Circa 1936 - The Hotel
The result of two amazing minds being fused together after years of experience in the Hotel design and Day Spa industry conceived the concept of Circa – A small collection (the end goal) of Luxury Hotels that exemplify elegance, uniqueness and superiority compared to your typical 5-star Hotel. The absolute stand out, and key feature, in my opinion was the staff, their professionalism, enthusiasm and their “19th Century service”.
It’s not often you walk in to a premium Hotel and are greeted by the owners, immediately sat down, poured some fresh chilled water and any other beverage of your choice while your bags are taken to your suite by your personal butler.
When you arrive at many 5-star suite these days you expect modern architecture, eclectic furniture and well known art that, even if it were to stand for something or hold some kind of romantic story behind it, you wouldn’t know about as there is nobody there to educate you. This is the beauty of having a Hotel of only 3 suites and one small dining room – the staff can focus their attention on you individually and are available to answer any questions and queries you may have – a very personal experience.
Circa is filled with premium quality, 20th century style furniture (the stunning freestanding baths being a real stand out) and art pieces from both local artisans as well as international sources that the couple have worked closely with to create, purely to suit the room they are to occupy – some of which have come from as far as Europe, Indonesia and Africa. If you take the time to wander around with Kevin as I did, he will express his knowledge of the origin of every piece, where it came from, how it was made and what purpose it serves. You can actually purchase some of these amazing pieces for yourself – see below some of the pieces in the Circa gallery.
Kevin, responsible for many impressive interior design workings such as hotel foyers, board rooms and suites has over 40 years of Hotel experience – hence the knack for designing an entire hotel when the opportunity to refurbish the old bank building arose – he is also very creative in his own right, having influenced some of the designs of the artwork you can see throughout the Hotel himself (as previously mentioned). Ririn, his wife, has the fundamental passion and extensive knowledge in skincare products and day spa regimes stemmed from both her fascination and experimentation with homemade skin products at a young age, as well a the beginning of her working career as a PA and Business Development Director for Martha Tillaar Group (the biggest spa franchise in Indonesia at the time) - eventually earning herself opportunities to help in the process of opening some of the best spas in the world. Conveniently, the two happened to cross paths while working in Papua New Guinea, leading to a romantic relationship and eventually marriage and the birth of two children! Who doesn’t love a little romance in amongst a success story?!
As I sat and listened to the two tell me of their journey, totally in awe of their experiences, inelegance and true passion for what they do, I couldn’t help but admire their ability to create something so world class and unexplainably impressive yet still so very comforting – as I said, it’s such a personal experience. The staff add to this also, Lester, the courteous and very professional butler is nothing like any other hotel staff member, he told me of his respect for the way Kevin takes great pride in aiming for perfection in Circas’ services, he agrees that it is extremely important and explained the happiness it brings to him, knowing that he has made the guests stay as unique and pleasurable as possible. And that he does, very well! I felt as though I’d lived the life of a queen for a night, I didn’t have to worry about a thing in the world! If my garments needed pressing, it was doable, if my clothes were left sitting on top of my case, I’d return to my room after a meal and they’d be hung up, if I needed a refreshment of any sort it was prepared in seconds, and, after our dinner, we returned to our room where Lester had prepared the night cap of choice and run us an amazing bubble bath with a fresh rose placed in the centre of the bubbles!
Each suite – The North, South and East are all very similarly designed and decorated but have a slightly different set out with their own different views of Corowa town, a large bathroom equipped with a beautiful vintage freestanding bath, shower, a large bed with nothing but premium quality quilt sets and cloud-like pillows and a mini lounge where you can sit, relax and help yourself to the complimentary mini bar – you don’t have to be afraid to crack the mini piccolo of champas and be stung 30 bucks!
Also included in your purchase of a nights stay at Circa is your Tapas Dinner, a night cap, Breakfast, coffees, baked treats if you'd like them, $200 worth of Circa Day Spa treatments and above all, the 10/10 butler service.
The North suite, the largest of the three, is completely wheelchair friendly so nobody misses out on this life changing hotel experience!
I stayed in the West suite, a stunningly decorated and furnished room for two overlooking Corowa’s sliver of the Murray River.
It is a night stay that I will never forget, we left feeling as though we had been welcomed in to their family, we were introduced to Kevin and Ririns’ small family and brain child, they shared wish us their future aspirations, proudest moments and subscribed us to be lifelong members of Circa 1936 - It’s something you would be insane not to have on your bucket list.