The bronze-tile pattern at the entrance of 57 Hotel—a 92-room boutique property in the heart of bustling Surry Hills—echoes the mosaic of windows that soar seven stories up. But the stamped-tin awning out front and the gold ceiling that undulates like a wave over the reception area (a plaster-and-metal base that was hand-painted gold) nods to Studio 54, the legendary New York club from which 57 Hotel owes much of its inspiration. The sunken lobby-lounge is the moodiest of the spaces, outfitted in black leather benches, shiny silver walls, spot lights and gray-and-black carpeting that recalls piano keys. This is the best place to catch up with friends over a complimentary Nespresso coffee or watch the Surry Hills scene unfold. Glass walls face lively Foveaux Street. The rooms upstairs offer a vintage-’70s vibe with a white-and-mauve palette playing backdrop to pops of color such as turquoise vinyl chairs in King rooms, topped with candy-striped pillows. The amenities are modern and include free Wi-Fi, in-room iPads, and a selection of films. The guest experience is also infused with groovy tunes curated by Sydney DJ Dre Branciamore, taking the Studio 54 theme full circle.
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A short walk from the Central rail station (which connects travelers to everywhere else they need to go), Surry Hills is one of the coolest and most dynamic neighborhoods in Sydney. The streetscape is a mix of ornate terrace houses; independent boutiques and cafés; industrial spaces taken over by galleries; and a good dose of pubs, from Victorian legends to art deco grandes dames. Surry Hills is particularly well-known for dining and drinking—Bourke Street Bakery, Bills, Reuben Hills, Red Lantern, Gelato Messina, and Button Bar are all recommended—but visitors shouldn’t miss great shops such as the Collector Store either. The suburb also has some of the best arts attractions, from the Brett Whiteley Studio to the Golden Age Cinema and Bar.
Need to Know
Rooms: 92 rooms. From $119. Check-in: 2 p.m., check-out: 10 a.m. Dining options: There’s no on-site restaurant, but luckily, Surry Hills offers some of the best eats in town. The hotel partners with several local establishments, including Jimmy Blanco, Brooklyn Hide, and Chur Burger, which deliver and charge back to rooms. Complimentary coffee and pastries from Taste and Bredfern Bakery are available every morning. Spa and gym details: The hotel doesn’t have a gym either, but guests have unlimited access to Bayswater 24-7 Fitness five minutes away.Day spas in the area range from Mirror Beauty, housed in a converted terrace house, to Mankind, which caters to well-groomed guys.
Who's it best for: Those with a serious case of 1970s nostalgia. The hotel is also a hot spot for the fashion and design set. Our favorite rooms: All the rooms, with names like the Shoebox Twin and the Dancing Queen, have the same white-and-mauve color scheme, paneled leather headboards, and splashy pillows and art as well as amenities like Wi-Fi, in-room iPads, and body products by Sydney’s Urban Skincare. What differentiates the rooms is their size, ranging from the 57 Single (aka “the Shoebox”) to the King Plus One. King rooms are, naturally, the largest, and they afford the best views of the neighborhood’s rooftop terraces, backyard “hills hoists” (a type of clothes-drying rack), and graffiti-covered warehouses. Local insight: Track down Nicole Xanthos, the hotel’s general manager, who has lived in Surry Hills for 15 years. She has the neighborhood intel that goes way beyond this great guide found on 57’s website.