By Shahida Sakeri on December 9, 2015
If QT Sydney Hotel is a man, it would probably be Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl – fun, seductive and absolutely classy. From the moment I walked in and greeted by the charming staff, I knew I have walked into something special. There is a wow factor and amazing ambiance to this hotel that sets it apart from anything I have been to; everything in the property just screams ‘sexy’. With its sleek rooms, sensual day spa and intimate restaurant, mixed with strategic location, QT Sydney promises to be perfect for girls or guys seeking a stylish mini-break.
Set in upscale trendy neighbourhood of Market Street within the historic Gowings and the State Theatre buildings, QT is really a high end hip. This is one neighbourhood that certainly offers plenty of reasons not to stray further than a few blocks from the property since the location already breathes the essence of Sydney. Guests may find plenty of shopping opportunities with walking distance to the city’s iconic malls like Queen Victoria Building, Westfield and The Strand Arcade, ample choice of eateries, aspiring street performers and even in close proximity to several train stations.
But despite its strategic location, QT itself is a destination in its own right. The property is full of surprises. Here are some of the highlights I discovered about the property throughout my stay that are bound to make guests fall head over heels.
1. The Charming Services
A hotel is only as good as the people who work there, and those young and fresh-faced employees who work in QT are remarkable. They are youthful, cheery, good-looking and personally attired in quirky, avant-garde uniform styled by acclaimed costume designer Janet Hine. The service provided by all levels of staff is impeccable. However, special attention should be paid to their Director of Chaos – the red-wigged girl responsible in welcoming guests and usher them to the lobby – who I personally found extremely interesting and friendly. I remember how she always greeted me with a genuine ‘hello’ and initiated conversation each time I passed the entrance, and that really made me feel more than welcomed – it was as if we have known each other for a long time. These girls have style, showmanship and ‘larger than life’ factor, making them the ideal face of the boutique hotel.
2. Singing Lifts
And when I thought the surprise stopped there, QT proved me wrong. As I stepped into the lift and pressed the button to the lobby, suddenly, my all-time favourite song Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” came over the speakers and before I knew it, I was already ‘headbanging’ to the beats like no one else was watching. It may seem unnecessary to some, but after a long boring and tiring flight, the music was just a quick boost of excitement that I really needed, depicting the thrilling sensation I felt when being in the city I love so much. I soon learned that QT’s singing lifts come with heat sensors that detect the number of passengers and play songs accordingly, meaning solo passenger get tunes like Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonely Tonight” or Eric Carmen’s “All by Myself”, while a duo will be serenaded with Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us” or James Taylor’s “You’ve got a Friend”. A group gets party tracks like Prince’s “1999” or Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”. Genius!
Since QT is within the city’s most majestic historical buildings, Gowings and The State Theatre, the designers and art consultants hired by QT sought to set a delicate balance of historical charm and modern design leading to a somewhat surprising space. That’s why QT is never just a hotel, it’s a personality. Upon entering the lobby, eclectic elegance comes into play with a custom-designed and curated furniture collection, coupled with Nic Graham’s handpicked pieces. The eccentricity of the hotel is further enhanced by the use of a striking LED wall of digital art and a strong use of colours like black and white, Yves Klien blue, magenta and citron throughout the public spaces.
4. Rooms & Amenities
Unquestionably, I personally think that QT is the sassiest boutique hotel that I have ever been to. Its 200 rooms come in 12 different edgy design styles that are tasteful, sumptuous and sexy. The rooms are also scented with the classic notes of Coco Chanel’s famous Chanel N°5, designed to draw the interest of any dictator of taste looking for something a little different from the corporate chain hotel. QT retains the original timber floors from 1929 in the rooms but at the same time features fashion-forward additions to enhance its sassiness such as fur throws, rugs and cushions, ceramic animals, illuminated vitrines of cut-glass ornaments, modern lounge chairs and statement lights like my favourite book binders bedside lamp.
The expansive dark stone bathroom is accentuated by an oversized Japanese bath tub and a separate shower, complete with Uspa amenities in the cabinet and folded black bathrobes in the corner. The mini bar was out of the ordinary also, packed with interesting products including Belvedere Vodka, Chivas Regal Scotch, local snacks like cute gingerbread ninjas, an Intimacy Kit, an emergency bow tie and vintage games.
5. Gowings Bar & Grill
Gowings Bar & Grill is one of the most desirable places to hang out in the Australian capital, and is famed for its chic crowd of beautiful and stylish people. Even the waiters are good looking. Tucked away within the hotel, the restaurant is not a place where travellers necessarily stumbled across when negotiating their way down the bustling shop-lined Market Street. Yet, despite its somewhat obscure location in the historic Gowings Building, this dimly-lit restaurant has amassed a loyal following through its walls of wine bottles, an open kitchen and a lively bar area, all conspiring to give it a hip character. However, it also maintains an air of old world charm that allows guests to sink into one of the many cosy chairs to savour the hearty menu that is as rich as the decor. The food is unpretentious but utterly delicious, which explains why reservations are hard to make here. Thus, it is best for guests to book early in advance.
Moreover, in a city so well-known for imbibing coffee, it feels like a crime not to join in the culture. Parlour Lane Roasters café, located one level below the lobby, is where serious coffee drinkers converge to indulge in top grade Allpress Arabica coffee beans. Besides a good old cup of Joe, the café also draws the eye of art-lovers and passers-by alike with its eclectic décor featuring the original 1920’s display cabinets that exhibit the works by a selection of cutting edge Australian artists.
But when a shot of caffeine isn’t enough to revive travellers, I suggest they head straight to the hotel’s spa, spaQ, for a quality me-time. It has six treatment rooms, a hammam-inspired steam and ice room, a relaxation lounge and a spa boutique. There are expert therapists that provide treatments using pure and natural Uspa and Kerstin Florian products for the skin, body and hair. I opted for the 60-minute Signature Freshly Picked massage ($150) and the therapist, Naima, focussed mainly at specific areas of my body after she consulted me earlier. Her strokes were sure and strong – she ensured that I was comfortable with the pressure. The massage was effective and left me feeling more limber and relaxed. Plus point? Naima was really one of the nicest masseuses I have ever met.
spaQ treatment rooms 5 and 6 occupy the original Gowings Barber Shop, with historic features intact. Here, the gentlemen gets a range of premium grooming services comprising wet shaves through to massages, manicures, traditional barbershop haircut by stylish barbers dressed in MJ Bale suits and whisky tastings courtesy of Chivas Regal – it definitely appeals to stylish men like Chuck Bass.
So, when you stay at a strategically located hotel in a well-loved city, which plays cool music at the least expected places, features fabulous rooms and extends outstanding service, wouldn’t you fall in love with it?
Rooms rates at QT Sydney start at $380 AUD.
49 Market Street
Sydney, NSW 2000Australia
Tel: +61 2 8262 0000