Sydney’s Paramount Building has long been known as the coolest spot in which to dine, drink, work and play. Now it has become the hippest place to stay, too – where else can you take a rooftop boxing class, catch the latest Wes Anderson film and check-in while sipping on a locally brewed sour beer? The hotel occupies one side of the old Paramount Pictures building and shares the space with the Golden Age Cin
ema and Bar, Paramount Coffee Project, Paramount Recreation Centre and a co-working office space. Surry Hills is the south-east corner of the city’s business district and is Sydney’s go-to dining and drinking destination. Hole-in-the-wall bars abound, as do high-end restaurants, clothing boutiques, public parks, and galleries. Two of Sydney’s most popular restaurants, Chin Chin (a Melbourne export) and Longrain, are located just across the road. It’s a two-minute walk to Hyde Park and a 20-minute walk to Circular Quay.
The building is one of Sydney’s better-known heritage sites – formerly the Australian headquarters of Paramount – and is synonymous with the word cool. Make your way through the Paramount Coffee Project to the concrete slab that says ‘Permanent Vacation.’
Two copper herringbone doors made of the same material that hugs the building’s façade are like two pillars on either side of reception; meanwhile, the pink wallpaper in the lift could have been transplanted from Jayne Mansfield’s dressing room. The 27 rooms and two suites occupy four levels of what once was a film-storage warehouse, and are decked out with plant-littered terraces and Australian-made products.
If their brief was to make guests feel at home and give a sense of what Surry Hills is all about then they succeed. The service is genial and warm, and the staff are inner-city hipsters who love their neighbourhood — they will tell you which is the best spot for cosy Italian food that’s also open on a Monday night, or where to find the best farmers’ market on the weekend.
There are huge umbrellas for rainy days, and beach towels by coveted Australian fashion label Jac + Jack. Up on the rooftop is the Paramount Recreation Centre, a leisure club and kiosk that takes its design cues from Palm Springs. The Paramount Coffee Project serves some of the best blends in town; with Sydney’s high coffee standards, that’s saying something.
The rooms are so stylish you’ll be checking the labels on everything from the sheets to the shampoo before you leave. Pakistani kilim rugs and bespoke couches by high-end Australian furniture maker Jardan offset tiled floors, cement ceilings and exposed pipes. The minibar is located within the curvaceous sideboards, and the pull-out fridge drawer is stocked with cheese plates from local store Uccello, meats by providores LP’s Meats, and cold-pressed juices. The beds are almost monastically firm (but oh-so-comfortable) and dressed in and soft-toned Cultiver linen sheets and merino blankets.
The bathrooms are a design standout, with exposed copper pipes and terrazzo tiles. Some of the rooms feature Japanese-inspired wooden bathtubs; they are a revelation. Showering in the rooms that have combined showers and Japanese tubs is less inspiring though, as the shower curtain proves to be a little too close.The hotel provides cots free of charge for children under three. Many of the Everyday and Sunny rooms have day beds that can be converted for children under 10 (AUD 30/£17 a night).