Bondi’s newest hotel may just be the happy medium we’ve been waiting for. Alissa Jenkins investigates.

Bondi: the home of bronzed travellers and windswept hipsters; where tourists flock and a $6 organic latte could be considered a bargain. It’s also home to many a backpacker, and finding accommodation where shower thongs aren’t necessary is surprisingly difficult.

So when mid-range hotel chain, Adina Apartment Hotels, opened their latest property just up the road from Australia’s most iconic beach, I was curious as to where it would sit on the Bondi continuum – plastered in ‘I heart Bondi’ stickers, or furnished in overpriced eco-friendly whatever.

Arriving two weeks after its mid-June opening, construction is ongoing, but the lobby is perfectly polished and wafting of vanilla bean, masking the scent of freshly unwrapped lounges.

Tonight we’re booked into a studio apartment, one of 111 apartments in the hotel. Being the simplest of the four room types, I’m eager to see how a four-and-a-half-star stay does basic in Bondi.

Crisp white walls and panelled cupboards, coupled with light timbers and pastel blues give a distinctly coastal feel – without an ornamental anchor in sight. Adding to the locale are framed photographs of Bondi, most of which are by local lifeguard-cum-photographer, Brad Malyon.

True to the Adina name, it’s both comfortable and functional. Shiny fittings and bright, geometric cushions are nothing groundbreaking, but give the apartment an upmarket feel. It’s clear that a good chunk of the hotel’s multi-million dollar price tag went into ensuring all rooms are equipped with quality products. Even the lead-in studio apartment comes with a sleek pull-out sofa, mounted flat-screen television and a fully-equipped kitchen. And, the real test of a quality stay, a powerful hairdryer.

Once we’re settled in, I decide to raid the mini bar for a pre-dinner tipple. However after rummaging around for the Wolf Blass mentioned on the menu, I call reception to find the hotel still isn’t licensed to serve alcohol. It’s a minor blip, but one of a few: the balcony overlooks a half-landscaped garden and a manufacturer’s sticker is still stuck on the bathroom mirror.

To be fair though, the hotel is still in stage one of its opening. Stage two will launch early October with a retail precinct next door. We’re talking the who’s who of foodie outlets for both locals and guests to enjoy, like Gelato Messina, China Diner (sister restaurant of award-winning China Doll), and Harris Farm Markets, so guests needn’t go far to shop for their self-catered stay.

Until then, the hotel is conveniently close to a bounty of hipsterrific cafés and cosy wine bars, ensuring no palate is left dry.

After being sufficiently wined and dined, I return to a good-sized bed, good linen, and an even better sleep. Bondi’s newest hotel stay is a steep step-up from the local backpackers, yet at the bottom of the hill of pretentious, budget-blowing experiences. The word ‘good’ couldn’t apply more appropriately here.

Indeed, it’s a happy medium between the budget-conscious and the style-savvy, between the touristy must-dos and the locals’ hidden haunts. Fitting it, quite nicely, in the centre of the Bondi continuum.

The details

The verdict: A welcome addition to Bondi’s limited accommodation offering, this is one very comfortable stay that’s conveniently close to local landmarks. Although not revolutionary, it’s well-designed and
well-priced.

The score: 14; good

We rated: The location, of course. As well as being a barefoot dash from the beach, there’s also a litany of bars and restaurants nearby, which makes up for the lack of a hotel kitchen. We can’t wait for the retail precinct to open next door.

We hated: The gym is quite cramped and there isn’t a great array of equipment. Best go for a walk along the beach instead. Similarly, the outdoor lap pool is rather uninspiring while furniture is yet to arrive. But hey, you don’t come to Bondi for the pools.

Where: 69-73 Hall Street, Bondi Beach, NSW

Notes: From $159 a night for the studio apartment. (This opening special is valid until 31 August.)

Contact: 02 9300 4800; adinahotels.com.au

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