Our History

Mercure Canberra is one of Canberra’s oldest and best loved hotels…

Originally known as the Hotel Ainslie, and until recently, Olims, the Mercure Canberra was designed by architect CFA voysey. Built in English deco style, it was initially established to house members of Parliament and public servants.

Hotel Ainslie opened September 1927, the same year Old Parliament House was opened. Privately run from 1930 by the Spendlove family, it was known to many as Spendlove’s Hotel. In its early days the hotel offered accommodation for 60 people, 16 singles and 22 double rooms.

Pre-World War II, the Hotel Ainslie was a lively place, being the centre of social gatherings. The hotel is remembered as a Canberra Landmark; it was the largest building north of Civic.

The hotel was classified by the National Trust, entered on the Royal Institute of Architects Register of Significant Twentieth Century Architecture and on the Australian Heritage Commission’s Register of National Estate.

The picturesque book depicting our history is available for sale only at the hotel!


Mercure Canberra has all the charm and elegance of early federation architecture and the appeal of the bygone era, yet boasts facilities and services to cater for the modern traveler.

In 1987 a further 87 rooms were added to the original thirty seven, in addition to extensive landscaping and remodeling of the public areas including the public bar, bistro bar and restaurant and beer garden.


All extensions and refurbishments have been carried out in keeping with the original architecture, ensuring none of the old world charm of the property is lost.

In 1989 the hotel changed its name to Olims Canberra Hotel when it was purchased by the current owners.

The hotel still provides today’s visitor with a taste of Canberra as it was in 1927.