Checking in to The Oriana, Orange

This retro hotel and resort in Orange has become a local hotspot with a refined restaurant, swish bar, and a relaxing pool and garden zone. 

It’s hard to believe but The Oriana was once a worn-down motel with no personality. However, in 2017, The Oriana was taken over by Espen Harbitz  and his late partner, Ted Marr, who rejuvenated the 1969 property, imbuing it with an eclectic charm inspired by the pair’s travels. Today, the retro hotel and resort boasts a youthful mid-century aesthetic and a thriving food scene, and has become one of Orange’s must-visit venues. The Oriana Retro Hotel and Resort is now a full-service property with upscale dining in The Peacock Room, alfresco casual bites in the Summer Kitchen, cocktails served at the Bela Vista Bar, and poolside lounging. 

Traveller: Laura Barry
Room: Oriana King Terrace Suite 
Address: The Oriana Retro Hotel and Resort, 178-184 Woodward St, Orange NSW 2800
Date: August 2023
Price range: $185 – $400
Best for: Solo travellers, couples and older families looking for affordable accommodation with delicious food, from which to explore the heart of Orange. 

Africa King suite at The Oriana
Africa King suite. © The Oriana

Where is The Oriana?

The Oriana is located in the heart of Orange within easy walking distance of the main town centre. Despite its convenient location, The Oriana sits upon a generous plot of land that comfortably accommodates a sprawling garden bar and restaurant, a pool, an indoor restaurant and bar, plenty of parking and 49 spacious rooms.

Bela Vista Bar at The Oriana
Bela Vista Bar. © The Oriana

 Within a short walk, you can find…

Almost all of Orange’s shopping and dining options are found within a five to ten-minute drive, or 15-minute walk, of The Oriana. Dreamy retail stores such as Jumbled, The White Place and Hawkes General Store are located along Sale Street and Byng Street. Excellent coffee and French pastries can be found on Summer Street at Birdie Noshery & Drinking est. and Racine Bakery, respectively. 

Jumbled store in Orange, NSW
Jumbled. © Laura Barry

 The showstopper

The Peacock Room is undoubtedly the main attraction at The Oriana Retro Hotel and Resort. This restaurant is well-planned and contemporary with luxurious furnishings and delightful ambient lighting. Central candelabras and tabletop tealights set the mood, and the staff are warm, welcoming and friendly. And the food? Simply superb. Another major drawcard of The Oriana is the outdoor pool and garden zone. 

The Peacock Room at The Oriana
The Peacock Room. © The Oriana

Is The Oriana family friendly?

While The Oriana can cater to families, and has a room suitable for parents travelling with little ones, The Oriana does not market itself as a family hotel. Regardless, it’s certainly a safe and family-friendly place with a relaxed atmosphere. 

Oriana king terrace suite

At 32 square metres, the King Terrace Suite has an open-plan layout with plenty of room for lounging, working and storing luggage. Our suite was themed after Hong Kong with retro prints and posters hung on the walls. The suite is cosy and warm – despite Orange’s winter temperatures – and has all the essentials you need. A 50” television, coffee machine, work desk, two armchairs, a sofa, coffee table and side tables either side of the king bed. There are plenty of power outlets for charging multiple devices, and guests will appreciate the bathrobes, Aqua di Parma toiletries and oversized fluffy towels. 

The 'Hong Kong' Suite at The Oriana.
The ‘Hong Kong’ Suite at The Oriana. © Laura Barry

What to eat at The Oriana

As previously mentioned, The Oriana hosts three distinct drinking and dining venues, The Peacock Room, The Bela Vista Bar, and the Summer Kitchen. In The Peacock Room restaurant, staff informed us that the steak and fish dishes are among the most popular, however I opted for the vegetarian-friendly barley risotto and zucchini flowers which was a rich, creamy and multi-dimensional meal. Better yet, the serving size was generous, the presentation heavenly and the texture top-notch. 

Before booking…

To really take advantage of all The Oriana has on offer, be sure to visit during the warmer months when lazing in the pool and dining in the garden involves sunshine and balmy breezes. 

Orange is fast becoming one of New South Wales’ leading food and wine destinations. As such, the Orange Wine Festival, which runs around September/October, and the Orange F.O.O.D Week – one of Australia’s longest-running regional food festivals held around April – both draw a large crowd. You’ll need to book in advance if you want to score a room during these times. Similarly, given that Orange is located just a 45-minute drive from Bathurst, guests travelling to the region should take note of the race dates for the Bathurst 1000, which regularly fills out accommodation options. 

Insiders’ tips

On Friday and Saturday evenings from 5pm to 7pm, The Oriana serves up $15 martinis by the crackling fire pits in the garden. Furthermore, from 14 September 2023, once a month Bela Vista Bar will host the Oriana Grande jazz band, playing sets from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on a Thursday evening – and it’s free for all to attend!

 Staying in at The Oriana

The Oriana offers guests a complimentary arrival drink, buffet breakfast is available and the onsite pool is perfect for summer visits. There’s a gym for those looking to maintain their usual fitness regime, complimentary wi-fi, a smart TV with access to Netflix and room service. 

 Stepping out: things to do in Orange

There are two ways to explore Orange: a self-guided road trip is fun, but riding on the back of a trike is better. Mark from Orange Trike Tours is a friendly, knowledgeable and delightful tour guide whose slick trike is equipped for all weather. With heated gloves, leather jackets and helmets equipped with wireless microphone communication, Mark will have you zipping through the picturesque streets of Orange in style. Guests can choose from wine, food or sight-seeing routes. 

Cheese board at Word Of Mouth Wines; Orange Trike Tours.
Cheese board at Word Of Mouth Wines; Orange Trike Tours. © Laura Barry

Visit Lake Canobolas and stop for lunch at the small and unassuming Lakeside Kiosk & Cafe. This little place serves up really delicious, high-quality food. The staff are friendly, there’s a clear view of the lake and the interiors are inviting.

Lakeside Kiosk & Cafe.
Lakeside Kiosk & Cafe.

Should you have a soft spot for chardonnay, be sure to visit Byrne Farms and sample their pinot and chardonnay varieties. Owner and founder Jeff Byrne is a Canadian from Nova Scotia with a long history of immersion in New South Wales’ wine scene. A wealth of knowledge and a charming host, Jeff is more than happy to talk visitors through his drops. The cellar door is a toasty and aesthetically pleasing space with views over the rolling vineyards.

Byrne Farm Wines.
Byrne Farm Wines. © Laura Barry

Nothing accompanies a wine tasting better than a cheese plate, and Word of Mouth Wines serves up a cracking platter alongside their wine tasting. This sustainable vineyard produces organic varieties of sparkling, pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, gruner veltliner, mencia, petit manseng, guervertztraminer and cabernet sauvignon. The pastoral location is beautiful and the local birdlife, such as cockatoos, rosellas and rainbow lorikeets, sometimes drop by to entertain patrons. Be sure to give dogs Fluffy and Artemis a cuddle.  

Word Of Mouth Wines. © Laura Barry

Where to find The Oriana

For visitors coming from Sydney, at the roundabout at Orange High School, take the third exit onto Mitchell Highway/Woodward Street. The Oriana will be on the right, after the Woodward Street/Byng Street traffic lights. 

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