In 1929, the State Theatre opened to much fanfare in the centre of Sydney. Built by the AHL group of companies it combined Gothic, Italian and Art Deco elements to create one of the most ornate picture palaces in the world.
And just the next year, the building also became the site of one of Australia’s first multi-story shopping arcades. Right next door in a prime location on the busiest street corner in Australia, the Gowings department store was one of Sydney’s most successful major retailers.
Fast-forward to 2012, and AHL Holdings still owners of the State theatre purchased Gowings and after a multi-million dollar 17 month restoration integrated the distinct heritage of both buildings to create designer hotel QT Sydney.
The architects, designers and artists have skilfully managed to honour history combining the opulence and grandeur of the State whilst restoring Gowing’s gargoyles and detailed façade.
With a clever use of bold colours, the dynamic public spaces are both appropriately hip and comfortable. Many of Gowings original glass cabinets have been repurposed in public areas, rooms and suites. In the lobby, Michael Johansson’s artwork combines vintage luggage, heritage and ‘found’ objects including metal filing cabinets.
Rooms are delightfully contradictory with a mix of contemporary, traditional and one of a kind pieces. No two rooms are alike. The Gowings rooms retain the original narrow honey coloured floorboards whilst those on the State side boast designer carpeting and rugs.
The King Deluxe rooms are luxurious and lush enough to cocoon you to a restful sleep in your QTGEL bed despite being in the centre of the city. The dark stone bathrooms house deep contemporary baths, separate large walk-in showers and soft black robes. Some rooms have a touch of Magritte whimsy with bowler hat pendant lights.
The mini-bar supplies everything for a good night-in and best of all, QT Sydney offers dozens of free recently released movies on demand. The mini-bar stretches to include emergency bowties, jacks and crazy urban myths. Rooms are equipped with Nespresso machines, glamour mags and in case you need an espresso martini you have all the ingredients, shaker and glasses on a purpose built table.
SpaQ features 6 treatment rooms and for those who dare, expertly delivered cutthroat shaves in the original Gowings barber shop. This is a spa that gently hums along with more than a hint of testosterone with dark tones and heritage tiles.
And when it comes to eating and drinking the QT Sydney’s got options for any time of day and appetite. Starting from the ground up Parlour Lane Roasters is right next door to the deco entrance of QT Sydney. From early morning heart-starting espresso and eggs to early evening cocktails with salumi and everything in between they’ve got you covered.
Waiting for that special someone? The Gilt Lounge off the Lobby serves designer cocktails and bar snacks until 2am. Renowned restaurateur Robert Marchetti has turned the concept of hotel restaurant on its head, with the Gowings Bar and Grill. This is a restaurant that walks the tightrope between bistro and fine diner and doesn’t teeter.
QT Sydney is smack in the middle of Sydney’s very best shopping; Topshop actually shares the Gowings building, the luxury precinct is just a few minutes away with Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Prada and Bottega Veneta all just moments away.
Surprisingly, although the novelty factor is amped up to 11, QT Sydney maintains a level of friendly service that is not always seen in other ‘designer’ hotels. It is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, girls or boys weekend or military grade shopping odyssey. The architects and designers have successfully married tradition and evolution to create a space that is both comfortable and provocative. And if you need to know a little more there’s even an app for that! http://www.qtsydney.com.au/qt-concierge/