Capella Sydney

Life has been breathed back into one of the heritage buildings in Sydney’s CBD, in which the stunningly luxurious Capella Sydney now resides

The 192-key Capella Sydney occupies an enviable city block in the Sandstone Precinct, a six-minute walk from Circular Quay. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are also relatively nearby, around a 12-minute walk on their respective sides of the Quay. Sydney’s main airport, Kingsford Smith Airport, is just a 25-minute drive away.

My room was a Skyline Twin Room on the seventh floor, with views of the sky and green plants on the ledge, and not else of a view.

This is because Capella Sydney is located within a legacy building – the Department of Education’s Edwardian Baroque building to be exact – and as such, its external structure cannot be altered. Rooms also come in various shapes and configurations because of the same reason.

If views are important to you, then booking one of the hotel’s four Prestige Suites – Capella, Farrer, Liberty, and Macquarie – as well as the Deluxe and Skyline Suites, will offer better views of the urban sprawl and even the Harbour Bridge.

Regardless, there is no compromise on luxury at all. Upon entering my room, I was astonished at its size, plus the fact that there was a ‘living room’ complete with a two-seater couch, a round table, and an armchair; a space apt for having friends over. I loved the calming colour palette of walnut, grey and cream, which helped evoke the feeling of home.

Other mod cons include a 55-inch TV with streaming services, LG sound bar, Nespresso machine, minibar with free non-alcoholic beverages, and a desk area.

The bedsheets are Italian Frette linen, a brand known for their impeccable bedding quality and the silky-smooth feel of the sheets. I slept well – extremely well – and it was difficult to get up in the morning. The carpet surrounding the bed had pressure sensors which lit up dim night lights the moment my feet hit the carpet. The lights automatically turn off within a minute of crawling back into my comfortable cocoon; what a brilliant feature!

The spacious bathroom had a bathtub, an automatic, heated Toto bidet toilet, and a shower area with two rain showers and two showerheads. There’s also a Dyson hairdryer under the sink, while amenities are from UK-based skincare company Haeckels.

Brasserie 1930 serves modern classics – from Glazed Quail, Whipped Feta and Green Olive Salsa, to Kinross Station Lamb Rump, Carrot, Harissa, Hazelnut – where ingredients are sourced from small-batch farmers and grocers around Australia. It is open for lunch and dinner every day except for Sundays and Mondays.

Brasserie 1930 is also the location for breakfast. The choice-laden menu offered items such as warm bowls of Jasmine Rice Congee with Spanner Crab, as well as brunch items like Crumpet Eggs Benedict with Berkshire Smoked Ham and Truffle Hollandaise, and Cured Tasmanian Ocean Trout and Creamy Scramble Eggs on a Croissant. The made-to-order dishes were supplemented by a pastries and cold cuts buffet.

The all-day dining venue, Aperture, is located just next to the check-in area. Previously the courtyard of the heritage building, Aperture has been transformed into a light-flooded space, framed by seven-metre-high living green walls featuring 70 local species of plants.

Guests get to dine underneath Meadow – a kinetic light installation by Amsterdam’s Studio Drift – and surrounded by the calming presence of verdant trees and lush plants. A daily afternoon tea is served here, and the area is open from 07.00 to 22.00 for food.

There’s also a bar named after the building’s architect George McRae. An intimate space, the McRae Bar is a modern rendition of a Victoria-era drinking den serving an extensive selection of cocktails, beers, and wines.

Guests can unwind or arrange to meet non-guests in the Living Room, a signature space in all Capella properties. Here, I was offered a delicious welcome drink made with smoked peach, Australian coffee, and wild citrus. It’s a good spot to work from as well, as I could tap away on my laptop in a quiet alcove.

Located on the ground level, the Living Room also serves snacks, and a happy hour with alcoholic beverages from 17.30 to 19.00 daily. Guests are also assigned a Capella culturist, and while I did not make use of this service during my short stay, I understand that these culturists will be able to arrange experiences such as a visit to the farmer’s market or a culture tour with the indigenous Australian people of the Eora Country (Sydney).

There are also six event spaces catering for groups from 10 to 80 guests, all of which have been decked out in the latest high-tech conferencing equipment. Private dining and late evening drinks can also be arranged by the Capella Sydney team.

For the active, there’s a 24-hour gym, spa, a heated indoor pool for laps, and a vitality pool to soak in on the sixth level.

Outstanding, inimitable hospitality from the moment a concierge saw me trying to cross the street with my large bag in tow and hustling over to help me, to the many warm greetings and smiles I encountered entering through its elegant doors.

Three individuals stood out in particular – Hamilton, who showed me around the property and my room, patiently answering all my questions; Liam, for keeping me company and chatting with me on a cold, brisk morning while we waited for my Uber to the airport; and Nicolena, for which this experience would not have been possible without.

I was extremely privileged to have encountered hospitality at its highest level, and I do not know of any other hotel experience which can top this stay.

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