It’s official. I have a new favourite place in the CBD: the QT Sydney Hotel. Come to think of it, there aren’t many places I love in the city so that makes this even more exciting. The QT is my idea of the ultimate in design, atmosphere and comfort. I want to move in!
I was lucky enough to have a tour last week, but I’d already visited the bar and restaurant (Gowings) a couple of times. It’s like nowhere else I’ve ever been. I’ve stayed at a number of 4 and 5 star hotels and frankly, despite the quality and comfort, their cookie cutter beige-ness is always a bit predictable and disappointing. But this? This is something else!
The history and original features certainly help. QT, slap bang in the middle of the CBD and a stone’s throw from shopper’s paradise Westfield (and even closer to Topshop), melds together two of Sydney’s most prominent buildings: the State Theatre and the old Gowings department store. The amount of care and skill that has gone into weaving together these two buildings and preserving their historic features (some because they had to and some because they wanted to) is impressive. And this adds a whole extra layer of uniqueness that you simply couldn’t design.
Almost all the furniture is bespoke (QT Collection) but many of the decorator pieces have been brought in from around the world and even local op shops. There’s not a hint of beige, rather Yves Klein blue, magenta and citron. It’s dark in a good, cosy, dramatic way. Much of the art, curated by Amanda Love, is digital (some with its own soundtrack).
The rooms are all very different, in fact there are 12 different room styles. Those in the State Theatre side have bowler hat lamps and exclusively designed rugs and carpets. In the Gowings side, there’s a more bright and airy feel. There are dark stone bathrooms (three different styles of bath available, VERY exciting for a bath connoisseur like myself) with exclusive Uspa toiletries and super soft imported bath robes. They’re nothing like your average hotel room. Beds are often not pushed back against walls, for example, and they have so much personality you must surely be in a very stylish friend’s guest room? The Nespresso machines and ingredients for espresso martinis, iPod docking stations and free wi-fi (more hotels could learn from this) all add to the experience.
And it’s the little things that make an impact at QT. When you get in the lift, it senses how many people and adjusts the music playing accordingly, from All By Myself to Just the Two Us, for example. Love it. Then there’s the iPhone app which links guest to their own personal concierge service from the moment they book, allowing them to plan their perfect trip in advance.
But if you can’t afford to stay here (rooms start from $380 for non-members) or you live in Sydney and don’t really have an excuse to, there’s still plenty to be enjoyed as a non-resident. Gowings Bar & Grill does a mean steak. It would also be a great central spot for breakfast or coffee. And the cocktails are pretty special. I can vouch for the surprisingly excellent Ghost of Mary (jalapeno and bacon infused Eristoff Vodka, celery bitters, bacon salt and pickled veg). Upstairs is another, altogether more cosy and inviting bar called the Gilt Lounge, which is open until 2am. For something a little more casual, there’s also Parlour Lane Roasters on the ground floor, a cafe come day and a bustling aperitivo bar from late afternoon into the evening. There really is something for everyone.
The staff are uber cool and very obliging. They either look like hipsters or rockstars. Most of the women wear lipstick and most of the man wear tattoos. As a perpetual lippie-wearer, I LOVE that. I couldn’t work here, that’s for sure. I’m so not cool enough!
Then there’s the amazing SpaQ. Again, nothing cookie cutter about this hotel spa. Instead of deciding on your treatment when making a booking, you simply lock in the time and date and then customise your treatment when you arrive. Lovely. And there’s a Hammam-inspired steam room and ice fountain , relaxation lounge and more. For the boys there’s the much-talked-about barber shop where you can get an old school cut throat shave or a beard trim (prices start from $45).
QT is the design lover’s DREAM HOTEL. I fear it has ruined all future hotels for me because they’re just not going to match up. The good news is, you can take a piece of it home with you thanks to Qtique. Described as “a carefully curated collection that showcases hand-sourced pieces that will become talking points for designer homes and designer clad bodies,” it offers the opportunity to buy the kind of things you’d have in your home if it looked anything like QT Sydney, which it never will, because quite frankly, this place is beyond your wildest dreams, and that’s the best bit. You can recreate your average, beige, 4.5-star hotel room in your own home. It’s standard, easy on the eye, non-offensive guest room stuff. But THIS? You have no chance. So I suggest you find a reason to go along and treat yourself and soon!
QT Sydney, Market Street, Sydney 2000.