusters happy holidays and best of luck getting back on the road and in the air to visit these places soon. – Jeninne
AFTER NEARLY TWO YEARS OF iron borders, the land Down Under is now open to travelers from Singapore, and will slowly open up to more international tourists, including those from Japan and South Korea soon. Despite a tumultuous year, the country’s hospitality sector has held its ground, with a bounty of new offerings. These are the best new openings across Australia from 2020-21 to add to your itinerary for when you can get back to Oz.
BEST NEW HOTELS AND RESORTS IN AUSTRALIA
Read our review of this luxury powerhouse with insane harbor views here:
travelandleisureasia.com/this-is-the-sydney-hotel-that-everyone-is-talking-about and don’t miss out on their fabulous spa.
crownsydney.com.au; doubles from A$674
Bringing W-chic to hipster Melbs: travelandleisureasia.com/6-staycations-in-australia-you-want-to-book-now/
marriott.com.au/hotels/travel/melwh-w-melbourne; doubles from A$409
Ovolo South Yarra
Courtesy of Ovolvo South Yarra (2)
Set among the leafy landscape of one Melbourne’s most cosmopolitan suburbs, the latest outpost from this Hong Kong-Australian brand is a bold reinterpretation of eras past with nods to disco, rock and retro glamour.
ovolohotels.com/ovolo/south-yarra; doubles from A$269.
Brisbane’s once gritty Fortitude Valley is now a cool congregation of hip restaurants and glam hotels. The latest to join the ranks is this boutique stay from IHG family, with its rooftop pool throwing out Beverly Hills vibes and sexy, minimalist rooms.
hotelx.com.au; doubles from A$249.
Adelaide’s wine country just got a whole lot more luxurious. This beautiful 12-room lodge on the edge of Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills offer stunning panoramas, an infinity pool, spring-fed hot springs and the opportunity to cuddle a koala.
sequoialodge.com.au; doubles from A$1,200.
A central location next to the European-style Adelaide Markets (the biggest produce market in the Southern Hemisphere) gives this new spot serious culture credentials. Rooms are vibrant with timber floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and ample space.
adelaide.hotelindigo.com; doubles from A$250.
The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel
The Apple Isle’s most anticipated stay of the year is set to open on Salamanca Place in Hobart next month. The 152-room property occupies an 1840s era heritage-listed building and rooms feature high ceilings and state-of-the-art tech.
marriott.com.au/reservation; doubles from A$390.
BEST NEW RESTAURANTS IN AUSTRALIA
Courtesy of Lucky Kwong (2)
Having put her famed Billy Kwong’s to bed a few years ago, modern-Chinese chef Kylie Kwong is back with this casual spot in the city. So casual, in fact, they don’t take reservations. Kwong fuses her fare with native ingredients sourced from indigenous-owned inner-city rooftop garden Jiwah.
luckykwong.com.au; from A$90 for two.
Neil Perry is arguably Australia’s most prolific chef and his new Double Bay venue is named after his mum. Billing itself as a neighborhood restaurant, the concept is more bistro than fine-diner and you’ll find everything from grilled quail to steak tartare on the menu.
margaretdoublebay.com; from A$250 for two.
Chef Josh Niland of Sydney’s famed Saint Peter has revolutionized sustainability in seafood and his techniques for cooking fish are pioneering. His new counter-service-only spot in Rose Bay is a play on the neighbourhood fish and chip shop, serving up fish-forward rotisserie Murray Cod on a gravy roll with skin and stuffing, and barbecue Murray Cod wings.
charcoalfish.com; from A$50 for two.
Gimlet at Cavendish House
Melbourne’s suited and booted flock to this elegant venue to talk about very important things. But the calibre of food here is conversation enough. Steak tartare is prepared tableside and the restaurant’s namesake cocktail is the afternoon kick you need.
gimlet.melbourne/reservations; from A$130 prix fixe.
Championing the produce of regional Victoria, this city concept showcases some of the Gippland area’s finest seasonal fare in a formal setting. And the open campfire kitchen here serves up some epic farm-to-table eats and drinks, such as cured Baw Baw Alpine trout and wood roasted O’Connor beef cheek.
farmersdaughters.com.au; from A$75 prix fixe.
Courtesy of OVOLVO South Yarra (2)
This new ‘root-to-stem’ plant-based restaurant in Melbourne’s Ovolo South Yarra is completely meat-free in line with a pledge from the brand last year, drawing on Latin influences to elevate veggie dishes to fine-dining status. Order the oyster-mushroom ceviche and a vegan iteration of morilla (Spanish blood sausage) with beetroot, a vegan egg yolk, red wine jus and crispbread.
ovolohotels.com/ovolo/south-yarra/lona-misa; from A$85 prix fixe.
Tucked away in a refurbed warehouse in Fortitude Valley, this wood-fried concept is the latest from the crew behind Same Same and Honto. No electricity here, the kitchen is fueled by fire and smoke to create the dimensional flavors in sourdough crumpets with spanner crab or dry-aged heritage pork.
agnesrestaurant.com.au/set-menu/; from A$75 prix fixe.
Located among rolling hills on a farm just 30 minutes outside of Hobart in Marion Bay, this is destination dining at its purest. This small-scale country eatery works with produce from its garden and orchard, and is helmed by head chef Timothy Hardy, who cut his teeth at highly acclaimed Vasse Felix, Brae and The Lake House.
vanbone.com.au; from A$140 prix fixe.
Courtesy of Will St. (2)
Renowned Bali-based restaurateur and chef Will Meyrick (Sarong, Mamasan, Hujan Locale) is showing Perth some love with his new venue in the suburb of Leederville. The 120-seater space offers a curated collection of Asian small plates and inventive bar snacks, including grilled corn in the husk, chicken and truffle karaage and softshell-crab pad Thai.
willstreetperth.com/food-menu/; from A$180 for two.
BEST NEW BARS IN AUSTRALIA
Dean and Nancy on 22
If it weren’t for the pioneering cocktails at this Mid-century themed bar, the views could easily steal the show. The team behind Sydney’s Maybe Sammy (voted among the World’s 50 Best Bars) bring us this theatrics-loving venue on level 22 of the A by Adina Hotel, where the Double or Nothing is served with a pair of dice, with a free glass of champagne on the line.
deanandnancyon22.com.au; from A$50 for two.
Sky Bar, Shell House
The new bar that everyone is Sydney is talking about. An open-air affair in an Art Deco building, this night spot centered around the Shell House’s 400-tonne clocktower boasts retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors, bar eats and sips such as Sicilian margaritas.
shellhouse.com.au; from A$100 for two.
Pearl Diver & Cocktails
Think contemporary tropical cocktails, including the tiki-inspired Pearl Diver, a martini with a spherified olive and oysters served eight ways at this new mollusk-inspired snack and booze bar in Little Bourke Street. Rum naysayers, fear not, the wine list is extensive, too.
pearldiver.com.au; from A$120 for two.
From the same team behind Brisbane laneway whiskey bar Death & Taxes comes this new cocktail bar at the base of the Metro Arts Building. The venue mixes up 30 signature drinks made using fresh produce from local suppliers and its martini carts are a fresh play on ‘table service.’
drgimlettebar.com.au; from A$60 for two.
Stone & Wood
Courtesy of Stone & Wood (2)
The first outpost of this Byron-based craft brewery is bringing all things pale-ale to Fortitude Valley. Trading the coast for the city, the brewhouse occupies an industrial space within a heritage-listed building and for every litre of beer poured, they donate AUD$1 to their not-for-profit charity InGrained Foundation, supporting grassroots environmental and social charities.
stoneandwood.com.au; from A$80 for two.
More than a bar, this is sprawling beach club for every mood. The inspo might be Hollywood, but we’re getting all the Bali feels here on the Gold Coast. An all-day hang-out attracting bronzing gods and goddesses, it has four large pools, luxe poolside cabanas, booths and daybeds, plus two restaurants, a VIP section, and entry is free.
calibeach.com.au; from A$150 for a daybed.
To read about more the Best New Openings in other countries around the region, see here.