Restored rare white marble, Parisian-style balconies, a magnificent gin bar and an open rooftop retreat are just some of the stunning design features of Sydney’s newest luxury address, InterContinental Sydney Double Bay.
Opening in November 2014, the former Ritz Carlton has been transformed into a bayside sanctuary, with Royal Hotels Australia partnering with renowned Australian firm Bates Smart Architects to direct the design of the new hotel.
In the tradition of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts around the world, the new hotel offers its own distinctive style, combining rich legacy and beautifully-reinstated features of the original building, with a smart, contemporary design to create a sense of understated luxury.
The overall design combines a neutral palette, metallic finishings and splashes of pale blue and yellow tones.
The pièce de résistance of the transformation is the rooftop pool and lounge with a spectacular panoramic vista of the bay. Limestone split rock walls housing inlaid artefacts and curios, striped day beds and oversized Turkish pots lend a Mediterranean air to the space, complete with infinity pool and lounge area, framed by private cabanas.
For a truly unforgettable experience, guests can reserve one of Sydney’s most exclusive residences, the Royal Suite, with multiple private balconies overlooking the sparkling waters of the bay, a dining room, entertaining lounge, study, walk-in wardrobe and marble ensuite. Unique to the suite, a monochromatic colour palette, brass fixtures and parquetry flooring defines its appearance.
Another unique feature is the French provincial-style courtyard – a hidden oasis on level two, adjoining the Club InterContinental lounge. The exclusive rest space for Club guests only, the indoor lounge with gold upholstery and moodier dark colourings opens out to a fragrant, enclosed garden.
Celebrating the intriguing and versatile nature of gin is the bar, with an interior hailing the hotel’s bayside location, with sail-shaped custom lighting, pale blue walls and dark timber finish. The marble-inlaid bar with pale blue leather cladding features a back wall of rare bottles of the spirit. With a cocktail in hand, guests can sit by the original arched windows overlooking Double Bay village or on chairs and leather sofas dotted throughout the generous and sophisticated space.
The ocean blues of the bar transitions into mossy greens, creams and cadmium yellow of the restaurant. The dining space, hand-laid mosaic-tiled breakfast buffet area and chef’s table adjoin to the room’s leather banquets and oval tables.
Drawing up to the hotel along the cobbled driveway, guests are welcomed through the original porte-cochère and arched timber doors of the majestic building. Past the porter’s desk, the grand staircase opens up to the hotel’s first floor, where timber panelling, inlaid stone flooring, an original marble reception and the tinkling of the original grand piano lend familiarity to the light and lively lobby. A relaxed atmosphere is created by the pale charcoal and white palette that is enhanced by the open fireplace.
The restored iconic pillarless Grand Ballroom is also on the first floor alongside six flexible function rooms, with use of Sydney’s only fully separate kosher kitchen. The 495-capacity (cocktail-style) ballroom carries the rich white, charcoal and brass scheme with enormous, gold-tinted chandeliers.
Across three floors are the retreat’s 140 guest rooms including 14 suites. The original floor-to-ceiling arched windows create an airy abode flooded with natural light. Soft blue, white and charcoal furnishings including a chaise lounge are set against framed dark timber elements. The bathrooms preserve the polished marble lining and fittings include separate and double vanity, with chrome fixtures.
Bates Smart studio director Brenton Smith said the intention of the design was to reinstate the glamour of the building.
“The interior and exterior fabric of this iconic building provided an ideal canvas to overlay a design which engages with the European characteristics of the architecture, while the unique location enabled us to take references from the stunning and iconic bay,” he said.
Peter Wilding, managing director of Royal Hotels Australia said:
“In redeveloping the original building, it was vital to reinstate and celebrate its legacy, while heralding in a new era for the contemporary and stylish sanctuary. The hotel will be a hub for authentic local experiences and intimate gatherings, with the look and feel creating an elegant yet relaxed setting for guests to retreat to.”