© make / Photography: Tim Kaye

When thinking of Sydney, it’s unlikely that ‘Old World Elegance’ is one of first the connotations that come to mind. Well, that’s about to change. The newly opened Capella Sydney has added an enticing new flavour to the upper echelon of the city’s hospitality scene, and it’s one that meticulously intertwines architectural history with contemporary elements. The five-star hotel occupies a heritage-listed building which dates back to 1912 and was constructed in two halves approximately 15 years apart—the northern half for the state of New South Wales‘ very own Department of Education, and the southern half for its Department of Agriculture. Designed by architects George McRae and John Reid & Son, the sandstone Edwardian Baroque structure has been restored and remodelled by architecture practice make, and features a sophisticated interior design by BAR Studio, a practice based in Melbourne and Madrid.

Although all of the 192 guest rooms are exquisitely appointed, the so-called Skyline Rooms are undoubtedly the property’s ultimate in luxury hospitality. A true oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, the rooms measure on average 50 sqm. (538 sq.ft.), and the design is inspired by the neighbourhood’s architecture. Both the setting and the beautifully crafted custom furnishings come in a palette of warm earth tones. Needless to say, the rooms come with all the hi-tech requirements of today’s modern traveller, and the large windows and sweeping views of the city are a true bonus. McRae’s original design intent has been restored wherever possible, including the reinstatement of its internal garden courtyard, now home to the Aperture lounge, on the ground floor. The surrounding spaces have been imaginatively repurposed for new uses, such as a variety of restaurants and bars and meeting and function rooms. Brasserie 1930 offers an elevated dining experience in consultation with the Bentley group.

Oozing grandeur, underscored by the hotel’s landmark architecture, the ground-floor restaurant features a menu of modern brasserie classics and an extensive wine list. Highlighting small-batch farmers and growers, the menu celebrates the best in Australian produce, with cooking methods drawing upon age-old techniques such as curing, smoking, fermenting, preserving and pickling. The aforementioned Aperture lounge is where breakfast and afternoon tea is served in a peaceful setting beneath the mesmerising bespoke kinetic Meadow sculpture by Amsterdam-based Studio Drift, an expansive glass ceiling and the verdant canopy of two weeping figs. Also to be found on the ground floor is the McRae Bar, arguably the city’s most stylish watering hole, where the glorious cocktail culture of bygone eras has been revived. Keeping the good life in balance is a breeze at Capella Sydney, thanks to the full-fledged wellness centre which comprises a fitness centre, spa and swimming pool.

Capella Sydney
24 Loftus Street (Town Hall)
Sydney, NSW 2000
Telephone: +61 2 9071500o

© make and BAR Studio / Photography: Tim Kaye, Judy Watson and Capella Sydney