As the saying goes, everything old is new again, and that certainly is the case for the former industrial suburb of Chippendale, on the southern edge of Sydney’s CBD. It is emerging from its grungy, unfashionable past to become an ultra-trendy, desirable lifestyle destination, with its very own Spice Alley, home to the Kopi-Tiam, four hawker-style diners strewn with lanterns; art galleries; fashion design studios; markets and a heritage hotel which has been created from a pub and brewery HQ.
The Old Clare Hotel is a much-needed addition to Sydney’s hotel scene. Big on five-star, chain establishments, Sydney has always been a bit light on the luxury, heritage, boutique style of accommodation – but thankfully there is a newcomer to help tip the balance. The Old Clare features the original facade and many internal aspects of The Clare Hotel Pub, now converted into the new hotel’s lobby and local drinking hole, and the Carlton and United Breweries administration building.
Boasting only 62 rooms, many retaining heritage features such as exposed brick walls, curved glass windows, parquetry floors and timber panelling, the hotel combines a sense of luxury with an edge of masculinity. There are a variety of room styles, and for those in a romantic frame of mind, you can choose a glass-encased bathroom or a luxurious tub, enticingly located alongside the goosedown-festooned bed. If you are staying for business or looking to entertain clients or friends, then the C.U.B suite, complete with library and 8-seater meeting and dining table, or the Showroom Suite, with an original bar, salvaged from the former brewery, might be your pied-a-terre of choice. There is also a meeting space, catering for up to 16 people around the original C.U.B boardroom table.
An entertainment precinct in its own right, the hotel also boasts three restaurants – the casual and buzzing Kensington St Social, focused on Mediterranean share plates; Automata, recently awarded in the AFR Top 10 Restaurants in Australia; and the degustation-style Silvereye, from former sous chef at Copenhagen’s Noma, Sam Miller. There is also a rooftop pool and bar and well-equipped gym.
Whilst you may feel tempted to hang out in the uber-cool hotel surroundings, it is worth venturing further afield to soak up the Chippendale vibe. A favourite brunch/lunch spot is the nearby Brickfields Bakery, or if markets are your thing, then the Brewery Yard Markets are held on the first and third Sunday of the month. For the design-conscious, Tiny Taylor Gallery is an eclectic mix of Australian artisan products, and Cult offers a collection of edgy international and Australian-made furniture.
If you are a keen walker, then The Old Clare is accessible to the CBD on foot, or the nearby Central Station will take you there in a matter of minutes.
For a unique heritage experience, in trendy surroundings, and within easy reach of Sydney’s attractions, The Old Clare is a worthy choice, and gives you an excuse to explore this eclectic city, away from its mesmerising and tourist-laden harbour.
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