This hotel hosted many a drunken evening in my youth, so I was more than excited to see what the renovations and creation of a new hotel would entail. And given i work around the corner, and live only a 15 minute drive away it was the ultimate in guilty luxury to just wander over to the hotel from my office and check in on a Friday night.
The restored hotel entrance is behind the main bar but not immediately visible. I understand that the Old Clare wants to be a little bit different – quirky and not your standard cookie cutter hotel. However if you can’t work out where the entrance or reception is, and your staff are not stuck behind the desk ( but their casual uniform does not actually help you figure out that they are the staff) its a bit of a problem. You still need to tell guests where to go – it is generally helpful.
I love all the exposed brick and dark corridors as it gives the hotel such a cozy feel but I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING. Once we got checked in and we quickly realised we were in the wrong room ( I won’t take it personally that the room for our wedding anniversary had twin beds. It’s 5 years not 50 years of marriage thank you). A quick phone call and new keys were handed over to an upgraded suite. Huzzah!
However, the issue was that I actually preferred the smaller room as it is not smaller at all – the high ceilings and giant windows made me feel as though I was in Berlin again with those gorgeous old restored hotels. The bathroom is definitely not as luxurious but perfectly functional.
But the suite was lovely nevertheless. A normal sized bed, walk in bathroom and large bath to soak your troubles away. The bottom level sitting room of the suite was wasted on us, and I craved the higher ceilings as the loft style left me feeling slightly claustrophobic. While it looks beautiful, i just couldn’t get on board and would have preferred the extra space in one room.
We didn’t stay too long in the room as we had some important eatin’ to do. The Clare hotel hosts not one but three amazing restaurants: Kensington st social which is so NYC it hurts and possibly one of my top 5 Sydney dining experiences, Automata which offers a seasonal set degustation that speaks to the indecisive libran in me; and Silvereye which I am yet to try but I hear it is beef beef beef.
The new little precinct in Chippo is fabulous. Great fancy restaurants next to cheap takeaway options – this never works but here it is seamless. The laneways have been restored and taken from dodgy, dark and dingy to exciting, buzzing and packed with peeps. Late night dining is an issue that is being slowly addressed in my hometown with great options like this.
And nothing quite beats stuffing your face with a degustation menu and then rolling up to your room for a blissful nights sleep. An early morning dip in the rooftop pool overlooking the city and I am refreshed and restored to start my weekend. I heart Sydney.