QT Sydney, review: Art and character combine

THE LOCATION

Smack bang in the heart of Sydney's CBD, right above the State Theatre and joining that building with the Gowings building to cover the corner blocks of Market and George streets. 

THE SPACE

The arrival gives the game away, with red-wigged "Chaos Girls" and their male co-conspirators wrangling the traffic to get you out of your taxi and into the hotel. Up the lift to the lobby and straight to the heart of the art that builds the QT character, with a luggage wall by Swedish installation artist Michael Johansson​ making light of all your travels (and making you regret ever having disposed of your threadbare bags).

The redevelopment and connection of the two buildings is a remarkable nod to their era, with smart design in every detail – stencilled walls for the old shopping floors, hallway carpets stitched to look like tailor's cloths, sculptures, displays and digital art all around. 

Back in the lift (it has sensors, and if you're on your own, will serenade you with Are you lonesome tonight?) and we're heading to the 10th floor, the former executive and board level of QT's owners, Amalgamated Holdings. Two of the State Suites can be joined for maximum space and luxury, but they're so big, one will do us.

THE ROOM

When I hold the press briefing for the next movie in which I have the leading role (yes, I'm dreaming, but this place is a font for fantasy), this is where I'll hold it.

Once they get past my suite's lobby and into the lounge room, the pesky press will admire the restored original timber panelling, the two huge gargoyles on guard just out the window, the perfectly-cushioned couch and armchairs, the subtle lighting.

I'd keep them out of the bathroom, but it's so big, if my people had to corral them before their audience with me, they could park at least half a dozen of them there and they'd still have room to move. They'd be admiring the freestanding bath, the stroll-in shower, the timber bench behind the sinks. And hands off the hooded robes!

If one of them was so impertinent as to hop on the bed, they'd find it had some kind of magic gel in its mattress, making it as soft as a cloud but as supporting as my agent, with cunning little fold-away reading lights to study the next script. 

THE FOOD

There is Nespresso in your room for back-up, but Parlour Lane Roasters at street-level is the place for quality coffee and a casual bite from breakfast onwards. The triumph though, is Gowings Bar & Grill, a buzzing brasserie that is a winner in its design, food and service.

STEPPING OUT

Why would you? Sit back in the Member's Lounge and take in the passing parade, or ride the Sydney groove in the Gilt Lounge. On the mezzanine level you have a barber and all the beauty and massage therapy you need at spa-Q, as well as a steam room complete with ice fountain.

If you must leave the building, turn left and in less than a minute, you're at the Queen Victoria Building for some serious Sydney shopping. 

THE VERDICT

A triumph: QT Sydney is hip, humorous and deeply historic. It is proof that old buildings can come back to life with smart choices in art and architecture. With service at traditionally professional levels but with some quirky innovations, the whole thing sings.

HIGHLIGHT

The uncanny collaboration of art, architecture and character.

LOWLIGHT

Leaving the celebrity life behind.

ESSENTIALS

Rooms from $295 or $265 for QT members; State Suites from $1100/$990; 49 Market Street, Sydney, phone (02) 8262 0000, see qtsydney.com.au.

Jim Darby was a guest of QT Hotels

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