Here we all are! We were feeling pretty happy with ourselves..... good friends, fine food, a glorious atmosphere.
Such a treat.
That's the birthday girl over there on the right (woohoo!), and I'm the one with the dark hair.
And, here's the 'Princess Room' where we had our 'high tea'.... gorgeous. So grand and detailed. The ceiling was magnificent. And, the wallpaper.....let's just say, my obsession with gorgeous wallpaper (like the type you'll find at my beloved Thibaut in America), was well and truly fired up. More on that later.
After the absolutely scrumptious delicacies of the 'high tea', we then got to go on a guided tour around parts of the hotel thanks to the Managing Director Mr. John Finning.
Here's the 'Grand Dining Room'. The mirrors were absolutely stunning. Huge! The tapestries were also huge and beautiful.
Now, on to some other interesting snippets.
This staircase enarmoured me because of what I could see at the very top. Can you see it up there?
Here it is close up.
That, my friends, is a ceiling decorated with wallpaper.
Be still my beating heart.
There were quite a few of those (excitement plus!) as we walked around, but this is my best shot due to the light.
We wandered down lushly carpeted hallways with more gorgeous wallpaper. I asked John about its origins, and he informed me they had to import it all from America. Uh-huh, just as I'd guessed. Those Americans sure are handy in the wallpaper department.
We got to peek into some of the rich and comfortable rooms, each with its own version of the most magnificent bed you've ever seen!
These rooms have been host to some very illustrious guests over the years since 1853. Ballarat was once Australias premier city due to its location right smack bang in the middle of the Goldfields during the Goldrush Era. Thus it attracted eminent visitors who chose to stay at The Craig's Royal Hotel.
Guests have included Mark Twain, the Duke and Duchess of York (later to become King George V and Queen Mary), the Duke of Windsor, Sir Robert Menzies (one of Australias most well known Prime-ministers), Sir Donald Bradman (our most famous cricketer), HRH Prince Alfred Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Edward Duke of Wales, and General Lord Horatio Kitchener, to name a few.
More gorgeous wallpaper in this bedroom above! And, through the door over there at the end, across the hallway of the suite, there was a room with this in it.......
Aaahhh, I'll have one of those with champagne, chocolates, soft music, warm bubbly water, and a good book thanks!
As we oohed and aahed our way around long quiet hallways, up and down beautiful staircases, and even in one of those old lifts with the sliding retractable grids across the front, there were also glimpses of glorious windows like this one...
I adore stained glass windows. Original beauties like this one with such marvellous colour and detail are such a rare treat.
We also had a quick sneak peek at the converted wine cellar, the bar, and the restaurant area. You can see the bistro below. I've had a meal at that bistro, and the food was nothing short of 5 star... absolutely melt in your mouth.
So, I hope you enjoyed this little blog tour of one of Ballarat's best known historical buildings! These photos only represent a very small portion of the building and its beautiful rooms. The Craig's Royal Hotel has been a labour of love (and much hard work) for its owners, who bought it in 1999, and have been restoring it to its former glory with meticulous care and detail ever since.
I'd like to thank Managing Director Mr. John Finning for his wonderful hospitality, fabulous tour, and kind permission to take and publish these photos!
If you're ever in Ballarat, a stay at 'Craigs' would be something to remember. And, if you live in Ballarat, you should try the 'high tea'! Yummy. Not to mention a 3 course meal in the bistro... superb.
One of my lovely friends up there was saying she thinks her husband should be spoiling her with a stay in a different suite of rooms for their wedding anniversary every year from now on.
Excellent idea I thought!
P.S: You can find out more about The Craig's Royal Hotel, its history and its importance, at the official website. Lots of interesting info to be found there, as well as all important booking details for rooms, weddings, and all manner of functions!
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