Sydney’s new West Hotel offers exactly what you might expect given its premium location, a stone’s throw from Sydney’s hottest new district: Barangaroo. It’s cool as a cucumber, lush as you like and has the sexiest bar and restaurant — the Solander — to match.
You can find the West Hotel on the western corridor of Sydney’s CBD. This area is experiencing unprecedented growth, fast becoming Sydney’s newest hotspot for food and drink. It’s luxe, it’s lively and it’s Sydney living at its finest. It’s also close to the waterfront and less than a 10-minute walk to the CBD.
What’s most fascinating about the area, though, is the attraction it has garnered from some of Sydney’s most talented creatives and business owners. Barangaroo is fast becoming a melting pot of salubrious style game-changers, fine-dining fanatics and those looking for something seriously cool.
So what finer place to offer up a new premium hotel? And one that tips its hat to one of Australia’s earliest socialites: naturalist Daniel Solander. Hailing from Sweden, Daniel was aboard Captain Cook’s first voyage and set foot on Australian soil in 1768. He was one of two botanists on the ship that inspired the name given to Botany Bay. Daniel was also, according the West Hotel’s bar, the Solander, “a rather short, plump man of some 13 stone, jovial, fond of company and much in demand in London society. A confirmed bachelor, he was a popular conversationalist and ‘a philosophical gossip’; with a weakness for elaborate waistcoats”.
So, taking cues from this larger-than-life character, the hotel celebrates the good life. Guests will find a moody, luxurious space that showcases a rather exciting way of “hotelling”.
A wild mini-jungle atrium connects the hotel lobby to the Solander restaurant, which is steered by executive chef David Vandenabeele. David comes from Belgium, via New York’s Langham Hotel.
The West Hotel features 182 rooms in total, including four suites that are tucked neatly above the atrium. These rooms present beautifully, capitalising on plush velvet contrasted with minimalist industrial notes.
The hotel’s jewel-cut, glazed facade was designed by architecture firm Fitzpatrick + Partners and provided interior design studio Woods Bagot with a majestic starting point. “We really embraced its difference and drew from the crystalline geometric pattern of the facade in creating a joined-up story across the interior scheme,” explains Woods Bagot’s hotel sector leader, Jacqui Senior. The designers also drew inspiration from Daniel Solander and his botanical profession, plus the natural Australian environment.
Drawing from the colours and textures of the Australian landscape, the designers selected a palette of dark, rich eucalyptus greens and greys, offset with the deep blues and greens found in the harbour.
But the most impressive manner in which the natural world has been integrated into the design is via the organic oasis found in the courtyard, which connects the lobby with the restaurant. Given the hotel’s unusual architecture and siting, Woods Bagot was encouraged to be inventive when it came to the interior design. Sydney hotels so often focus on the view out to the natural landscape but in this instance, Woods Bagot opted to follow more European-inspired design by creating a rich internal experience for guests.
“Contact with nature is both a basic human and universal need,” says Woods Bagot’s global design leader, Domenic Alvaro. “Biophilic design, which integrates architecture and nature — in this instance, urban nature — is increasingly supported by research findings of its wellbeing benefits.”
The courtyard itself is open, overlooked by eight storeys of guest rooms yet still providing visitors with access to the outdoors. And it’s also open to the elements, says Jacqui. “Sunshine streams into the courtyard on a sunny day,” she explains. “And when it rains, faint scents of the plants emanate and it feels like nature.”
So, for those looking to experience a contemporary, Australian masterpiece, conceived with intriguing European ideals, surrounded by the makers and shakers of Sydney’s hottest up-and-coming scene, this is the place to grab a botanical-inspired cocktail and soak up the surrounds.