Primus Hotel, Sydney’s newest five-star hotel, is the sort of place that Jay Gatsby might like to check into. A sensitive restoration and transformation of the former Sydney Water Board headquarters on Pitt Street has uncovered a stylish art deco gem with beautiful public spaces, a glamorous rooftop bar and pool for guests and spacious, comfy bedrooms with art deco details.
A short walk from Town Hall Station, Primus Hotel (which opened quietly just before Christmas) is near Hyde Park and Queen Victoria Building and right beside Koreatown. Chinatown is two blocks away.
Primus Hotel Backstory
One of Sydney’s most impressive heritage buildings, this 1939 icon was completed just before World War II.
Believe it or not, the rooftop terrace was once used as a wartime rifle range. The hotel was bought in 2008 by China-based Greenland who spent two years restoring it.
For a sense of history, check out the original basement strong room where the money was locked up after Sydneysiders paid their water bills.
While the grand tiled façade is impressive, the magnificent foyer is a knockout, oozing Great Gatsby glamour.
Now stretching up to their original height, the trademark eight-metre red scagliola columns (an unusual plaster technique) and panelled skylight have been sensitively restored by Woods Bagot and GBA Heritage.
Watch out for the original bubblers near the entrance. Staff members were friendly and helpful, giving me directions for getting around town.
The bedrooms are very spacious with a comfy king-sized bed, armchair, a generous desk (good for work) and stylish deco trimmings.
The ’30s-themed bathrooms are large with a walk-in shower and fluted glass panel (some rooms also have a bath).
I love the towel basket – a nice touch. Little extras include a Nespresso coffee machine, free wifi, Appelles toiletries and a daily newspaper.
Relax on the seventh-floor sundeck by the 20-metre rooftop heated lap pool or you can work out on the gym’s spanking new machines.
You can snack at the lobby bar or try the Wilmot, a 120-seat, smart-dining restaurant serving contemporary Asian cuisine.
The breakfast buffet features lots of options, including the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever tasted.
An Asian high tea starts in April 2016 and the executive and presidential suites open in May 2016.
Rate at Primus Hotel
Rooms from AUD$290 until June 30.
Primus Hotel, 339 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW, (02) 8027 8000.
Mary O’Brien was a guest of Primus Hotel.