SPICERS POTTS POINT
You know you are in a so-called neighbourhood hotel when freshly baked biscuits await your arrival and a passport is included with your guestroom key. In the case of the recently opened Spicers Potts Point, this faux travel document is a helpful and jaunty guide to where to eat, drink and shop in the immediate precinct and, just blocks away, the newly revitalised streets and laneways of raffish Kings Cross and the leafier borough of Elizabeth Bay.
Sydney needs more small, chic hotels such as this trio of cream-painted converted Victorian-era terraces. The three lacy ladies have been nipped and tucked and gussied-up, linked within by cleverly compact passageways, staircases and light-filled atriums. It all feels residential and cosy, and planets away from the city’s inventory of corporate accommodation. I can imagine country and interstate visitors, in particular, valuing the local style and hands-on service that feels, reassuringly, like staying with Sydney friends.
General manager Wendy Morris, late of sister property Spicers Sangoma Retreat in the NSW Blue Mountains, lives nearby and is passionate about her home patch of Sydney. Need to know which restaurant is hot (or not) and where to get the best Negroni or designer shoes? Morris is your insider source and has, of course, played in a part in assembling that little black passport, which includes discounts or a free drink at selected establishments. She points out that postcode 2011, which stretches beyond Potts Point and Kings Cross to Woolloomooloo, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay, is Sydney’s most densely populated with the lowest car ownership. Residents are walkers and talkers, habitués of cafes and clubs, galleries and groovy stores. Chart-topping restaurants include Cho Cho San, Chester White Cured Diner, bustling Bistro Rex and the speakeasy-inspired Jangling Jack’s.
The 20 guestrooms span a king-sized category facing the rear laneways, and fitted with cushioned windowseats, to the prime pick of a Victoria Terrace Suite with tree-filtered views over gentrified Victoria Street and glimpses of the CBD skyline. The latter option features enormous sleeping quarters, bed dressed with soft white linen and throw by textile artist Walter G, and generous curtained and glassed-off ensuite with free-standing tub and all the smart kit, including Australian-made Leif toiletries fragrant with lemon myrtle, eucalyptus and sandalwood. My chamber, No 3, has two fireplaces, wide-planked floorboards, a furnished balcony and a serene scheme of caramel, taupe and dusky blue. A Martine Emdur artwork of pool swimmers, their legs moving in liquefied light, is prominently displayed and others from her series decorate the communal areas.
Those get-together ground-floor salons are petite and feel very homely, thanks to touches such as potted succulents, fresh flowers, piles of books by Kings Cross’s famous denizens and comfy lounge chairs arranged in convivial groups. The architects have even squeezed in a courtyard and breezeway leading to a functions space, named the Victoria & Albert Room in honour of the hotel that once occupied part of the now almost unrecognisably smart and sophisticated terrace row. Susan Kurosawa is The Australian’s travel editor.