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Almost two years after Sydney's iconic Observatory Hotel changed owners to become The Langham Sydney, the property will close its door to undergo a massive renovation to make the space a lot more, well, Langham.
The first day of renovations is scheduled for July 24. Over the next four months, all 96 guest rooms, the lobby, dining areas and the residential-style ballroom will see a bit more than a few new coats of paint. Spending around $30 million AUD, the hotel will install a new design element, to bring it more in-line with their other properties around the globe.
Each of the rooms will trade their stuffy, dated interior for a more modern, white-washed decor with herringbone hardwood-floors, modern furnishings and gold and teal accents marrying high-end luxe with colonial charm. Being one of the only hotels in Sydney to offer balconies in each room, guests will be able to enjoy the near perfect Sydney weather from the comfort of their own room.
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Who would have thought that a hotel located in one of Sydney's most stunning spots on The Rocks would need to embark beautification process? Well, the folks over at Pier One Sydney Harbour decided to pretty things up a bit after the ownership of the hotel changed hands.
Earlier this year, Pier One became part of Marriott's Autograph Collection and thus they decided to really wow their
Marriott Rewards members guests.
For the next 17 weeks, the hotel will be overhauling their lobby, dining and bar facilities to better fit in with their new brand. One thing that won't be changing is the 100-year old character of the building and the stunning views across Sydney Harbour. Originally built as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit facility, the hotel now offers a modern and contemporary stay steeped in history with some rooms offering the closest thing you can get to an overwater bungalow in an urban setting.
1888 Shakes Things Up With a "Cozy Industrial Vibe"
Focusing on being Instagram-worthy as it does (and handing out free nights if you have 10,000 followers or more), Sydney’s 1888 Hotel better be bringing it in the looks department. We showed you how to get the lobby (or yourself) into the frame, and are following up today with a closer look at how the rest of the hotel measures up.
1888’s Pyrmont location puts you just on the "other" side of Darling Harbour, to the west of Sydney’s CBD. A stroll across the pedestrian bridge will take you into the city’s core in 15 minutes, or you can take the scenic ferry route and sail underneath the Harbour Bridge before you dock at Circular Quay.
Getting to the hotel from the airport is easy enough: hop on the express train to the city’s Central Station and change to the monorail, get off at Convention Centre (you buy the monorail ticket on the train), enter the parking garage and take the lift up to the fourth floor, exit on the other side, and 1888 is right in front of you. The red brick building (formerly a wool-storage facility) certainly looked pretty against the backdrop of bright blue Sydney skies when we arrived.
We’ve come a long way from hotel staff wearing boxy, nondescript uniforms (hell, at some hotels you get to wear Lacroix Couture), but QT Sydney is taking things yet another step further: not only does staff have its stylish uniforms (by costume designer Janet Hine), an in-house stylist is on hand to get the look just so before starting work.
The result is – not surprisingly – some very well put together staff, like the blue-shirted Porters and red-wigged Directors of Chaos at the hotel’s entrance. Their job is getting you out of the hustle of Market Street, into the ornate downstairs gallery (the hotel combines the former Gowings Department Store and State Theatre), and up one floor to reception.
And you can get yourself easily in the picture: just step behind the frame (or ‘Selfie’ space as the hotel calls it) that hangs from one of the wooden beams in the lobby of this wool-storage facility turned hotel in Sydney's Pyrmont district, snap away, tag it #1888Hotel and it will appear on the screens near reception.
Since we know you’d much rather look at hotels than us, we’ll let the lobby itself have its close up, which has various seating areas (including a small restaurant section), a living tree, and a set of glass elevators that take you up through the four-story atrium to one of the 90 bedrooms.
Last year, we were in "Gatsby" heaven, thanks to Baz Luhrmann's stylized movie version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic novel. Since some scenes were filmed in Sydney, it kind of makes sense for the city to reclaim an art deco building to re-purpose it into a stunning new hotel called the Greenland Hotel.
The building was originally home to the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Headquarters and sports a formidable art deco facade. Through the redevelopment, that design will carry through all spaces in the hotel; restoring the structure's heritage features and ultimately, a new design hotel will emerge into the city center, just steps from Hyde Park and Pitt Street Mall.
The six-story hotel will also be transforming office space from the "Water Board" days into fresh hotel rooms that feature simple, yet elegant interiors referencing the original stone and timber veneer panel of the vintage design. Each of the 180 rooms will be built around a central skylight, bringing back an era of opulence prior to the Great Depression.
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The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.
The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)
Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.
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Nevertheless, this hotel is a feast for the visual senses since the restored building marries vintage charm with edgy design and comfort. Named after the year that Kodak launched their first box and roll camera which, coincidentally, was the same year the building was built. Freaky!
With little doubt, the hotel's public spaces and rooms are an Instagrammers dream, 1888 is planning to attract even more "snap happy" guests with an Instagram contest.
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Any hotelier who looks at their elevators as merely a necessary function by which to transport guests between the lobby and their rooms is missing an opportunity, because if our hotel has a quirky elevator, we're probably going to talk about it. Here are ten of the best hotel elevators we've come across over the last few years.
The giant beach-side hotel will get a funky facelift and a high-design room renovation to reflect the QT style that has put them on the map. Just like QT Sydney, (and its four other QT hotels around Oz), the Bondi property will showcase the designs of Nic Graham of g+a Interiors. Not sure if that new elevator gimmick will be in place.
The building will still cater to overnight guests looking for a resort getaway on the beach but it will also feature QT Residences. The residences will sport about 150 fully-contained, fully furnished apartments for quintessential beach living. From the sounds of it, the decor will be a mix of the Gold Coast (60s beach-chic) and Sydney (trendy and urban loft) properties.
Picture the scene: you're in the elevator going up to your hotel room, Elvis is singing Are You Lonesome Tonight when the door opens and another guest slips in. Eyes straight ahead, you've just settled into ignore the stranger mode when the elevator music switches to Just the Two of Us.
Awkward? Yes. Coincidence? Not if you are staying at the QT Sydney where the elevators are no mere vehicles to transport you between the rooms and the lobby, but 'interactive installations'. Those songs were not played by chance but selected from the hotel's own set-list and triggered by the number of bodies occupying the space.
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If you're a fan of anything and everything Ritz-Carlton, you might remember the hotel brand having a property in Sydney that has since been merely part of fond memories of luxury digs and top-notch service in the upmarket inner-suburb of Double Bay. Now, some deep pockets are giving the old hotel new life by turning it into an InterContinetal Hotel.. This will be the second InterContinental Hotel for the city.
The new owners will fork over a wad of cash to transform the derelict building which was built as Australia's only Ritz in 1991 and eventually became the destination for the likes of Princess Diana, Madonna and Bill Clinton on their visits Down Under. In 1997, the hotel made an infamous list when INXS lead-man, Michael Hutchence, was hung himself in room 524 causing the hotel's reputation to nosedive. In 2001, it was turned into Sir Stamford which then closed in 2009 causing the building to go in ill-repair.