Over the past two decades, Potts Point and Kings Cross have seen a hotel to residential revolution, with many of the area’s old hotels being converted into luxury apartments as the neighbourhood has become increasingly residential.
Now, the area’s boutique hotel scene is enjoying a renaissance, with some existing hotels getting upgrades and a number of exciting development applications in the works.
More boutique hotels to join old favourites
And who better to ask about this growth in boutique hotels than Keith Wherry, owner of Simpsons Hotel, a popular luxury boutique hotel on Challis Avenue.
“Potts Point is a unique suburb – really the first suburb in Australia,” says Keith Wherry. “It combines the interesting history of two centuries, from the original Georgian mansions of the wealthiest early settlers and colonial bureaucrats, through the seediest times of the Kings Cross nightclubs of the 1960-1970s, to its current renaissance into one of Sydney’s most sought after neighbourhoods”.
“Simpsons Hotel opened in the late 1980s and was soon followed by others, such as Victoria and Albert, now re-incarnated as the very smart Spicers Potts Point, the Manor House, and the renovated Hotel Challis. A number of others are on the drawing board, including the proposed Astoria Hotel renovation.”
Several new development applications
Once infamous as the drug and crime-infested hotel that starred in Underbelly, the Astoria, on the corner of Darlinghurst Road and Macleay Street, has been refreshed and rebranded and is currently operating as a pop-up affordable hotel, Astoria Space. However, its next life looks likely to be as a high-end luxury boutique hotel, with a pre-Development Application (DA) having recently been lodged to transform it into a modern five-level luxury hotel that will retain its heritage features.
A DA has also been lodged to transform the nearby former Commonwealth Bank, also on Darlinghurst Road, into a $7.5 million dollar 38-room hotel with four additional levels. Meanwhile, yet another DA hopes to transform the Holiday Lodge Hotel on Macleay Street into a 15-room luxury boutique hotel with a licensed restaurant.
Another noteworthy recent development in the local industry is III Rooms, inspired by the iconic 3 Rooms Hotel in Paris. As the name suggests, it comprises three stunningly designed serviced apartments. Property investor and Potts Point local Tony Benjamin jumped at the opportunity to buy the iconic Merivale building on the corner of Macleay Street and Challis Avenue out of sheer love for the building, before deciding it was the perfect venue for a new boutique hotel.
Calm amidst cosmopolitan city life
Together, these new offerings will add to the other excellent boutique hotels already operating in the area, creating a hub of luxury retreat accommodation for those seeking something unique, with more character, charm and personalised attention than the major hotel chains can offer, in one of Sydney’s greatest neighbourhoods.
“We find that guests enjoy the elegance of Simpsons, a little oasis of peace and quiet amongst the hurly-burly of what has clearly become the restaurant headquarters of Sydney. As the years have gone by, we have seen an increasing demand for accommodation that offers a more intimate and relaxed respite that you cannot find in the standard chain hotels in the CBD,” says Keith Wherry.
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