The Australian - Wish Magazine - - HOTELS -

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.

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