There’s a certain grandeur that comes with staying in a heritage rich hotel. Tales as old as time have given way to fantasies of splendid balls, decadent meals and glamorous romances – as well as films such as Pretty Woman and Sofia Copolla’s Somewhere painting images of elegance and charm, leaving us desperately attempting to emulate. Such style isn’t so hard to mimic when placed in the lobby of InterContinental Sydney Hotel, which transports you to a world steeped in rich history and exciting energy.
Celebrating its 170th year, InterContinental Sydney legacy is that of luxurious allure. Set within the beautifully restored Treasury Building of 1851, the iconic hotel continues this legacy with its rich 19th-century architecture. With a kaleidoscope of harbour lights, the luxurious suites boast sweeping views of Sydney’s grand landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s not hard to imagine the likes of Jay Gatsby enjoying a shaken martini while soaking in the views from his Grand Baby Piano.
“Stepping into InterContinental Sydney is an exciting experience, a collision of historical grandeur and contemporary style at once,” says Andy Goonesekera, Director of Engineering at InterContinental Sydney. “The Treasury Building – which InterContinental Sydney is built within – played an important role in Sydney’s past, and guests can see with very eyes the unique changes that took place within the buildings 170-year history.”
“For our guests, who we welcome from both Sydney and beyond, engaging in culture and history is a large reason for why they visit the city. By respecting and retaining as much of the original building as possible, we are able to immerse them within living history and tell unique and perhaps untold stories of the city.”
The hotel possesses the oldest heritage lift in the Southern Hemisphere from the 1800s – which is still in operation – and sits in the middle of the hotel’s grand Cortile lounge. The rich feature only adds to the hotel’s already impressive architecture.
Goonesekera adds, “The hotel is rich with history, with little glimmers of its past everywhere you look. The Treasury Building is a heritage site that has been carefully maintained, meaning many of the original features are still intact. The hotel actually still holds Australia’s first vault – which remains untouched, and the oldest operating lift in the southern hemisphere – which we invite our guests to enjoy at their leisure and take a step back in time!
“Before the hotel building was added in the 1980s, the central lobby area was an open courtyard and in the nineteenth century was full of passageways, used for horses and carts. Much earlier than this, the centre of the courtyard was the home of the nation’s first grape harvest for wine production. The location was selected as it was directly across from Governor Arthur Phillip’s house; meaning that he could easily watch the progress of his crop. In keeping with this rich history, our beautiful sun-lit central lobby lounge and bar where High Tea is served, has been enclosed with a glass roof and is aptly named ‘The Cortile’ – Italian for ‘the courtyard’.”
The hotel’s rooms also standby its reputation for rich history. Rooms, while remaining practical, are host to spectacular views, grand furnishings and details. Take the Presidential Opera Suite for instance, which beyond its velvet seats and impeccable art, sees the Sydney Opera House sails sit directly below. While the Royal Opera Suite has a grand piano looking out towards Sydney’s sparkling harbour.
InterContinental Sydney also steeps itself with some of Australia’s oldest traditions, such as the ballet. The hotel launched its newest experience, Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker, in conjunction with The Australian Ballet. French-trained Head of Pastry, Eric Menard, was inspired by Clara’s Christmas Eve adventures in the creation of his sweet collection of treats which are served on beautiful three-tiered stands in the hotel’s sun-lit heritage dining precinct.
The experience is truly indulgent, inspired by The Land of Sweets, including a lemon meringue macaron with delicate ballet-themed design, a guava raspberry tartlet with Nutcracker pink pashmak and a vanilla bean cupcake topped with ruby chocolate ballerina shoes.
So, if you’re looking to take a trip back in time – look no further than the place that has been delivering an indulgent fantasy on our shores for 170 years.