Stay A While: A Blog About Sydney's Hotel Architecture
I recently traveled to Sydney, Australia, for a month and wrote a series of travel blogs on different aspects of the area. Australia was a beautiful (and very far) country- If you ever find yourself up for the adventure or travel anywhere else, don’t for get about the services we offer through My Concierge. Enjoy!
Whether it’s an Airbnb, a hostel or a hotel room, the place we choose to call our temporary homes on vacation each have their own special characteristics, both on the inside and the outside.
Unique architecture and design styles go into every man-made structure we see around us, and if it’s spectacular enough, it may even attract visitors of its own just to admire the architectural beauty. Sydney, Australia, has many architectural styles and marvels all around they city, like the Opera House, Westfield Tower and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but other than these significant landmarks, there may be a group of buildings that you wouldn’t think of having architectural and design merit: They’re Sydney’s many hotels, structures that vary extensively in age and design.
Just south of Hyde Park in the neighborhood of Surry Hills stands the Veriu Central hotel, a warehouse-looking, triangular building that sits where Elizabeth Street and Wentworth Street cross.
From the outside, this post-war hotel is made up of a brick construction, with symmetric, rectangular windows lining the walls and the name of the hotel placed on the southernmost point. If you weren’t familiar with this hotel, you would think you’d been transported back to the 1920s and were staring up at a working warehouse rather than a modern, boutique hotel because, well, that’s what it was: Veriu Central is housed in what used to be the Wentworth House, a place where men would discuss business in “drawing rooms,” until the space actually was later transformed into a warehouse.
Though its original construction dated all the way back to the 19th century, the Veriu hotel you see today still includes many of its original architectural features, like timber framed oval windows, twin arched balconies and the triangular shaped rear courtyard. That’s just what architect Ashkan Mostaghim wanted, too. With Mostaghim & Associates working on the project, it was clear that its 19th century and 1920s elements had to play a key role in the remodeling of the hotel, as part of their philosophy states that they take into account the site’s existing design opportunities first before creating their plan. Mostaghim & Associates perfectly captured a mix of this 1920s style with contemporary elements that make guests feel like they’re truly somewhere special.
The modernity of Veriu is specifically felt in the lobby, where square blue paneling lines the wall, trendy light fixtures and couches invite guests in, and a welcoming retro coffee and bar area add to the relaxed atmosphere.
Behind this retro bar is Stole, a cheery barista/bartender who helps make Veriu Central the welcoming place it is.
“I love the older vintage design we have here. Guests are always giving us great feedback on the look of everything,” Stole shares. “My favorite part is definitely this cool bar I work at because it’s really unique.”
Stop by for a drink or a coffee (and maybe say hi to Stole!) as you admire the antique-contemporary architecture that Veriu Central hotel flaunts.
The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
Go back in time to Australia’s early beginnings as a colony when you step into The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Sydney’s oldest licensed hotel. Tucked away in Sydney’s The Rocks neighborhood, The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel stands out among the shady trees as an Old Colonial Regency style building, established in 1841 by architect Michael Lehane. As a simple three-story, sandstone structure, just looking at this hotel makes you feel like you’ve been transported back to Australia’s colonial days.
Walking inside, you’d expect to find men in tricorne hats with swords strapped to their belts and women in traditional 19th century dresses, but you’ll actually stumble upon a historic pub filled with both locals and guests. Barstools, barrels, and antique wall decor surround the bar area, making any passerby wonder, “Is this actually a hotel?”. The hotel check in desk is actually the bar itself, and to find the rooms, guests must trek up an ancient looking staircase lined with red patterned carpet. Once upstairs, it’s so quaint that it seems like you’re in someone’s home, with sandstone bricks making up the hallway walls and a single door knob and keyhole being all that’s on hotel room doors.
Come in to learn more about the history and architecture, and stay to enjoy an award-winning, house-made ale before you go!
Paramount House Hotel
Named the “Surry Hills Neighborhood Hotel,” Paramount House Hotel is another quaint and contemporary hotel, but this one’s got a unique twist: The space was home to the former Paramount Picture Studios, so it’s a cinema-lover’s dream on the inside (they even have a vintage cinema bar playing new and classic movies downstairs!).
With a major focus on environmental sustainability and hospitality, Paramount House Hotel’s architecture and design defines what the future of hotels will look like; it’s design maintains the signature style that architecture group Breathe Architecture is all about. Staying true to its movie studio past, the outside looks like an old studio indeed, with windows mirroring TV screens and retro antennas poking out from the roof.
On the inside, the hotel has a contemporary, industrial design concept, where exposed brick and worn plaster walls mesh perfectly with modern light fixtures, trendy wall art, and stylish neon signs. Though I couldn’t go into a room, friendly employees like Sam, who works at the front desk, paints me a picture of a beautiful room where the beds are always made, lush plants surround the area, and Japanese timber baths really make guests feel like they’re on a relaxing getaway.
Guests love the architecture and design so much that Sam tells me they “once actually had a woman fly from Melbourne just to see the terrazzo tile we have here because she wanted them in her house!”
Right next to the front desk where Sam works is a mini gift shop area, too.
“We sell things that match our architectural and design space,” Sam says. “They’re things that people actually want in their homes.”
Along with a coffee house and cinema bar on-site, you could spend all day at the Paramount House Hotel, marveling at its architectural individuality along the way.
Heading east away from downtown and towards Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, you’ll find the Hotel Ravesis, a colorful boutique hotel that’s home to just 12 rooms.
If a vintage pink Chrysler convertible car could be turned into a hotel, this would be it; neon pink arch designs line the windows, and bright green palm trees take up space on every balcony in sight, paying homage to its mid-century design intent. Miami and Cuba are obvious inspirations to this art deco-esque hotel, even delivering on the panoramic ocean views, too.
Originally established in 1914 and formerly the site of apartment rooms until 1989, the hotel was recently revamped by designer Kristen Doyle from Killanoodle Design, who wanted to provide an even more retro vibe on the inside and outside. A bar and eatery area intrigue Bondi visitors with its beachy feel, and directly adjacent is the check-in desk, where a pastel green paneling design welcomes guests into the retro space.
Though rooms weren’t available to be seen, the familiar color palette of green, pink and white surround the beachy wooden furniture and potted plants that are a part of every room.
Whether you are a lover of all things Miami Beach art deco style or are just looking for a cool place to grab a cocktail with the view of the ocean, stop by Hotel Ravesis for this and so much more.