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Hotel Highlights

  • Three acclaimed restaurants, three bars and a club
  • Luxe, uber-modern designer looks
  • Starspotting – most hipsters stay here when in town

Overview

Bring your biggest sunglasses and prepare to brush shoulders with the likes of Outkast at the Establishment Hotel, buzzy downtown Sydney's painfully cool, everything-under-one-roof design destination. It’s a big, glam emporium where you can drink, dance, dine and, yes, even sleep the night away in style.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Establishment Hotel with us:

VIP access to Establishment’s lounge bar Hemmesphere, Ivy and Pool Club, and a bottle of sparkling wine

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Establishment Hotel

'Exclusive: the Establishment lifestyle '

'Luxe 10% saver': advance purchase rate 'Luxe 5% saver': advance purchase

Facilities

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Establishment Hotel – Sydney – Australia

Need To Know

Rooms

31 rooms, including two penthouse suites.

Check–out

11am. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $193.07 (AU$235), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast.

Also

Robbie Williams, Outkast and the Scissor Sisters have danced, drunk and slept at this achingly hip destination, and it’s a hang-out for Sydney’s in-crowd. Enter from quiet side street 5 Bridge Lane which gives onto the incense-infused lobby, rather than from George Street, to avoid the walk of shame of wheeling luggage through the bustling Establishment Bar.

At the hotel

Bars, restaurants, library of CDs and DVDs, free WiFi throughout, concierge. In-room: Bose CD player, DVD player, flatscreen TV with cable channels, touch-screen room controls, iPod dock, iPad, minibar, Bulgari toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

The flashest options are the top-floor Loft Penthouse with a sleek living room; and the sprawling two-level Duplex Penthouse which has a king-size bed and deluxe bathroom, with a small study downstairs. For the rest of the spacious rooms, choose between two tonal schemes: black floorboards and strong colour, or a softer, more tranquil style. Marble and bluestone bathrooms come with bath, shower and twin sinks. As this is perched above one of Sydney's hottest drinking destinations, you're going to need those earplugs provided on the bedside table, especially at weekends. Aim for one of the higher levels to avoid noise from the revelers downstairs.

Packing tips

Outsize sunglasses, big It bag and even bigger attitude. This season's key pieces by Ginger & Smart or Jayson Brunsdon for working some catwalk cool.

Children

This sexy city hotel suits couples, given its sophisticated mix of bars and restaurants – leave the kids at home.

Food & Drink

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Establishment Hotel – Sydney – Australia

Hotel Restaurant

You've plenty to choose from here: Est., run by renowned head chef Peter Doyle, does elegant modern Australian fine dining with French and Asian influences; Sushi E is an acclaimed Japanese eatery, with Zen-simple styling, and the stunning Gin Garden, which serves breakfast and Thai and Australian dishes, set amid lush plants, sexy pendant lamps and raw brick walls. Don't miss award-winning brother restaurant Mr. Wong, beside the hotel at 3 Bridge Lane, where you can enjoy dazzling Cantonese cuisine (including incredible dim sum) in a sprawling 240-cover, two-level space.

Hotel Bar

The iconic Establishment Bar boasts a striking 42-metre pale marble bar, set in a huge, white-columned room decked out with sleek modern sofas and sinuous dark wood lounge chairs. Next door, the Gin Garden serves tasty gin cocktails, infused with lavender, blood orange and lime, alongside other top tipples. Upstairs repair to hyper-colourful Hemmesphere, an ethnic-glam cocktail bar with Moroccan-inspired low seating and exotic display vitrines. Tank Stream Bar can be accessed via the hotel foyer and offers a warm and cosy environment for an evening tipple. Palmer & Co is a new bar, located below the hotel on Abercrombie Lane and based on a 1920s speakeasy. You’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to another era with their prohibition-style cocktails, New York deli snack menu and live jazz music.

Last orders

9.45pm for dinner; 4.30am for drinks at the bar at weekends.

Room service

Light bites such as burgers and fresh salads are available from 11am to 11pm. After hours, you can still get a cheese platter or sandwiches.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Modern chic. Dress up, not down.

Top table

Tables 16, 40 and 50 at Est. have the best views.

Local Guide

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Establishment Hotel – Sydney – Australia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Sydney's CBD (Central Business District) is bustling with great retail therapy. Hot stores in the area include Australian pyjamas label Peter Alexander (+61 (0)2 9231 0355), at Shop 4, ivy, 330 George Street and island-inspired Tommy Bahama (+61 (0)2 9232 4393) just next door at 330D George Street. 

 

Local restaurants

If you've sampled the Establishment Hotel's fab clutch of bars and restaurants but are still hungry for more, head for the white-hot ivy complex nearby, also owned by entertainment players Merivale. A one-stop shop for all things hip and happening, it embraces a stack of bars, restaurants and even a pool spread over 330 and 320 George Street (for reservations for any of them, call +61 (0)2 9240 3000). Palings Kitchen and Bar occupies Level One of 330 George St, a large open dining space dotted with picnic tables and hanging fairy lights. The menu is as large as the space, featuring Sunee's Thai, steaks (cooked on the open grills from former occupant Mad Cow) and dessert courtesy of patisserie princess Lorraine Godsmark. At Uccello on level four, which overlooks the adjoining Pool Club deck, head chef David Locette creates authentic Italian dishes. Decor is a subtle blend of white and wood with hits of yellow and textured ceramics adding appealing accents. For Chinese fine-dining, turn up the heat at Spice Temple (+61 (0)2 8078 1888) in the CBD. Further afield, Bills (+61 (0)2 9360 9631) in Darlinghurst is famous for its laid-back brunches or soak up pasta with squid and sea views at North Bondi Italian Food (+61 (0)2 9300 4400) on Bondi Beach.

Local bars

Sashay to the white-hot ivy complex created by Establishment’s owners Merivale, a one-stop socialising shop spread over 320 and 330 George Street (+61 (0)2 9240 3000). Don’t miss the much-fêted Ivy bar, a clean-lined, monochrome watering hole: upstairs, the rooftop Pool Club combines three of Sydney's most popular activities, drinking, dancing and dipping into a pool, in an open-air space, complete with private cabanas and DJ-crafted tunes. 

 

Local cafés

Tiny, intimate French-style bistro Ash Street Cellar (+61 (0)2 9240 3000), at 1 Ash Street, tucked away down an alley beside the ivy complex, has a fine wine list but is also a good place for grabbing a coffee, with seats both inside and out on the quiet pavement. The decor mixes raw wood, graphic pattern and a dash of dark, Gothic opulence.

+ Enlarge
Sydney's glam CBD

Establishment Hotel

5 Bridge Lane, Sydney 2000, Australia

The Establishment Hotel is located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, a short walk from Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens.

Planes

Sydney Airport (www.sydneyairport.com.au) is serviced daily by all major international and Australian carriers. The airport is about 17km from the city CBD and the Establishment Hotel.

Trains

Wynyard Station is a five minute walk from the Establishment Hotel. Take the Airport and East Hills Line from Sydney Airport, or the South Line from Central Station, to Wynyard Station (www.cityrail.info; 131 500). Exit the station at George Street turning left to walk down George Street. Turn Right onto Bridge Street, then right again onto Bridge Lane. The Establishment is on the right.

Automobiles

Taxis from the airport are quick and reasonably priced, or if you prefer you can hire a car from one of the many rental companies at Sydney Airport. The drive is about 30 minutes and a limited number of secure undercover parking spaces are provided at the Establishment Hotel upon request. Parking is subject to availability and costs $50 per night or 24 hours. The hotel can also organise private transfers.

Other

Regular ferries depart from nearby Circular Quay (www.sydneyferries.info) bound for Manly and Taronga Zoo on the North Shore, Rose Bay to the east, and Darling Harbour to the west. There is a ferry information office at Wharf 4.

Reviews

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Establishment Hotel – Sydney – Australia

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

This review of Establishment Hotel in Sydney is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand. It’s 6am, Sydney time, and Mrs Smith and I have just arrived in the city’s CBD, a little exhausted, despite the generous flat-bed upgrade on our flight from London. We are here on a ‘bleisure’ trip – business mixed with pleasure –…
Read more

Establishment Hotel

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

This review of Establishment Hotel in Sydney is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.

It’s 6am, Sydney time, and Mrs Smith and I have just arrived in the city’s CBD, a little exhausted, despite the generous flat-bed upgrade on our flight from London. We are here on a ‘bleisure’ trip – business mixed with pleasure – starting with the latter at Establishment Hotel. Approaching the giant metal front door, tucked away in a cul de sac, I notice a few weary revelers leaving Establishment’s basement nightclub, Tank. They look about as fresh as we are after our very different all-night session.

A bright-eyed girl from reception shows us to our room. All I can focus on is the bed, which, raised on a platform, hovers before me like a much-craved mirage. Mrs Smith quickly goes to work on making the room as dark as Darth Vader’s wardrobe and we slump onto the squishy mattress.

Waking a few hours later, I appraise our surroundings afresh. One of 31 rooms, ours has a New York-loft feel: exposed brickwork, muted greys and creams and a chocolate brown-painted, beamed ceiling. Mrs Smith runs a bath (apparently a decadent use of scarce water that we rainswept Brits wouldn’t understand); I opt for the (far more economical) rain shower that, with its oversized head, lives up to its name. A folding door means the bathroom can either feel like an extension of the bedroom (when Mrs Smith needs to call for a cocktail from her tub) or shut off (to contain the downpour sound effects while I shower).

As Mrs Smith attempts to banish all traces of jet-lag with the fragrant Bulgari freebies, we discuss how gracefully this Jane Fonda of a hotel is ageing. Now nine years old, it hasn’t become old-fashioned or rough around its minimalist edges. Fuchsia cushions and velvet sofas may come and go, but the heavyweight stone and wood flooring, gleaming marble panels and simple dark-wood furniture stand the test of time and fashion like a Savile Row suit.

We enjoy a late breakfast in the hotel’s Gin Garden. Cleverly renovated with a glass ceiling and the original stonework still bearing fire scars (the building almost burned down in 1996), the room is dotted with six-metre potted bamboo plants that tower towards the light. A grand accompaniment to my Vegemite toast, they better suit the room’s evening personality as a very cool hangout, adjoining Establishment Bar.

When I say bar, try a 42-metre-long, marble-fronted counter that’s studded with grand iron columns, modern light-bulb chandeliers suspended above. This luxe labyrinth also has a bar called Hemmesphere and a sushi bar. Establishment, the building that houses Establishment Hotel, is a stylish multiplex (not two words I ever thought I’d write together) for grown-ups and it works. You could, in theory, live within its four, five – I don’t know how many – walls and pretty much do or eat something different every night for a week. If ever Sydney were to come under attack, locals would do well to check in here.

We’re both Sydney virgins (you won’t find many of them, a witty Aussie later informs me), so obviously Mrs Smith and I want to head to the iconic Bridge and Opera House. We are predictably and gratefully wowed by both. (See how I’m trying to downplay Sydney’s unfair advantage over any other city I can name?) We meet up with a friend, who takes us to Bills, owned by chef Bill Granger, where we sit at the communal table and tuck into a brunch of ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and banana. We then head to Bondi, kick off our shoes and stroll barefoot along the sun-warmed sand. As we vent our envy – comparing this lovely city beach with our local duck pond – we are shepherded towards our next meal at fabulous, low-key North Bondi Italian Food, masterminded by chef Maurizio Terzini. We dine on the terrace, which, if it were any nearer the beach would be a raft, snacking on rosemary-infused olives and tender salami, and sipping chilled chenin blanc as the waves roll in.

I mentioned earlier that this is also a work trip… We are here to launch our company’s second office, so of course there has to be a party. Mrs Smith and I smarten up back at the hotel and, after a glass or two from the well-stocked minibar, head to the chosen location – Ivy. Also owned by the Merivale group (which founded Establishment Hotel), this is its latest creation and I have to say that the penthouse (you can rent it out for a mere AU$6,000 a night) is quite a venue. Imagine Hugh Hefner and James Bond got together and created a pad that’s showier than an Oscars after-party – a heady cocktail of style and sophistication, shaken not stirred with a little excess. With a terrace hot tub and views over a palm-flanked pool, it feels like Sydney has had an LA love child and Ivy is her name.

A glamorous evening moves on to a new modern Chinese restaurant called Spice Temple, owned by chef Neil Perry (I promise this is work). The menu is takeaway-cliché-free – the pancakes lamb and cumin rather than crispy duck. We dine on the tastiest, spiciest food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. By midnight our body clocks have given up and we’re giddy from the party: this – mixed with equal parts exhaustion and champagne – is our cue to retire to the hotel. Our jet-lag, however, has other ideas: at 5am we sit up in bed, blinking woozily.

As bleisure trips go, our stay at Establishment Hotel has convinced us we could easily drop the ‘b’. Surveying the room, Mrs Smith and I agree Hef can keep the penthouse. Establishment Hotel is just as luxurious, but also somewhere you can feel at home. And any hotel that has the confidence to call itself Establishment deserves to be taken seriously. Luckily, as this Sydney institution moves into its second decade, it’s clear that it more than merits the moniker.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Establishment Hotel from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

It's not easy to find a secluded spot in the heart of Sydney's CBD, but that is exactly where the Establishment hotel is. Tucked down a curious laneway, you push open the lobby doors and you are transported into a lush, exotic and decadent hideaway. From the friendliness of the hotel staff, to the size and comfort of our room, to the design details and all the food and drink options available onsite, the Establishment did not leave us wanting in any sense. We celebrated my husband's birthday with a weekend at the hotel. We ate at Mr Wong next door, drank delicious cocktails in the subterranean speak-easy bar Palmer Co and dreamt delicious dreams in our quiet room. We could not have had a better stay. Boutique decadence in all the right measures.

Don’t expect

I would've liked it if the garbage truck came at about 10am instead of 7am!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the great associated bars and restaurants in the building, and the centre of town location.

Don’t expect

I thought the carpets could be better, and wasn't a fan of the dark rooms looking out on to next-door offices.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the friendly reception and it felt like we were the only people staying there even with a full house. We'll be back.

Don’t expect

I would've liked more parking information prior to arriving.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The service was great, the standard of room immaculate and generally this was an outstanding experience. The Gin Bar for breakfast was delightful and staff in all areas really friendly welcoming and attentive. It's a handy location just a few blocks from Circular Quay. Thoroughly recommended!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved everything.

Don’t expect

I look like a homeless guy, so would've preferred a few less shifty glances from the staff!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the great attention to detail, eg ground coffee in rooms rather than instant, and the excellent décor throughout.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The service was second to none. Every staff member smiled and nothing was too much bother. Great location.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I returned (again) to the 'Stab and was warmly remembered by all the staff. I use the hotel as my base in the CBD and its location is perfect. It's only yards from Circular Quay and from there, the whole of the harbour. Mr Wong, beneath the hotel, is very much the place to go, particularly at the weekend. Get your reservation in early or ask one of the Establishment staff to pull a favour. Hemmesphere upstairs is the place where all of Sydney's most beautiful seem to congregate. The connoisseur cocktails there are insane. The Gin Garden is just the coolest place for breakfast.

Don’t expect

Nothing whatsoever could be better. The rooms have no view, so if you want that, blow your cash on the Park Hyatt (but you'll need to blow a fair bit of cash).

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The secret door from the hotel to the Establishment main bar was quite cool.

Rating: 9/10 stars