Sydney’s famous Establishment complex is more than just hip bars and restaurants. A quirky boutique hotel is also part of the attraction.
Some of Sydney’s best eateries – including two-hatted restaurants Est. and Mr Wong – are part of the Merivale empire. But did you know the hospitality group is also behind one of the city’s best boutique hotels? Housed in an 1890s building partially destroyed by fire in 1996, Establishment Hotel is full of character and history, impressively juxtaposed with cutting-edge comforts. Think guestrooms with plush velvet sofas set against exposed-brick walls, or the hotel’s breakfast area where you can sit among original 19th-century columns and enjoy a modern continental buffet. But the best thing about the hotel is its location: smack bang in the middle of the CBD, with the city’s top attractions right at the doorstep. What’s not to like?
There are just 29 guestrooms and two penthouse suites. All are tastefully furnished with comfortable queen or king beds and spacious sitting areas – a pleasant break from compact (and often claustrophobic) CBD hotel rooms. Make the most of the complimentary wi-fi or enjoy a bath in the gleaming bathroom, complete with Le Labo products. And staying in a CBD hotel doesn’t mean you have to put up with noisy surroundings. We checked in to room No. 45 on a Saturday night and, we’re happy to confirm, enjoyed a thoroughly peaceful and uninterrupted sleep.
Whether you’re visiting Sydney for business or leisure, Establishment Hotel’s Bridge Lane address means you’re a short walk from wherever you need to be. Sydney Opera House, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Hyde Park and Pitt Street Mall are all close by. But the hotel’s central location has one pitfall: there’s no parking on site. So grab a cab or use the nearby Four Seasons Hotel Sydney car park at 199 George Street.
One of the best things about staying at Establishment Hotel is the breakfast. Enjoy it in Establishment Garden, under a glass ceiling (it’s a stunning setting on a clear day!), surrounded by columns that are part of the original building. When it’s time for something more substantial, make a beeline for one of Merivale’s excellent eateries in the same building. Have lunch at Sushi E (fourth floor), where chef Nobuyuki Ura dishes up beautifully fresh Japanese, and book a table at fine-dining restaurant Est. (first floor) for dinner – an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.
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On the second floor there’s a fitness room, which is open from 6.30am to 11pm. Guests receive complimentary access to the Ivy pool, just down the road at 330 George Street. There are also plenty of meeting and event spaces within the Establishment complex – just ask the front desk about them.
There isn’t one dedicated concierge. A small team manages the hotel, with everyone on the front desk happily recommending the best places in the vicinity, based on what you’re after.
The lobby is a beautifully designed den with velvet sofas, plush rugs, exposed wooden beams and mirrored walls. Oh, and the baths in the guestrooms are just as delightful. All are oversized and freestanding, giving an instant sense of bliss when you walk in.
Location: 5 Bridge Lane, Sydney
Style: Boutique, charming and quirky
Perfect for: Business travellers and city slickers
Number of rooms: 31 rooms and suites