If the shoebox fits ...

You've gotta love a hotel where they actually call their rooms shoeboxes. It's an appropriate descriptor for the smallest category at the newly opened 1888 in Pyrmont, the latest property from 8Hotels. However, tricky spaces are what you get when you transform a wool store-cum-office building dating from 1888 (hence the name) into a boutique hotel, and architects Shed with interior designer Cressida Kennedy have solved the dilemma brilliantly.

It's an original addition to Sydney's hotelscape where, over recent years at least, big has not always proven to be best. Not all the guestrooms are small, we hasten to add. There are five categories, including two-storey lofts, plus two unique suites, all decorated in a soothing monochromatic palette that highlights the bones of the original building - massive wooden beams and exposed brick walls - with splashes of vibrant colour in the form of a Tom Dixon designer chair. Soaring three-metre-high ceilings are a feature throughout, as are the original sash windows, now double-glazed, that let in plenty of light. Built-in workstations are fashioned from timber reclaimed from the site, and an eclectic art collection has been curated by Melbourne artist Piers Greville.

The pick of the rooms are the king deluxe overlooking Murray Street (some rooms overlook the internal atrium). Of the suites, The Attic boasts a private roof terrace with views across Darling Harbour to the city, while The Williamson has its own private entrance.

"Shoebox"from $139, queen from $159, king deluxe from $239; 1888hotel.com.au.