A once gritty industrial hood, Surry Hills has been determinedly making its way into the Sydney spotlight over the past decade. With the arrival of Paramount House Hotel, it’s finally ready for its close-up. This new boutique opening, by Melbourne architects Breathe, sits proudly astride two newly connected buildings, its lobby set inside the former Australian HQ for Paramount Picture Studios. The first accommodation offering by the team behind such Surry Hills hot hangouts as Reuben Hills micro roastery and Paramount Coffee Project, the hotel will rank as a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.
Set on the upper floors of the functionalist Paramount House, the 29-room hotel comes with a lively lobby cafe where fresh farm produce can be picked up as part of The Locals Market initiative on Saturday mornings. Paramount Recreation Club’s fitness classes are held on the roof, and Poly — a new dining experience from the team behind feted Sydney restaurant Ester — opens this year. Most rooms have a terrace overlooking the leafy streets below, once a den of rag trade iniquity, now somewhere that designer rags are de rigueur for the denizens of Surry’s design shops and buzzing wine bars.
Eat: Chin Chin
Still riding the wave of energy from its opening at the end of 2017, be prepared for the inevitable queues, and explosive Thai flavours.
Watch: Golden Age Cinema and Bar
Head downstairs at Paramount House for an excellent range of films, plus live music in the cosy bar, and cocktails inspired by the programme of movies.
Do: Prince Alfred Park Pool
This 165ft outdoor pool is heated for those chilly winter mornings and has plenty of green space to lounge around post-swim.
Drink: Tokyo Bird
Tokyo Bird nods to Japanese bar culture and offers an impressive whisky collection — and seasonal cocktail list. Wolf some yakitori, wash it down with a sake, and watch the world go by.
New Sydney hotels
Mrs Banks: Staying here in Paddington is like taking a step back in time. The 1914 former bank has held on to its striking art deco-style facade and original brickwork.
Spicers Potts Point: This 20-room hotel in the inner-city suburb of Potts Point serves up complimentary cocktails and canapes each evening.
Sofitel Darling Harbour: When it opened late last year, it was the first new-build five-star hotel to open in almost 20 years. There’s an infinity pool with cracking views across the city skyline, too.
Published in the May 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)