I often say that travel is an art. It’s not simply as easy as booking a plane ticket, hotel room, and tours. Art is how we express ourselves and showcase our creativity and uniqueness.
How we travel should be no different than how we paint, sculpt, dance, or sing. It’s not simply about finding a destination that inspires us, it should be an avenue for creating your own unique journey. And that’s what I love about Adelaide.
Yes, South Australia’s capital has many notable attractions, but this isn’t a city that defines itself by a top 10 list. I found Adelaide to be a city that prides itself more in offering unique travel experiences than pushing must see attractions down your throat.
Adelaide is a destination where expressing yourself is the focus, and that begins from the moment you check into The Watson Art Series Hotel. Australia is home to several Art Series Hotels; a brand which looks to provide travelers with artistic comfort to inspire a unique journey.
Oscar Wilde said that “life imitates art far more than art imitates life”. Art has the ability to alter our perception of life, so we were more than happy to let the The Watson Art Series Hotel alter our perception of Adelaide.
The Watson Adelaide – Your Guide to the Adelaide Art Scene
Located in the affluent northern suburb of Walkerville, The Watson offers a comfortable and convenient stay in Adelaide. A quick 10-15 minute car ride will get you to nearly any destination around the city centre.
There is limited free parking available if you plan on driving your own vehicle, or you can think about hiring one of the hotel’s art covered smart cars. We drove into Adelaide, though our car remained parked for our entire stay.
The pedestrian/biker bridge directly outside the hotel links up with the River Torrens Linear Park Trail, and we used this for getting around Adelaide. This is a popular trail used by walkers, runners, and cyclists that makes its way some 30km from Athelstone to Henley Beach, cutting right through the CBD.
Be sure to ask about renting one of the hotel’s red Lekker bicycles to take in this beautiful trail or simply walk it to enjoy the swinging bridge and abundant birdlife. It’s a 40 minute scenic walk to the Botanic Gardens, which are right on the edge of the city.
Offering studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, The Watson suits everyone from the solo traveller to small families. Every room incorporates the colourful works of Tommy Watson to give the otherwise crisp neutral room the right amount of character.
The rooms are a home away from home; our two bedroom balcony suite equipped with a full kitchen where we could cook our own meals (there’s a Woolworths directly behind the hotel), a spacious lounge and dining area, and private balcony with sweeping views over the Adelaide CBD.
Being two weeks into our road trip, keeping on top of our laundry was actually a treat. And the in room washer/dryer allowed us to tackle this task with ease. This comes in extremely handy for extended stays or long road trips of discovery.
Luxury apartment style accommodation like this with kitchen and laundry facilities saves so much time, money, and hassle while travelling and therefore allows you to spend more of your valuable time actually experiencing a destination.
The hotel’s suites are so comfortable that some people genuinely decide to never leave! The Art Series Residences allow you to take advantage of free utilities, Foxtel and wifi, parking, the gym, the pool, and your own maid. You’d be hard pressed to find a better lifestyle in Adelaide!
[More] Photos of the Room
The Watson offers a large 25m pool and modern gym in case you didn’t get enough exercise walking or biking around Adelaide.
Those not wanting to take advantage of their suite’s kitchen or kitchenette can simply visit the hotel’s onsite restaurant Local Grind, especially great for breakfast and coffee to kickstart your day.
There is limited free parking available if you plan on driving your own vehicle, or you can think about hiring one of the hotel’s smart cars or Lekker bicycles.
Enjoy free WiFi to research where you want to check out around Adelaide or for uploading your photos and adventures to share with the world.
One of the biggest things that set Art Series Hotels apart is their focus on supporting local artists. Each hotel within the brand has chosen to honor an Australian artist by showcasing their artwork and using them as inspiration for a unique hotel theme.
Adelaide’s The Watson is named for Yannima Tommy Watson. Described as “the greatest living painter of the Australian Western Desert”, he is internationally recognized as one of the most significant Aboriginal artists of our time.
Having lost both his parents at a young age, the Indigenous Australian artist of the Pitjantjatjara people would go on to become one of the nation’s leading abstract artists late in his life. His work depicts the nature and his people’s ancestral stories from the central western desert.
You will find a large number of Watson’s vibrant prints throughout the hotel as well as in galleries across Australia and international museums such as the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris.
The Watson encourages you to be inspired by Tommy Watson’s work and to create your own masterpieces. Make use of the hotel’s art utensils and browse or study more art via your in room art library or by organizing an art tour with the hotel.
Adelaide’s original landowners, the Kaurna people, once called this place Tarntanya, or the “Red Kangaroo Place”. Their culture almost completely destroyed from early European settlement, Kaurna culture and history are now honored through public art and placenames around Adelaide.
Nature surrounds the city in the form of extensive parks, gardens, and green spaces, all of which inspire people to get outdoors and has a way of bringing out creativity.
Adelaide is known for its many festivals, leading to its nickname the Festival State, which showcases its artistic talent in many forms. The city also brings art to your taste-buds with some of Australia’s freshest produce, creative dishes, and fine wines.
Adelaide’s Unique Art Scene
Too often, travelers try to replicate the experiences of other travelers. And while it’s fine to find inspiration from social media and travel guides, we do ourselves a great disservice when we simply replicate someone else’s journey.
Adelaide’s attractions don’t involve simply staring at a landmark and snapping a few selfies. No, Adelaide’s main attractions involve many forms of art. And, because art is subjective, each traveller comes away with different feelings and perspectives.
And that’s what travel is all about. It’s about seeing the world with your own two eyes and reflecting on what you personally learned and felt from the experience. Find your own inspiration in some of these great artistic hot spots around the city.
The Art Gallery of South Australia
Australia’s second largest state art collection, the Art Gallery of SA contains over 38,000 works of art. The gallery includes a large collection of Indigenous Australian and colonial art.
The gallery currently offers an intriguing exhibition of artwork from artists living and working in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and the Spinifex Lands of Australia.
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Photo: Sam Noonan
Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
See Australia’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre.
Here you can browse original paintings and performance art which includes music and storytelling from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
South Australian Museum
Mother nature is undoubtedly the world’s greatest artist, and you can explore many of her fascinating masterpieces at this incredible natural history museum.
See fossils from Australia’s prehistoric megafauna and opalised fossils from Coober Pedy. Of course there are manmade artifacts and artwork to see as well such as in the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery.
Photo by James St. John (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design studio
Look for artistic ideas and inspiration through workshops and courses at the Jam Factory.
The Jam factory offers studios, galleries, tours, and demonstrations. Their goal is to nurture the careers of talented artists, craftspeople and designers.
Around the City
Walk around the city to enjoy the impressive street art and pop into numerous fine art galleries along the Way. Check out the Rundle Mall to see the famous bronze pigs, shop Australia’s largest range of affordable art, and to purchase art supplies to create your own works of art.
Head to the Central Market, one of the largest undercover fresh produce markets in the Southern Hemisphere, to pick up all the fresh ingredients you’ll need to craft a culinary work of art fit for Masterchef.
If you aren’t exactly skilled in the kitchen, visit a local cafe or restaurant and maybe try a local favorite dish like the pie floater.
The Adelaide Fringe Festival is the world’s second-largest annual arts festival, and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
It is a month long event that’s held mid-Feb-mid March, hosting over 5,000 artists and over 1,000 events. Enjoy cabaret, comedy, dance, film, theatre, visual art, magic, and much more.
Come spring, you’ll find the Adelaide Fashion Festival which is held eve October. See up-and-coming Adelaide designers as they present contemporary fashion and accessories along with unique hair and makeup styling, local photography, music, and South Australia’s iconic food and beverages.
Your Art Experience Begins at Check-in
Of course, your unique travel experience, and immersion into the Adelaide art scene starts as soon as you check in.
For more information, or to make a booking, visit artserieshotels.com.au/watson
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