If it’s old-world charm combined with the luxury of top-class Sydney accommodation you’re after, Merivale’s Establishment Hotel ticks some serious boxes. And if it’s location you want, you can’t get much closer to the action than this in Sydney.
If travelling through time were possible, I’m pretty sure it’d feel just like walking up the laneway approach to Establishment Hotel’s reception.
Bridge Lane is part of a network of narrow streets reminiscent of old London town, overlooked by tall walls of old red brick and blocked-in archways. All that’s missing is a horse and cart and a shoeshine, and you’d be back in Victorian England.
Once a warehouse and department store – and also home to The Bulletin publishing house – this 1895 restoration sings of the history in its walls.
Each of the hotel’s 31 rooms, including the 2 penthouse suites, has been beautifully designed to let you feel the history of the building yet still provide the high-end quality of a modern, award-winning boutique hotel.
We were impressed with the fact that in spite of its age (the hotel was opened in 2000) there are very few signs of it having dated much.
Helped by the simplicity of sparing décor, things like the inclusion of an iPad instead of a directory, music docking stations and a good TV have kept the rooms up to date.
Mind you the bathroom – although still inline with the hotel’s renowned opulence – did feel a little tired. And the lack of a separate shower cubicle was a bit disappointing.
Apart from that, this hotel is definitely a place you’ll remember staying in. The chic furnishings, the loft-style windows with views out into the city and the extraordinarily comfortable bed all work together to create memories and take you to that perfect point of relaxation.
As befits its petite grandeur, this hotel still has a hatful of facilities. There’s a full gym, an up-to-date complimentary DVD library at reception and the breakfast bar downstairs doubles up as the Gin Garden cocktail lounge at night.
Further back from the Gin Garden is Establishment Bar, a hotspot for local nightlife – though we preferred the bar at Mr Wong, or Palmer & Co round the corner or even one of the many pubs in The Rocks.
Mrs Romance and I stayed here recently to celebrate our wedding anniversary and loved it.
We made sure we had time for lunch here, which turned out to be a great idea. The room service options at Establishment are excellent. My burger should probably go somewhere in our top ten burger list, and Mrs R’s salad was as delicious as it was epic.
For dinner we decided to stay close by the hotel and popped next door to Mr Wong, a superb Cantonese restaurant and part of the Merivale Group. Ordinarily, groups under 6 can’t make bookings here, but because we were staying at Establishment, concierge was able to reserve a table for us.
We were also able to just room-charge the dinner bill. I love a room charge!
After dinner, we decided to walk off a couple of dumplings and took a stroll down to the harbour.
If it’s romance you want, you can’t really beat views of the Harbour Bridge at night followed by a 2-minute stroll back to your luxury hotel room in the hottest part of the city!
Perfect for a night away for a staycation or your first night in Sydney, check out Establishment’s website for deals.
Check in: 2pm earliest. Check out: 11am.
5 Bridge Lane
T: 2 9240 3100
How did you celebrate your last anniversary? Where would you recommend as a first night’s accommodation in your hometown? Do you have a favourite boutique hotel? Tell us in the comments!