Sydney’s newest CBD hotel – QT – has just opened its doors on the landmark site encompassing the historic State Theatre and much-loved Gowings building, on the corner of Market and George Streets. Outwardly the two buildings remain distinct, with the Market Street level offering the public a taste of QT hospitality with restaurants, cafés and bars leading into the hotel above.
Parlour Lane Roasters opens early as a coffee and breakfast spot, later switching to aperitivo wine bar. Its heritage-tiled floors are restored and original ornate shop display cabinets reinstated to house artefacts from the site alongside covetable design objects. Upstairs is the Gowings Bar & Grill where food director Robert Marchetti and QT Sydney executive chef Paul Easson (ex Melbourne Rockpool) present a European brasserie menu with a seafood accent for the Sydney palate. Upstairs again is the Gilt Lounge for a quiet after-dinner drink or cocktail till late.
Public areas and their styling are the work of architect Nic Graham’s team, while the hotel’s 200 guest rooms were done by Shelley Indyk (Indyk Architects). In deference to the vintage of these stunning buildings, the two design teams have gone for old-world allure with an eclectic edge, incorporating both conserved artefacts and newly commissioned art. Curator of the public area artwork Amanda Love brings together Adelaide artist and maker Richard Blackwell and Sydney sculptor Morgan Shimeld, whose work will feature in the guest rooms.
A lot of restoration and interpretive design work has gone into merging these two significant buildings. Heritage consultant Jonathan Bryant from Graham Brooks and Associates worked closely with the project architects Woodhead, and interiors consultants Indyk Architects and Nic Graham + Associates. Bryant describes the resulting pastiche as “spectacular.” A lot will be written about this project in the coming months, both from the perspective of interior design and heritage restoration.