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LUXURY HOTELS: QT Sydney, australia 

Style: Funky, fun, fabulous
Scene: Straddling the historic Gowings building and the 1920s State Theatre
Seen in the lobby: Fashionistas, media types wearing black so they don't clash with the artwork

Riding up in the lift from Art Deco ground level I am serenaded by a rendition of 'Are you lonesome tonight'. If two people had got in we would have heard 'Just the two of us' or a similar song. This is a smart lift that senses the numbers and serenades you in suitable style. When you get out it sighs as if to say "missing you already". It is a clever, quirky introduction to a hip and innovative hotel.

It only officially opened recently  but already the new boutique offering, Design Hotels first in Sydney, looks set to give Justin Hemmes' Establishment Hotel and Ivy a run for their money with fashionistas and advertising media types already flocking to be seen within its stylish walls.

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QT Sydney  is a boutique hotel that remixes two of the city's most iconic 1920s buildings with a distinctly funky makeover. The hotel straddles the upper floors of the historic old Gowings department store and the heritage-listed gaudy and gorgeous Art Deco State Theatre. On the lower level of the Gowings building Sydney's first Top Shop will open in October (causing even more excitement among the city's bright young bargain-hunters).

Guests enter via the  the State Theatre. In the lobby on the first floor the building's theatrical past is much in evidence; stage lights casting a glow over the reception and heavy red velvet stage curtains lead guests into the building. The staff is theatrical too - it is no coincidence that their 'uniforms' are referred to as 'costumes' and they wear their flat caps and berets with flair.

Nic Graham and Shelley Indyk are the local design team behind the flamboyant  boutique hotel. They successfully mixed the old and the new with bright flashes of yellow, electric blue and magenta against a backdrop of dark walls. Costume dummies and a lobby 'Art wall' of recycled wood, theatre signs, old TV sets and even part of the original Gowings telephone exchange, also give the lobby its theatrical feel. A silver twin chaise longue designed by Graham has pride of place.

Digital artwork curated by the renowned Amanda Love means this hip hotel also has cutting edge art on display including LED dot work in the lifts from Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd.

The 200 guest rooms come in a variety of styles, so you won't get bored if you stay more than once. The rooms merge the modern with design pieces that reflect the buildings past; it is a clever and eclectic mix. The Luxury Travel Bible likes the fact that most are equipped with a signature oversized white bathtub and shower in an elegant grey stone space (no mincy little bathrooms here). We are even more fond of the fact that each room has a mirrored table with cocktail shaker and signature cocktail awaiting your arrival (to be consumed for a mere $24 - a bargain we say). Inside original timber floors and doors have been restored. Outside original stone cladding and facade detail has been kept. The theatres long-lost gargoyles have been reproduced and adorn the outside in Hunchback of Notre Dame Style.
 
 
The Luxury Travel Bible readers will love the State Suite, room 1022 where the original office of the legendary company chairman, Sir Norman Rydge, becomes the hotel's premier Suite, 'The State Suite'. Original Art Deco, wood-panelled walls frame the grand entrance to the lounge and bedroom. The Suite can be combined with the original company boardroom to create a 184m2 Penthouse. TLTB loves the quirky touches such as two bowler hat lights hanging over the desk and a white rabbit by the bed - Magritte meets Alice in Wonderland. The bathroom has a double marble vanity, contemporary slipper bath and dual shower all enveloped in those gun-powder grey stone walls.

The  spa has old apothecary bottles in a glass display case and chemist-shop prints. You can get a shave with Sweeney Todd-style razors at the original white-tiled Gowings barber shop next door. TLTB applauds the 'freshly picked' concept at spaQ; which means if you haven't made up your mind which indulgence you want you want - you simple book a period of time (say 1 hour) and choose your treatment on arrival.

Food-wise esteemed food director Robert Marchetti and QT Sydney executive chef Paul Easson (ex-Melbourne Rockpool) present a European brasserie-style menu in the blue-tiled Gowings Bar & Grill with plenty of seafood (note the variety of oysters) to suit the Sydneysiders palate.

Upstairs is the moody Gilt Lounge for late night cocktails. At street level Parlour Lane Roasters opens early as a coffee and breakfast spot, morphing into a wine bar at night. Its heritage-tiled floors are restored and original ornate shop display cabinets house theatrical costumes.

After all that food and drink we suggest you wander into the 'gentleman's bathroom' off the lobby (which ever sex you are). It is worth a sneak peak with original porcelain features and white marble stall dividers. No really it is.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday) sees the hotel's official opening party -the hottest invite in Sydney. TLTB tweeters will let you know how it all goes (if the champagne cocktails don't overwhelm them).
 
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Check in: Corner of George Street and Market Street,  Sydney CBD
Ultimate Luxury:  The Penthouse Suite, once a chairman's office
Most Indulgent Moment:  "freshly picked' choices at spaQ
Insider Secrets:  The cupboard in the State Suite was once the chairman's toilet
The Little Things:  So many clever touches, including a 'desire' menu so you can buy the thngs you like best in your room , even the coathangers
Junior Luxies:  This is a play ground for adults
Dress code:  Wear black so you don't clash with the furniture and digital installations
Perfect luggage: Minimal - travel light
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Link: www.qtsydney.com.au
 
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