I'm feeling very lucky to have enjoyed a beautiful stay at Capella Sydney recently. I draw great inspiration from travel, often sparking ideas which we bring to life in our projects. There hasn't been much opportunity for travel in the back end of this year, so I decided why waste time jetting off somewhere far-flung when we could enjoy a spectacular staycation right here in our own back yard. Not least, at this special hotel that's been on my radar since its launch earlier this year.
Capella is a shining example of meticulous design and detailing - luxurious contemporary spaces have been thoughtfully crafted within its historic facade. Our room was more like a small apartment, artfully appointed with a stunning curation of artworks and furniture. Luxury abounds, notable mentions to the bed linen (Frette) and that clever little kettle that's also a tea pot. Bose speakers, a gorgeous collection of coffee table books and a well stocked mini-bar could see me happily locked in for days. The house made rocky road had us at hello.
His and hers comfy robes and matchy matchy slippers are the perfect threads for heading up to the day spa/ pool on the 6th floor. Vitality pools, experience showers, steam rooms and sauna revitalised this tired old chook, followed by a refreshing few laps in the beautiful pool. I looked at the gym, does that count? State of the art Technogym equipment lined up ready and waiting for those with more will power than me. The pool itself is housed in what was once the Department of Education's art gallery, its pristine architectural detailing restored to former glory.
Art and history are two extremely important threads to the Capella experience. Capella's diverse art collection, with nearly 1,400 pieces, is one of the most extensive art collections in an Australian luxury hotel. With a focus on celebrating Australia's natural beauty and cultural diversity, while also paying homage to the building's pioneering spirit in education.
My faves included a collection of stunning textile installations by Elise Cakebread in the main lobby, plus the incredible Meadow, a flora-inspired kinetic lighting sculpture by Dutch art duo DRIFT. The installation – which is a breathtaking blend of art, technology and nature – marks the internationally acclaimed partnership's artistic debut in the Southern Hemisphere. It's mesmerising. I had to order a second rosé and another delicious dish so I could sit for longer beneath its dreamy, soft hued dance.
We all know the test of a great hotel is the good old club sandwich. Happy to report it did not disappoint, nor did pecorino dusted truffled polenta chips. In the name of research, we raised a perfectly crafted cocktail to the original architect of the building George McRae - in the McRae bar. A stylish interpretation of a golden era drinking den, most certainly on my radar for pre dinner drinks in the future.
The original buildings served as the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture, it's interiors now reimagined as luxury spaces using a stylish material palette which perfectly complements the towering sandstone exterior.
The guest experience overall was just lovely. Genuinely interested and interesting people, going about their day in impeccable tailoring, sharing their extensive knowledge about the heritage of the site, the architecture and artworks. We couldn't have been looked after any better. The food was also fabulous, especially the buffet breakfast which was frankly, hard to walk away from.
We'll be back, that's for sure. Highly recommended if you're keen to treat yourself before 2024 gathers pace.