The world’s most beautiful and most liveable, Australia’s largest and oldest and most cosmopolitan – Sydney, is a city of many superlatives. In 1778, the city was founded as a British settlement on a small bay at the southern end of one of the largest natural harbours in the world. In the last 200-odd years, the city has claimed the harbour as its own and expanded into the hills around it.
Sydney’s proximity to the ocean means that it enjoys a temperate climate through the year. The spring season from September to November is pleasant and dry and thus the best time to visit. Summers, which stretch from December to February, provide the right ambience to enjoy the beaches and the outdoors.
Sydney may be located at the edge of the world map, but its vibrant personality has visitors gravitate to it all year round. Besides the many natural attractions, the city is also home to several museums, monuments and art galleries and its calendar is crowded with cultural festivals that cover all realms from art to music to film.
With All Due Respect
While most hotels may take offence at their room being likened to a shoebox, at the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, the smallest room category has been titled just that – Shoebox. The 1888 Hotel occupies the space that was built to serve as a woolshed in the year 1888. The crux of the brief to the architects was to align the refurbishment to the original structure of the building.
The hotel wraps around a 7-metre high internal atrium that fills the lobby with daylight and maximises the inside-outside continuum. Here, original ironbark beams and pillars, vintage sofas, oversized umbrella-like light fixtures and a live fig tree cohabit with ease to create a great first impression.
The rooms are simple and elegant whether it is the shoebox category or the king category. The element of drama is brought in through the high ceilings, exposed brick walls and massive distressed beams. Soft furnishings in vibrant colours and artwork by Australian artists add a splash of colour to the otherwise neutral colour palette. At the 1888 Hotel, the old and the new come together in a form that not only pays homage to the heritage of the space but at the same time also makes a striking design statement.
By The Seaside
The clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean hug the coast of Sydney, and on most days, that sight is enough to glue visitors to the beach. However, every year in November the sea takes second place as all eyes are riveted to the largest open-air exhibition in Australia – Sculpture by the Sea. The exhibit was initiated in 1996 and has now become an annual event.
Installations by Australian and international artists take over the meandering two km. coastal walk from Bondi beach through Tamarama to Bronte Beach. Each year sees a variety of sculptures ranging from the intriguing to the bizarre. Made from a range of materials, some represent the artist’s culture while others make a statement about global and local issues.
Sweet Every Things
In the few years that Chef Adriano Zumbo shot to fame, words like unconventional and bizarre have attached themselves to him. It is not surprising then that a patisserie that has his name in bright lights on its window display would recall those exact same adjectives. Colourful cranks and gears, neon mousetraps to showcase goodies and macaroon display boxes that say ‘In Case of Emergency Break Glass’ all contribute to the eccentricity quotient of the patisserie Zumbo at Star City. The pièce de résistance though is the desert train that chugs through the kitchen and into the cafe delivering little plates loaded with desserts to waiting patrons.
Where The Fat Lady Sings
Three white sails rise up high in the Sydney Harbour, soaring far above the other boats and ships docked along the port. They may appear to flutter, waiting for the final horn to signal its departure, but they stay anchored. When Danish architect John Utzon conceptualised the Sydney Opera House, he wanted it to be in harmony with its surrounds. Thus, the size is in scale with the Harbour Bridge that forms the backdrop and the colour palette is restricted to what Utzon called ‘nature’s colours’. The interior on the other hand bursts with colours and creates a setting that would easily put its 1.2 million annual visitors in a festive mood.
Text By Himali Kothari