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THE SUITE LIFE: 11 JAN 2016

John Rozentals

QT Sydney — slick inner-city hotel with a huge difference but also the mod-cons

You know from the moment you pull up outside the QT in Sydney’s busy downtown Market Street that you’re not destined for a stay in an ordinary hotel.

Minna McClure, the concierge who greets you — and takes care of formalities such as unloading baggage and organising valet parking — has absolutely striking red hair, wears a silky black top and black leggings, and has enough labels attached to her waist to suggest she’s advertising a Gowings Boxing Day sale.

A couple of recent stays at QT Sydney have quickly raised it to one of my favourite city-centre properties, simply because it is so different, and without the edgy differences at all impacting on efficiency of service.

The QT Sydney occupies the space, on the corner of Market Street and George Street, where Gowings was opened as a department store in 1868 and specialised in men’s casual wear until the early 2000s, and the next-door State Theatre.

The blazing neon of the Gowings sign still shines bright and many of the rooms have views across George Street to the iconic and historic Queen Victoria Building, which wasn’t finished until some 30 years after the store had opened.

The tasteful incorporation of Gowings relics is obvious in the lobby, where clothing dummies and the facades of old suitcases, chests of drawers, TV sets, etc, form a feature wall.

The quirkiness continues in the old, but modernised, lifts which seems to choose their music according to how many people are there. It’s very upbeat party stuff if there’s a group but sadly croons Elvis’s Are You Lonesome Tonight if you enter alone.

But it’s the tasteful artiness which comes to the fore in the guest suites — though there’s no sparing modern hotel necessities such as luxurious king-sized beds, free wifi, generous shower areas with plenty of hot water, and large bath-tubs.

As well as the usual alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, the mini-bar list includes items such as sets of Fiddlesticks and salami-inspired stickies.

Dining-wise, Gowings Bar and Grill is run by Paul Easson, the hotel’s very talented executive chef, and Robert Marchetti, the hotel’s creative food director.

The food is absolutely top-notch and the kitchen is open-plan and offers plenty of visual delights as a bevy of chefs and assistants prepare your meal.

All in all, QT Sydney offers something very appealing if you’re looking for classy accommodation that’s a tad or two different to the usual swank city-centre hotel.

DETAILS

QT Sydney, 49 Market Street, Sydney

Phone 02 8262 0000

Web: https://www.qtsydney.com.au

Minna McClure.