For a taste of inner-city luxury, you can’t go past QT Sydney. It packs 200 individualised rooms, a day spa (spaQ), men’s barber, two bars, a café and restaurant into the heritage-listed Gowings building – and still feels boutique rather than behemoth. They’ve themed the place around the full-service men’s department stores of the ’50s and ’60s, from vintage American barber shop chairs to the Hammam-inspired steam room. A reception lounge channels mid-century Modern through the prism of contemporary design. It’s not all retro: Grant Stevens’ large-scale video work ‘The Drift’ provides a meditative vista in the public lounge and Daniel Boyd’s digital dot works grace the elevators. Each room is just a little different, whether colour scheme, furniture or fittings – but the basics remain the same: custom-designed ‘gel’ mattresses (by AH Beard); flat-screen TVs; dark grey palettes for the bathrooms; fiery colour palettes for the rooms. On the Gowings side of the building you get original floorboards; the State Theatre side has carpet and dark wood panelling retained from previous occupants. It’s hard to imagine a better inner-city option for design nuts and art lovers.
When you wake up... Head downstairs to Parlour Lane Roasters. They’ve got breakfast basics – Bircher muesli, house-made banana bread, or a hearty, eggs-oriented fry-up – or get the Big Breakfast, which is two eggs poached or fried served with sourdough toast, bacon, tomato, mushrooms and chorizo for $20.
During the day... Head to Hyde Park to sun yourself, stroll to Circular Quay or across the Domain to catch the latest exhibition at the MCA or AGNSW, or make a beeline to the Botanical Gardens for a picnic (going via David Jones’ Food Hall, located just down the street, for supplies).
After dark... No need to leave the hotel – it’s got you covered. Visit Gilt Lounge for pre-dinner drinks and retro-inspired snacks like the ‘Almight Vol-Au-Vent’ with house-made Gravlax, or the king prawn brioche bun with ’slaw. As we head toward winter, consider a ‘Penicillin’ ($20) – courtesy of Lower East Side hotspot Milk & Honey and their star mixologist Sam Ross – which is fuelled by top-shelf whiskies Monkey Shoulder and Lagavulin. Gowings Bar & Grill is your go-to for brasserie-style surf’n’turf, with a menu that’s big on crustaceans, wood-fired meats and rotisserie fowl.
Time Out stayed as a guest of QT Sydney.