Channeling the creative spirit of Chippendale, the design-focused Old Clare Hotel made a splash when it launched in late 2015. Its 62 rooms, carved out of the Clare Hotel pub and Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building, honor their heritage architectural bones, but add subtly luxe updates and local designs.
Of the seven bedroom tiers, entry-level Connell Rooms have glass-walled showers that will please exhibitionists. Abercrombie Rooms boast freestanding, sculptural baths. The two wood-paneled Showroom Suites are the true design standout—each boasts a bar salvaged from the brewery for a headboard. Quirky accessories include reclaimed naval search lights and desk lamps made of car jacks.
Set in the curvy former pub, The Clare Bar pairs mid-century furniture with killer cocktails concocted by hipster mixologists. Three excellent restaurants entice locals: Clayton Wells' industrial-chic Automata for intriguing, Aussie-driven set menus, ex-Noma sous-chef Sam Miller's Silvereye for Scandinavian fine dining, and Brit talent Jason Atherton's Kensington Street Social for smart day-long grazing (and room service).
The rooftop pool and bar bring the fun, with a spa in the pipeline. This is trendsetting Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng's first Sydney launch for his hospitality group Unlisted Collection and it's sure to become a cult classic.
Chippendale too is up-and-coming, with art galleries, contemporary architecture, edgy dining, a hawker market, and independent stores on thriving Kensington Street appealing to culture vultures and foodies alike. Grab a guest bike and explore.