Adelaide, South Australia's relaxed capital city is more than happy with its "large town" tag. From the word go, this was a city that was carefully designed to have a balance between elegance and function. The result is one of the world's least stressed, most liveable cities, renowned for its fantastic parks, fine culture and even finer dining.
It is also surrounded by nature spots that home to such Aussie wildlife icons as penguins and kangaroos. Then, there's its unhurried coast, blessed with great beaches and lovely seaside suburbs. Even better, staying here couldn't be simpler (or less demanding on the bank balance). The hotel choice is wide, but costs are relatively low. So let's cast a critical eye over Adelaide's top hotel districts.
Adelaide's CBD is one of the most historic in Australia, first laid out over 150 years ago. It still has an unrushed, uncrowded skyline, surrounded by a verdant band of parkland. Its hotels are a mix of contemporary business and tourist hotels, some elegantly appointed (and located) establishments, plus a few cheaper lodgings located on the ring road. They are all usefully close to all that the CBD has to offer: its richly varied restaurant scene, fantastic cultural attractions and the best shopping in town.
The prices here, while higher than in much of the city, are still very reasonable when compared to other city centres. However, if you want a bit less bustle, but still to be close to the CBD and the airport, look for accommodation in North Adelaide, across the River Torrens. This is another of Adelaide's charming historical districts, replete with wide avenues and Edwardian mansions. Some the city's best – and most expensive – hotels are to be found here.
But it isn't all high-luxe in North Adelaide. You will also come across many mid-ranked hotels, providing excellent service, whether you're here for business or holiday-making. However, if it's the latter, you might be tempted to step out of Adelaide's central districts. The city's sunny Gulf St Vincent coast lies just a few miles west, and offers some serious holiday fun.
Strung along this coastline, you'll find a fine set of beaches. While they may not be world-class surfing resorts, they do make perfect locales for family holidays. The seaside suburb of Glenelg probably has the best hotel scene, with high-rise, top-quality hotels and beach-side resorts. There are also a few bargain basement establishments, which keep service (and so prices) to a minimum.
Finally, one of the most charming (and less well-known) of Adelaide's hotel districts lies just outside of the town proper – in the Adelaide Hills. This is where the "large town" gets a little more rural, and the accommodation follows suit. Among its hills and small towns, you can find cute hotels with real character – converted farmhouses and holiday cottages.
The Adelaide Hills are famed for their wines, being home to more than 40 vineyards and wineries. From one of its B&Bs or small country hotels, you can also explore the hinterland of the Murray River. Arts festivals, a fascinating history and a great outdoors experience all beckon. And of course, the easy-going pleasures of Adelaide are still right on your doorstep – giving you the best that South Australia has to offer.