REVIEW: Why you need to stay in Bendigo’s oldest bank

Just a stone’s throw from the Bendigo Art Gallery and surrounded by multiple award-winning eateries, the new boutique Bendigo Ernest Hotel is a big drawcard for those wanting to explore this UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

Housed in the 19th-century former Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, the building has a lasting remnant of the gold rush era – a bullet hole in the window.

The story goes, the police were positioned across the road and shot through the window, hitting the villain in the shoulder.

Slip into one of the secluded former vaults, now stylish lounge areas, or wander around and peruse the Australian art that lines the walls all handpicked by co-owner David Cook-Doulton.

Traveller: Kirstie Bedford
Suite: Suite 9: Richard Birmingham
Address: 10/12 View St, Bendigo VIC 3550
Date: June, 2022
Price range $269 – 369
Best for: Couples

Where to find Bendigo Ernest Hotel

Within a short walk you can find…

The Bendigo Art Gallery is metres away, Rosalind Park is right across the street and everywhere is the architecture from the gold rush era.

A few metres from the hotel is Harvest Food & Wine, owned by Michelin-trained-pastry chef, Marsha Busse, and her partner, award-winning sommelier Lincoln Riley.

Here you’ll find a locally inspired menu with local and international fine wine.

At its deli next door, grab a bottle of Riley’s own wine label, North Run, or a ready-to-eat homemade meals, cut-to-order cheese, or handmade European-style pastries.

Head to Harvest Food & Wine for great local food and wines.
Expect exceptional food paired with great local or international wines at Harvest.

The room

There are ten suites. Mine has a large, bold abstract artwork by Richard Birmingham and a lounge area with a fireplace.

Each suite has high ceilings, light-filled windows, luxurious bedding and designer furnishings.

They are all named after the artist whose works feature: Heather B. Swann, Michael Georgetti and Patrick Henigan are a few.

There’s everything you’d expect in a five-star hotel room. A Smart TV with Netflix, free Wi-Fi, a Nespresso machine with Padre coffee pods, and bathroom amenities by Salus.

I wish I could take home

Co-owner David Cook-Doulton to work his design magic on my home.

The parlor at Bendigo Ernest Hotel
The pretty parlour at Bendigo Ernest Hotel

Before booking

Check what’s on at the Bendigo Art Gallery so you can coordinate your trip with a memorable exhibition.

Insider tips

Next year, a new restaurant will open by acclaimed chef Derek Boath, who runs hatted Ballarat restaurant Underbar.

Underbar is the restaurant at another of David and Martin’s property ventures, Hotel Vera – named after David’s beloved grandmother.

Bendigo Ernest will also be home to an underground cocktail bar – housed in one of the bank’s former vaults. Can wining and dining get any cooler?

Staying in

Grab a book and slip into the former bank vault where there are two secluded spaces.

When the restaurant and cocktail bar open, days will be filled with gourmet bites and cocktails, perusing the hotel’s vast art collection, and soaking in your suite’s spa bath.

One of the secluded spaces you can slip away to in the bank’s former vault

Stepping out

The hotel is adjacent to the 24-hectare Rosalind Park with its heritage trees and lookout tower. Climb it for the best views of the city.

Don’t miss lounge bar, Ms Batterhams, in the basement of the old school hall in Mackenzie Quarters.

There’s a refined wine list, locally inspired cocktails, craft beers and a southern European inspired menu.

The stylish Ms Batterhams is the perfect location for a cocktail before you wander over to the art gallery

V&T rating

This property is one to watch. 8.5 out of 10.

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