Guest house

A stylish guesthouse in Surry Hills that doesn’t look like a hotel at all

When I settle into Little Albion Guest House in the inner city suburb of Surry Hills, Sydney, I am greeted by Head Host Wendy Norris, who shakes my hand with such warmth it’s like if we were old acquaintances. Instead of asking for my ID at reception, she asks me how I’m doing, before taking me for a walk. Later, in the honor bar downstairs, where I mix an Everleigh Bottling Co. Martini in my terrycloth dress, I am greeted by name by another member of staff, Ivan, with whom I quickly get on good terms. .

This personalized and ubiquitous service is one of the many points of difference of the newly opened guesthouse. Norris (who opened the Spicers Potts Point hotel around the same time last year) says it’s because 8Hotels owner, founder and CEO Paul Fischmann wants to do things differently than your average hotel.

For starters, the 35-room guesthouse is the first bookable hotel on the global Airbnb accommodation platform, Norris claims. The price? $ 15,000 a night for the whole place. Of course, if you don’t ride with such a large crew, you can also use the site to book single rooms.

You can also skip the usual registration process. “I shudder when I hear in most hotels, when most people come to check in, ‘Credit card and ID please’,” Norris says. “We have the contact details of our customers [from their booking], so when they come in we chat [telling them how it works]. It’s more about greeting a friend who comes into your home.

Little Albion is also avoiding in-house room service in favor of an Uber Eats account, organized by staff to reflect the best deals in Surry Hills. When your food package arrives, it is transferred to a wooden tray with golden cutlery, salt, pepper and napkins, and delivered to your room.

And if you want a little company at mealtime – or a drink to accompany your meal – the Honor Bar offers a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. When I stop, one of the hotel staff, a man in loose white cotton pants and a matching oversized shirt, cuts lime to add it to the gin and tonic, and the whole scene has a laid back vacation vibe by the beach.

In the morning, the configuration is different; there is freshly cut bread, croissants, jams, muesli, orange juice, a fridge full of yogurt, and an industrial-size coffee machine for guests to help themselves to. Meals can be taken downstairs, taken to your room, or on the plant-filled rooftop which offers views of eastern Sydney.

The name of the bar explains how it works: you take what you want, write it down on a piece of paper and it gets charged to your credit card. “That said, ‘There you are, we trust you,’ said Norris.

The entry-level bedroom, or Crash Pad, has a queen-size bed, kitchen, and bathroom. All other rooms offer king-size beds and features that differ from room to room, such as pink velor armchairs, reading nooks, soaking tubs, and rainfall showerheads (and yes, the water pressure is amazing). At the top end of the scale is Big Albion, the equivalent of a Little Albion penthouse. The 55-square-meter bedroom features a four-poster bed, Gothic windows overlooking the tree-lined streets, a dining area, and a huge freestanding bathtub in its huge bathroom.

Connie Alessi of Archemy and Cressida Kennedy of Space Control are behind the design. Throughout the hotel are dark-colored woods, marble surfaces, textured furnishings, and brass fittings. The art was mainly chosen by Vogue and GQ Nicholas Samartis, but there are also portraits of local icons by the former Archibald Ann Cape Prize portrait painter.

“All we do is make it look… it’s not a hotel at all,” says Norris.

Rooms start from $ 240 per night.

Little Albion, a Crystalbrook Collection boutique hotel
21 Little Albion Street, Surry Hills

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