At eight storeys high and open to the elements, the mini-rainforested courtyard atrium is a key element in the entire ground floor, connecting with the hotel lobby and Solander restaurant, and overlooked by guest rooms.
“Open to the elements, sunshine streams into the courtyard on a sunny day. When it rains, faint scents of the plants emanate and it feels like nature,” said Woods Bagot’s hotel sector leader Jacqui Senior.
Ms Senior explained that the hotel’s siting and architecture are unusual for Sydney, qualities that were eagerly taken up by the interiors team.
“We really embraced its difference, and drew from the crystalline geometric pattern of the façade in creating a joined up story across the interiors scheme,” said Ms Senior.
— Compact rooms in Australia can be amazing —
“Sydney is such a bright, light-filled city and hotels here traditionally focus on the views out. Constrained by a lack of vistas, we were looking for a different approach and found it by focusing on that rich internal experience that’s done so well in Europe. “We’ve shown that compact rooms in Australia can be amazing,” she said.
The interiors scheme references the colours and textures of the Australian landscape. A palette of richly dark eucalyptus greens and greys are the colours of the bush, with deep blues and greens of the harbour.
The key design tactic to connect the lobby and restaurant with the organic oasis of the courtyard is commended by Woods Bagot’s global design leader, Domenic Alvaro, who says that organic design and lush-luxe are siblings in an international trend to bring natural beauty and its calming effects into high quality design.
“Contact with nature is both a basic human and universal need,” Mr Alvaro said. “Biophilic design, which integrates architecture and nature – in this instance, urban nature – is increasingly supported by research findings on its wellbeing benefits.”
West Hotel opened to guests in December 2017. It’s the first boutique hotel in the Sydney CBD since QT in 2012. Owned by M&L Hospitality, the operator is Curio Collection by Hilton whose signature style is smaller, boutique-style accommodation in keeping with global hotel trends.
- 182 guest rooms, including four suites
Restaurant (executive chef is David Vandenabeele, from Belgium via New York’s Langham hotel); Cocktail Bar; Meeting space
Creating a relaxed oasis for guests to retreat from the urban streetscape, the three-storey high open-air garden atrium draws the outside in while providing glimpses to the street life through the leafy internal void.
Taking cues from the jewel-cut, glazed façade by architects Fitzpatrick + Partners, the interiors scheme references the colours and textures of the Australian landscape in a contemporary interpretation. Strong design elements have been crafted throughout the interiors, curating a palette that reflects the character of Sydney Harbour complemented with rich, textured hues.
From the point of arrival, native flora is referenced in a bespoke botanical artwork that sits behind a minimalist reception desk. Designed to be immersive, the lobby features charcoal brickwork walls and a graphic timber floor of warm rich tones. Suspended from above, a custom sculptural lighting piece functions as a cloud-like installation within the space.
The restaurant offers guests casual dining along the street frontage. The ceiling has exposed services and minimalist black ceiling fins, contrasting with the bold finishes and furnishings such as plush velvet seating and solid marble floor. In the adjacent lobby bar, a monolithic emerald green terrazzo bench is set against a backdrop of foliage, marrying the dining area with the hotel’s lobby.
The guest rooms are a retreat from the city with a sophisticated light-industrial aesthetic. The detailing of materials and form are highly considered with soft, dark tones in the bespoke carpet, walnut and brass accents and a custom headboard. The bathroom is refined yet edgy with a palette of natural stones, smoked glass and designer fixtures.
Suites are finished with honey toned parquetry flooring and custom woven inlay carpets. Walnut timbers and brass details complement the plush materiality of furnishings, offering a sense of tactility. Framed steel-coloured glazed walls separate the bedroom from the lounge area.
Project: West Hotel
Client: M&L Hospitality
Location: 65 Sussex Street, Sydney
Area: Approx. 8,000sqm
Completion date: November 2017
Woods Bagot Design team: Jacqui Senior, Lauren Tudor and Phoebe Stone.
Architecture: Fitzpatrick + Partners
Artwork: Di Emme Creative Solutions
Landscape Architect: Sturt Noble
Photographer: Felix Forest
Curio Collection by Hilton is the operator of the new Woods Bagot designed West Hotel in Sydney. One of Hilton’s 14 market-leading brands, Curio Collection by Hilton is a global, upscale collection of distinctive hotels and resorts that offer guests one-of-a-kind experiences, each unique to the destination they call home.