Swimming in Hotel Alba’s pool, surrounded by striped umbrellas, a sun-drenched courtyard and palm trees, you’ll no doubt second-guess where you are. The hotel, which opened this September 2023, looks more like an island resort than a transformed former Chifley property in Adelaide’s CBD.
It’s the result of a multi-million-dollar facelift of Chifley on South Terrace, turning it into Hotel Alba with 99 rooms—standard, studio and one-bedroom apartments. Also open is a new Mediterranean hotel restaurant, Ela, run by executive chef Nigel Rich and head chef Ashleigh Lindner.
“Hotel Alba feels stylish and urban, yet has a carefree air about the space,” says Samantha Farrington, General Manager of Hotel Alba. “Staying here is for those seeking a little more laidback than luxury—it’s a place that skews boutique but has classic sophistication.”
The hotel was designed by Adelaide-based architecture and interior design firm Studio Nine, with the highlight of the transformation project on the ground floor, where you’ll see navy and terracotta accents across the furnishings and décor – part of the hotel’s Mediterranean feel.
“I love the blue hues throughout the guest rooms, as it gives a sense of relaxation to the space and ties in with the Mediterranean influence,” says Farrington. “The bathrooms are also a standout with stylish grey marble tiles and large rainfall showerheads. You’ll also find brushed gold detailing in the room and signage, which is subtle enough not to detract from the blue.”
The hotel’s restaurant, Ela, looks out at the pool and is designed for both guests and Adelaide locals. Farrington describes it as not pretentious and says staff want everyone to come and enjoy the space. Its menu is about putting honest food on the plate, with dishes like Manchego croquettes, braised lamb pita and pork sliders with apple and fennel.
“Ela takes menu inspiration from across the Mediterranean coastline and pairs it with local Adelaide produce,” says Farrington. “Menu standouts include 12-hour braised Moroccan lamb shank, chermoula prawn tagine and octopus carpaccio with yuzu caviar. Feast either on our ‘little ela’ shared dining menu or go the ‘full Alba’ shared dining experience.”
In addition to dining at Ela on a stay at Hotel Alba, Farrington also suggests visiting its bar for some cocktails, post-swim in the pool. For more drinks, visit Prohibition Liquor Co and Bar Riot, both a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
“I would check-in around 12pm, request a room overlooking the city skyline,” says Farrington. “After dinner, I’d settle in for the night or head into the city to Peel or Leigh Street for a nightcap. Next morning, head to McLaren Vale or Barossa, both only a 25-minute drive from the hotel.”
“Guests will really feel as if we have brought a slice of the Med to Adelaide,” she says.