NSW has already benefited from a number of high-profile luxury hotel openings this year, most notably the designer QT Newcastle and hipster-minded Ace Hotel in Surry Hills. Now it seems the spotlight has turned over to Accor, who will finally open The Porter House Hotel – MGallery later this year with a distinctive aesthetic hinged on the interplay between heritage and modernity. Housed within a mixed-use tower at the transformed Porter House precinct on Castlereagh Street, just a block from Hyde Park, The Porter House Hotel Sydney will use a walking way to connect an ultra-modern 36-storey residential tower with what was once the Dixon & Sons tobacco factory and warehouse. And it’s this blend of heritage and modernism that drives the hotel’s concept.
The new vs old facade will be one of the most expressive statements of contrast in Sydney, giving the multi-million dollar luxury hotel a nice little point of difference to set it apart from nearby adaptive reuse hotels such as The Fullerton Sydney (the old General Post Office building) and QT Sydney (which marries the State Theatre with the old Gowings building).
The first 10 floors of the building will be dedicated to the new signature MGallery hotel, totalling 122 generously-sized rooms and suites. The levels above will feature around 131 residential apartments, which will come with their own private entry via Bathurst Street.
Other floors in the restored 1870s heritage-listed building will be dedicated to several premium food and drink options, lending Porter House Hotel – M Gallery an attractive little lure for locals as well. Ground floor all-day eatery Henry’s Bread & Wine sounds like it’ll track everything from bagels paired with Champagne to coffee best taken with blue-eyed trevella rillettes in a space illustrated by the venue’s very own florist. Signature restaurant Dixon & Sons, a 90-seater brasserie, will be led by Executive Chef Emrys Jones and use native Australian ingredients to power a British and French hybrid concept.
Further down the line, Spice Trader will be occupying the top floor. Few details have been released about the rooftop cocktail bar but there will be a visually impressive 16-metre sage marble bar and plenty of glass panels geared towards pulling in as much natural light as possible.
As far as amenities go, it looks like hotel guests will have access to a modern fitness centre and a 12.5-square-metre heated pool
“Emanating an effortless duality, the redeveloped Porter House precinct plays with the concept of intriguing contrasts,” said the hotel’s General Manager Joleen Hurst.
“By placing two extraordinary buildings together, we have created something remarkably original that we hope local, interstate and international guests will be fascinated by.”
Celebrated architect Angelo Candalapas has helped the owners realise this concept of comparing and contrasting the old and new to land on something that is “different by never disconnected,” according to a press release. And while an opening date has yet to be confirmed by Accor – some early reports were saying July, but obviously, that’s not on the cards – some are saying Porter House Hotel will open during the spring.
The hotel should be instantly recognisable from the street. The owners have commissioned renowned artist Maria Fernanda Cardosa to cover the exterior of the building with a 335 square metre abstract mural, which will reportedly be the largest public artwork by an Australian artist in Sydney CBD.
It seems Porter House’s history as a tobacco and leather merchant will be displayed generously throughout the hotel, with accents of leather, pressed tin and various other textures calling back to the building’s past. Alongside touches of gold and brass which should help punch of the premium aesthetic a bit. This includes leather bedheads in each guest room, looking over a consistent play of contrast that flows onto smaller details like mismatched bed lamps – one vintage, one modern.
Given the reputation MGallery by Sofitel hotels have across the world, it looks like Porter House Hotel will be another big win for Sydney following recent five-star openings like Kimpton Margot Sydney and future developments like Waldorf Astoria Sydney and W Sydney.
Clearly, Sydney’s luxury hotel scene is changing rapidly and dramatically, much like the rest of the city from a big new development in Barangaroo to a massive waterfront walkway connecting Parramatta to Sydney Opera House.