|The Establishment Hotel
by Sarah Shuckburgh
This stylish hotel combines the best of old and new, with an
ambitious and eclectic mix of colonial heritage and cutting
edge luxury. The ornate facade on George Street dates from
1890, and the interior has been built round the remains of
George Patterson House, which was gutted in a fire in 1996.
The cleverest part is that the main bars and restaurants are
at the front, with the noise and bustle of the city, while
the 33 bedrooms are tucked away in a peaceful tower, 50
yards back from the street.
This is a "boutique" hotel (Oz for luxury), with large and
well appointed rooms. For $995 a night, you can stay in the
duplex penthouse, which has an enormous bedroom and
adjoining limestone bathroom, and on its upper floor an open
plan living and dining area with panoramic views.
All rooms have sophisticated electronic equipment. For
instance at the touch of your bedside console you can
conjure up 12 lighting combinations. Further touches of the
screen will control the wide screen TV, three telephones,
data port access, state of the art CD and DVD players,
stereo, air conditioning and dozens of other amusements. But
there are also old fashioned features such as windows that
open, comfortable sofas and armchairs, and a large bath.
There are 13 bars to choose from, but the most mellow is the
top floor Hemmesphere, with its Moroccan decor and ottomans
strewn with cushions. The lights of Sydney's central
business district glitter through curtains made of gold
saris. Choose wine from the very long wine list, and cigars
from the very long cigar list. And at the communal sushi
counter, watch chefs prepare your meal as you rub elbows
with beautiful people.
While you dine in the sophisticated "est" restaurant on the
first floor, admire the 1940s pressed metal ceiling, the
walnut furniture and Sydney's largest wine rack, which looks
like a giant bird cage.
The ground floor Establishment Bar claims, at 150 feet, to
be the Longest Bar In The Southern Hemisphere. A discreet
bouncer on the door clicks in customers, and after 900 have
arrived, a queue forms round the block. As a resident, you
avoid the queue, and walk straight in.
If you want to dance the night away in the brick-walled
cellars of the Tank Nightclub, don't miss the row of unisex
portaloos which are the talk of Sydney clubbers.
Breakfast is served in the Garden Bar. The only concessions
to nature in this indoor garden are the splashes of water
trickling into a pool, and some spindly bamboo behind the
counter. The Garden Bar is an austere but tranquil
glass-roofed space which incorporates remains of the
fire-ravaged 19th century building. The original jagged
outer walls and cast iron columns blend successfully with
concrete and glass.
First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd