Residents have long bemoaned the absence of real upscale boutique hotels in the city and this season their prayers are answered by not one but two original new places to stay and party.
First up is Hotel Palisade, a crafty revamp of a pub, bought by businessman Richard Sapsford for $17m, to protect the heritage architecture of the building. It has been incredibly popular since opening in August and, upstairs, nine bedrooms and a cocktail lounge with harbor views have just opened. It is part of a wave of fancy pub renovations across the city, a trend partly fueled by entrepreneur Justin Hemmes who has demonstrated an appetite among big spenders for laid-back glamour in the form of hotspots The Beresford and Establishment.
For something a little more rarified, The Old Clare (pictured), which opened in August, is a sensitive restoration of an old brewery in Chippendale. Its 63 rooms and suites have original timber paneling and exposed brick walls and the sorts of comforts that has made managing group Unlisted (Town Hall Hotel, London; Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai) a favorite with travelers who like their hotels understated, but exclusive. As well as a creative cultural program and private gym or yoga sessions, the Old Clare will also have three restaurants, including Michelin-star chef Jason Atherton’s first Australian venue.