It's been some time since I've been to Adelaide and I had heard it was no longer the sleepy town of days gone by but a rapidly changing cosmopolitan hub for food and sport.
So, what's happening in the hotel scene? I was looking for something different from the same old regulars and stumbled upon AccorHotel's boutique outlet, M Gallery. Their Adelaide property, The Playford, sits right in the hub of Adelaide's tourism centre and is a short stroll to the casino, river and restaurants.
Checking in to a grand entrance, the decor is warm and classic, with sweeping staircases and chandeliers dotted around the lobby.
My room, on the first floor, has direct access to a private courtyard. Sitting in the sun with the water fountain trickling in the background and sampling local wine from the Barossa Valley, it was the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
The rooms are classic, with plush furniture and heavy curtains. It's comfortable and the tiled floors provide some cold respite from Adelaide's heat. The bathroom, which has a shower over bath, is decked out in granite and stocked with Appelles amenities.
The downstairs restaurant is the heartbeat of the hotel. Adjoining the lounge, it serves up one of the better buffet breakfasts going around. Artisinal yoghurt, interesting varieties of fruit and coconut water is on hand for the fussiest of health freaks. Those with traditional taste buds will be pleased to find bacon, mushrooms and eggs that are fresh and full of flavour.
Dinner is a top notch affair, with The Playford restaurant being renowned for its elegant modern cuisine. Kingfish sashimi is delicately balanced with a citrus dressing and fennel. Less successful is the gnocchi gorgonzola with shards of brittle that cuts the mouth and is overpoweringly sweet.
The standout comes at the end with a traditional line of desserts and a chocolate experience plate. Milk, white and dark chocolate is tempered perfectly and various casings are filled with mousse and coulis, bursting with indulgence. I'd visit again just for that dish.
A few minutes walk and I could be at the cricket or the Elton John concert, without the hassle of traffic or finding a taxi. And on a weekend away to South Australia, The Playford seems the right spot to shack up.
FEEL: Classically grand.
WIFI: Yes, complimentary.
RATES: Starting from $155 AUD. Breakfast packages available.
IN-ROOM: Shower over bath tub, TV, writing desk, arm chairs, king bed.