Opened in time for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the Establishment is a pioneering 31-room boutique hotel housed in an 1890s steel plant near the modern-day stock exchange building downtown. Managed by the hospitality group Merivale—which started as a fashion house specializing in fascinator hats and mini skirts—the hotel is popular among brand executives who book the 328-square-foot Loft Penthouse for product launches and photo shoots. Rooms feature wood furnishings, swinging metal doors, animal hides, and suedelike daybeds as well as such amenities as Apple TV, Bose surround sound, and Lululemon yoga mats. Bathrooms are particularly luxurious here, with marble floors, freestanding tubs, Bulgari products, and tall windows that open up to Sydney’s bustling business district. The best part about the Establishment, though, is the internal access it offers to some of the city’s hottest bars and restaurants, which are housed within the same complex as the hotel. And after enjoying live music and a few stiff cocktails at the speakeasy Palmer & Co, guests are welcomed to bed with Sleep Tight tea and a homemade chocolate chip cookie.
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Set in a quiet alleyway near the Sydney stock exchange building, the Establishment offers a boutique hotel experience in the heart of the CBD. Nearby highlights include the Royal Botanic Garden, the Sydney Opera House with its lively Opera Bar, Circular Quay, and the Chinatown area. Most of the action, however—from dining to shopping to theater—is right around the hotel itself.
Need to Know
Rooms: 29 rooms, 2 penthouse suites; from $350. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Sharing a complex with five bars and four restaurants, the Establishment also offers a custom room-service menu. Guests can enjoy breakfast in the garden courtyard at Ivy, and a dim sum lunch headed by dumpling master Eric Koh at Mr. Wong—the most hyped-up restaurant in the building. Dinner might include Peking duck and straight-from-the-tank chili crab paired with wine from a two-story glass cellar. Spa and gym details: There’s no spa here, but the bathroom does a similar job. The small fitness center has a padded cool-down area that is popular after neighborhood jogs.
Who's it best for: In-the-know city slickers and corporate honchos with a finger on the latest dining and drinking trends. Our favorite rooms: Midrange Establishment Rooms come in two styles: “Light,” featuring blonde wood, cream furnishings, and soft carpeting; and “Dark,” with masculine floorboards and beams, cowhide rugs, and charcoal accents. Speakeasy culture: Guests should spend some time at the Prohibition-style bar Palmer & Co, which is connected to the hotel. Raw brick walls, glass cabinets filled with rare rums and whiskeys, old mug shots of bootleggers, staff dressed in 1920s garb, and a 5 a.m. curfew make the place feel like a real speakeasy. A tank stream flowing beneath the seats was an important water source for the city’s original settlers, and underground tunnels apparently still access it.