The Luxury Travel Bible has long been a fan of visionary hotelier Loh Lik Peng so we’re excited about the opening of his latest hotel in Sydney’s Chippendale. The area is Sydney’s new cool contender, with rapid gentrification creating many new shops, bars, restaurants so naturally it is on Loh Lik Peng’s creative radar. The hotel is situated in the hip heart of the area on the re-developed Kensington Street precinct, and is the first Australian hotel from Peng’s Unlisted Collection.
For his latest project Peng collaborated with local architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer to transform the iconic old Clare Hotel pub and the next door Carlton United Breweries buildings into the hippest of new boutique hotels. The Sydney-based architecture firm understands the history of the area; its bohemian past (think indie rock, crims artists and intellectuals) and its trendy future (Chippendale cool).
The result is a Hotel showcases the existing beauty of the original buildings - exposed brick, bare concrete, and old timber panelling - with vintage furniture, bespoke furnishings and 21st century technology. Large, original windows bathe interiors in light, spotlighting a colour scheme of greys, whites and warm wood tones. While the two buildings are linked by a glass walkway.
The 62 rooms are a mix of handcrafted items and industrial chic; for example there are 62 custom made desk lamps fashioned from old machinery by designer Paul Firbank. There are seven different suite styles ranging from what the hotel calls ‘stylish and cosy’ to ‘opulent and showy’. TLTB readers will especial like the vast C.U.B. Suite located in the former Carlton & United Breweries boardroom which still features its original timber panelling, parquetry floors and the restored executive men's washroom. While the Mary O' Suite - named after Chippendale character, Mary O'Shea, also known as Pig Mary (don’ t ask) - has a library, a separate entertaining and dining area for up to eight guests and wet bar. Sydney Summer is coming so we predict the rooftop bar and pool is going to be this seasons City hotspot.
Although the hotel’s three restaurants might give the rooftop bar a run for its money in the ’hot’ stakes. The trifecta of eateries includes Automata from Clayton Wells (formerly of Momofuku Seiobo), Silvereye from Sam Miller, the former sous chef of Noma in Copenhagen and, opening soon, Kensington Street Social the jewel in the crown from Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton (The Brit chef’s first Aussie venture).It’s always the little things that count so The Old Clare Hotel also gets brownie points for a signature scent from Maison Balzac and in-room amenities by New Zealand brand Triumph & Disaster. We also like the hotel bikes available for cycling around the area.
Luxury Hotels Link: www.designhotels.com, www.theoldclarehotel.com.au
What next for Sydney?
Singapore's Pontiac Land Group has won the right to develop the two heritage sandstone buildings in Sydney's Bridge Street into a $300 million, 240-room luxury hotel. Watch this space.
Hilary Doling 21/9/15