How best to describe Sydney’s 1888 hotel – let’s dismiss the clichés first: quirky, funky, and edgy. How radically different can a city hotel really be in 2014? Think of 1888 as a lighter, brighter Aussie version of Mama Shelter Paris and you get the picture.
1888 is chic and faithful to the heritage of this historic former wool store built in 1888. The $30 million re-development took 2 years with multiple considerations and compromises to the historical importance of the wool store. To preserve the architectural integrity of the building double-glazing of windows wasn’t an option for some rooms.
Designed by Shed Architects and Space Control Design the boutique hotel, has married many elements of the original building with salvaged items and slick contemporary furniture and lighting. 3m ceilings, ironbark beams and exposed brick all add to the striking interiors.
The lobby incorporates the front desk, sitting areas and café in a seven metre high internal atrium, with a living tree, polished concrete floor and glass elevators. A mix of mid-century purple and electric blue chairs and over-sized tan chesterfields fill the space.
The 5-storey hotel has 90 guestrooms with magnificent walk-in rain showers, smart TVs and of course in-room iPads, complimentary Wi-Fi (yay) and wonderful Queen or King-size beds with Micro Cloud bed toppers. Rooms range from the moderately priced – the apropos ‘Shoebox’ to King Deluxe rooms Lofts and Junior suites.
Then there are the Attic and The Williamson suites with lots of extra features including kitchenettes with full sized fridges. The Attic suite boasts a 17m2 deck and the Williamson could be best described as ‘Party Central’. These suites include Continental breakfast, free Mini bar, parking and late checkout.
Without the 1888 Eatery and Bar, there wouldn’t be a lot of dining options in the immediate area. But, that’s a good thing – away from the tourist hubbub and only a whistle away from a taxi. It’s about 5 minutes on foot to the closest pub or Darling Harbour and about 7 minutes to the Star. There’s lots of options for Breakfast at 1888 Eatery, from muffins or toast to buffet or big for vegetarians or carnivores. The Scrambled eggs are fabulous. Evening cocktails or wine with nibbles to share or burgers, steak or pasta all look good.
1888 opened with a splash, garnering lots of local and international press as the world’s first Instagram hotel. You can pap a framed selfie courtesy of the suspended faux gilt number in the lobby. This hotel’s a winner for all the reasons above but it’s the staff, that go over and above the call of duty that impresses. The price might get you in, but style, and comfort will keep you coming back. http://www.8hotels.com/#!1888-hotel/