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QT Hotel Sydney inhabits a different universe.

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Having roamed across this earthround both for business and leisure for close to two decades before Covid hit, I could not help but take stock and wonder what the essential components are that make hotel stays enjoyable and memorable.

Giving it some consideration, services and facilities are important but there is more to it than meets the eye.

Summa summarum, it is a complex melange of elements that might differ depending on the respective local context, however, there are some common denominators that I found applicable to what I found to be more enjoyable hotels no matter where I stayed.

There is something to be said about a helpful and welcoming entrance, with reception staff being intuitively apt as to what one needs to be briefed on to enjoy one’s stay as far as operating the facilities of the room, dining options, surroundings, et cetera are concerned.

Ambience plays an important role, i.e. the hotel’s capability to invite you to stay in on a rainy day or while away in its public areas – needless to say, a caffeine dispensary with skilled baristas and a bar that proffers both local as well as international staples goes a long way in that regard.

It goes without saying that I get mildly excited when a new player appears on the firmament of hotels that has set out to push the envelope in all aspects.

Enter the modern heritage conversion that is the QT Sydney, which has incarnated in the redeveloped Gowings building, the interior of which is comprised of bars, restaurants and an elaborate boutique accommodation that is infused with art deco and a backbone rooted in gothic, italiante architecture.

Being greeted curb side by a forthcoming staff member, in the alternate microcosm of QT holding the position of a “Director of Chaos”, decked out in a subtly semi-militaristic uniform, one is instantaneously immersed and ushered into the foyer where glass-encased eccentric gowns can be expected, while waiting for the sensor equipped elevator to arrive.

Ascending into the QT Sydney’s inner sanctum, depending on your stature and company, one is serenaded with a customised song ranging from odes to loneliness via Barry White-esque schmoozers to party tunes to put you in the right mood on your way to the reception

Once the elevator door opens and upon entering the reception area, one finds oneself well down the QT rabbit hole, confronted with what appears to have resulted from a group of ambitious interior designers having gone wild, with eclectic nuances ranging from colourful pop art titbits via eye-catching light installations to classy traditional wood panelling, dotted with the omnipresence of retro collectibles.

Some might say that the emphasis on design and dazzling modern art is a bit too much as far as the attack of the senses is concerned, however, it definitely creates a fun and sexy ambience that deliberately deviates from traditional tried and tested five-star hotel offerings.

Given the aforementioned, it should not be further wondrous that the staff – be it in the amazing Gowings Bar and Grill or the hotel itself – has been cast rather than merely hired, with in terms of characteristics the common denominator being a well-calibrated melange of an engaging personality, wit and polished demeanour, without ever running danger of lacking professionalism.

The quirky theme of the hotel continues on within the confines of the quiet and spacious two-hundred moodily illuminated, funky guest rooms with deliberately disruptive, asymmetrical approaches to the arrangement of the interiors, intriguing colour schemes, kooky artworks, bric-à-brac and an underlying love to detail informing the twelve unique styles, with accents subtly paying homage and giving exposure to the charm of the original building.

Small luxuries include exquisite towelling bathrobes in the slick, modern bathrooms, which are stocked with Kevin Murphy amenities, a well-curated minibar with cocktail making kits, complimentary coffee pods for the Nespresso machine and an interactive QT Concierge app, geared at virtually assisting with activities, food, beverages, yoga lessons and everything in between.

The gems of the QT Hotel Sydney, however, preluded by the conference space Gilt Lounge, is the edgy European-style Gowings Bar & Grill, helmed and overseen by the hospitality triumvirate that is Sean Connolly and Executive Chef James Kidman.

In essence, Gowings Bar & Grill constitutes a date night destination in itself, where sophistication meets primo ambience underlining the idiosyncratic classic and hedonistic vibe, further extended by the playful and approachable staff going about in the open kitchen. I have yet to encounter a less pretentious and more knowledgeable sommelier than the lady who effortlessly hit the spot with her witty pairing recommendations.

The deal is sealed with QT Sydney’ spaQ, where a wide range of pampering services are proffered, including a hammam and a veritable retro barber shop, both of which I have unfortunately not had the chance to experience.

Summa summarum, the design-forward destination hotel that is the QT Sydney ( ), is a glamourous and exuberant wonderland at the merging borders of creativity, art and dashes of indie sleaze that exudes sartorial and bohemian flair.

If you are looking for a transformative, reinvigorating experience, swagger and an epic, ornate backdrop to dance against, you’d be well-advised to check yourself in sooner than later.


photos courtesy of QT Sydney

T - 23 January 2023


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