This new boutique hotel in Chippendale, Sydney, offers luxury with a difference. Full to the brim with quirky architectural and interior details, its authenticity and originality is testament to Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects and Unlisted Collection.
It was when Loh Lik Peng – the founder of Unlisted Collection – fell for a remarkable heritage site in Chippendale’s Kensington Street precinct that the wheels were set in motion for this distinctive project.
Under the expertise of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, two iconic heritage-listed buildings – the former Clare Hotel Pub, and the then derelict Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building – were artfully adjoined with a glass link-way to create the structure for the hotel as it is today, four years on.
Renowned for blurring the lines of art and architecture, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects have worked on several other adaptive re-use projects, among them the nearby Carriageworks Arts centre, which was formerly a collection of maintenance sheds for trains. This particular project, then, appealed to the practice for its unique narrative and abundant character.
“It’s a hotel stitched together from three structures, two old and one new” says Tim Greer, practice director. “It’s unpredictable, with a bit of magic and a twist of fantasy. When you walk around the hotel, you will get a sense that the building is dressing and undressing itself all at once.
“The building plays games with what a hotel should be, some parts are exquisite and other parts are raw. In short a building of mixed emotions. The Old Clare Hotel will appeal to anybody with a sense of adventure, who likes comfort and fabulous food.”
The hotel’s reception leads off to a spectacular bar and lounge space, located within what was formerly the Clare Hotel Pub. Perhaps the hotel’s most unique public space, however, is the rooftop of the former CUB Administration Building, which has been redeveloped so that guests can swim, relax and eat and drink while enjoying striking panoramic views of the neighbourhood.
In terms of it’s F&B offering, the hotel’s three independent restaurants take guests on disparate culinary journeys. Chef Jason Atherton’s first Australian venue, Kensington Street Social, is a one-hundred-seat venue offering all-day dining, while Clayton Wells’ first restaurant, Automata, seats sixty guests and serves a constantly changing five-course menu. Finally, Sam Miller’s first solo restaurant, Silverye, offers Northern European cuisine on the second floor.
The hotel’s 62 rooms and seven individually-designed suites boast soaring ceilings, large original framed windows, heritage timber panelling and original exposed walls.
Of particular note is the heritage C.U.B. Suite, complete with spacious sleeping quarters, a meeting, living and dining space with an eight-seater table, and an anteroom with a library.
Elsewhere, the Mary O’Suite – so called after the Chippendale character, Mary O’Shea – offers an entertaining and dining area for up to eight guests, a wet bar, and sleeping quarters that overlook Kensington Street.
Within the accommodation, intricate, quirky furnishings and fixtures have been selected to add real character to each space. These include .PSLAB pendant lights, vintage furniture pieces, and even custom-made tote bags and cushions inspired by Australian fauna, and created by Eloise Rapp.
Paul Firbank, a.k.a. The Rag and Bone, has created 62 custom-made desk lamps, fashioned from transformed vintage machinery, while amenities from New Zealand brand, Triumph & Disaster, and a bespoke scent from Maison Balzac, add to the exquisite attention to detail within the accomodation, and indeed throughout the hotel.