ELISA ELWIN checks out the family rooms at this recently refurbished five-star hotel.
After undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2020, this hotel has emerged as a luxurious accommodation option – the only five-star offering in the NSW New England region. Located on the original site of an 1888 power station, it pays tribute to its heritage through its design influences and art. Compared to a city hotel of a similar calibre, it’s great value for money.
A 4.5-hour drive north-west of Sydney along the New England Highway and 7 hours’ drive south of Brisbane, Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth by Rydges is a great place for a pit stop on a family road trip. It’s also just a few minutes’ drive from Tamworth Regional Airport, and 5 minutes’ drive from the town centre.
The hotel has 61 rooms and suites, and 20 luxe serviced apartments including King Rooms, which can accommodate up to two adults and two children, through to two-bedroom apartments with kitchens. Our Powerhouse Family Room on the second floor had a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. We loved the premium pillow-top king beds, wall TVs in each room and coffee machine and pods. The rooms are stylish and sumptuous, with a homely feel. Eco-conscious practices include the ‘Green Choice Decline’ – decline the daily housekeeping service and receive a $10 food and beverage credit. Make sure to book in advance as this updated property is creating quite a buzz, and family rooms are booked out well in advance of the school holidays. Join the Priority Guest Rewards loyalty program for free benefits and extras, including dining discounts and room rate discounts.
The pool is the centre of all fun. With the heated spa open until 10pm, a soak in the bubbles before a dip in the cool pool is a great way to let off steam and prepare for bed. The Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum within the hotel complex is a motorbike lover’s dream.
Food and Drink
The Workshop Kitchen has a woodfired oven and grill, with a focus on locally sourced produce, including aged beef. Our recommendation would be the chargrilled steak or the ribs platter with sides. There’s also an extensive wine list. Ask general manager, proud local, Daine Cooper, for advice if needed. His passion for creating and regularly updating the wine list has been rewarded with a two-glass rating.
There are plenty of kid-friendly meal options to choose from and, if sitting in the restaurant doesn’t work for your family, the hotel has 24-hour room service. Regular ‘kids eat free’ deals are also offered. In addition, the Coal Bunker Bar is open every day until late, if you feel like a tipple.
Love country music, or just ‘big’ things? Get your photo taken with the 12m-high Big Golden Guitar. A replica of the famous Golden Guitar Award presented to artists at the annual Country Music Awards of Australia, it’s one of the tallest guitars in the world. Tamworth Regional Playground, in the beautiful surrounds of Bicentennial Park, has sandpits, ziplines, tunnel slides and climbing structures, and a splash pad wet zone to cool off on hot summer days. There is a littlies soft fall area, while parents can grab a coffee at the neighbouring Hopscotch Restaurant and Bar. Just a 10-minute drive away, get up-close with the wildlife at the Tamworth Marsupial Park & Adventure Playground. Walk through the kangaroo enclosure, and the free-flight aviary to spot the native birds. A ‘muddle’ of guinea pigs is also in residence in their own tiny house. Designed by local kids, the playground has under-5s and older children’s areas, free barbecues and tables for a picnic lunch.
The writer was a guest of Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth by Rydges.