Housed in the former headquarters of the Sydney Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, the Kimpton Margot replaced the Primus Hotel in the building after Pro-invest Group acquired the property in early 2021. It is the first hotel of the Kimpton brand in Australia. The hotel is in the heart of Sydney CBD (Central Business District), near Pitt Street, close to theaters and within walking distance of the restaurant mecca of Surry Hills. It is the first Kimpton in Australia, an American hotel brand that is now part of the Intercontinental hotel group. The “Margot” part of the name is unique to this hotel and is a subtle nod to female artists Margaret Olley and Margaret Preston.
The hotel has a large lobby but lacks a main street entrance, with guests arriving through what looks like a side door via a lane. Nonetheless, once inside, the space is quite striking, with its huge pink scagliola columns and art deco style. Changes to the furnishings of the previous hotel aimed for a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with soft lighting and comfortable sofas in the center of the lobby, flanked by the reception, bar and restaurant Luke Mangan’s Kitchen (See Food + drink below). As impressive as the lobby is, it’s matched by the rooftop, which features a gorgeous pool and will house a second Mangan restaurant later this year.
I am on the top floor of the seven floors, which was once the headquarters of the Water Board’s medical branch, including its testing laboratories, a research library and the staff dining room. All are now converted to hotel rooms but the story of the floor is detailed in a sign near the elevators. Water sample testing explains the tiled walls, which look like an old train station underpass, which ironically gives the hallways a slightly subterranean vibe.
My room, a Premium King, is one of 172 throughout the hotel. It is spacious, with a sofa at the foot of the bed, a long desk which also accommodates the large flat-screen television. The art deco touches are there too, especially in the golden patterns of the deep blue carpets. Floor-to-ceiling curtains cover the original small windows. The marble bathroom is also spacious with a spacious shower and deep soaking tub. The toiletries are from Mr. Smith and are in large bottles, so there is no need to replace them for each guest (except for the small bottles of moisturizer on the sink).
FOOD + DRINK
Photo: Wolter Peeter
Luke’s Kitchen, formerly of Waterloo, has moved to the hotel and is celebrity chef Luke Mangan’s flagship restaurant. It’s on hand the night I dine there, chatting with diners about the menu and wine list. It’s modern Australia with European and Asian influences. The caviar platter that circles the restaurant isn’t quite in my budget, but I opt for a prawn toast followed by a spicy rump of lamb with roasted beets, feta and asparagus. Given Mangan’s profile, advance reservations are recommended. See lukemangan.com/lukes-kitchen-new
OUTSIDE + ABOUT
The hotel’s central location puts you within walking distance of most CBD highlights. A short walk through Hyde Park will take you to the Australian Museum. Kids will love the animal and dinosaur exhibits and can learn about First Nations culture in the dedicated Burra learning space. Best of all, admission is free. See australian.museum/
The Kimpton’s first foray into the Australian market is a stylish addition to the hospitality scene. With any luck, we’ll see a few more popping up across the country.
Rooms at the Kimpton Margot Sydney start from $339. See kimptonmargotsydney.com
OUR SCORE OUT OF FIVE
While the lobby is impressive, it’s the rooftop pool that’s the piece de resistance and will look even more appealing when the restaurant features are added.
Given the focus on sustainability in the hospitality industry, hot water takes a very long time to reach the shower, which is a lot of wasted water.
The writer stayed as a guest of Kimpton Margot Sydney.