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Ace Hotel Sydney

The Southern Hemisphere's first-ever Ace Hotel boasts a vibrant lobby bar, two restaurants, a cafe and super-sleek trimmings in the centre of Sydney.
By Sarah Ward and Ben Hansen
November 16, 2022
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By Sarah Ward and Ben Hansen
November 16, 2022
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One of the world's most stylish hotel chains finally opened its doors Down Under in 2022.  Ace Hotel has built itself up a cult following since opening in 1999, with the boutique chain going for a luxe-vintage vibe — and now, it boasts a sleek-as-hell 18 storey outpost in Surry Hills.

This isn't just the US chain's first Aussie location. It's also its first in the Southern Hemisphere. The brand kicked off in Seattle, then spread to Portland, New York, Los Angeles, London, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Chicago in the US, and opened its first international location in London in 2013. And, it was probably on your must-stay list for some time thanks to its great bars, pools, cool branding and merchandise, and quirky locations — such as a converted Denny's and a historic YMCA building.

Each Ace Hotel is individually designed to reflect its surroundings. In Sydney, its new venue has been designed in partnership with Flack Studio — and it's making the most of its Surry Hills location. That spot: the site of Australia's earliest kiln discovery, where convict potter Jonathan Leak produced domestic pottery as early as the 1820s. It then became the Tyne Building, with the brick structure constructed in 1916 as the factory and distribution centre of Washington H Soul Pattinson Chemists.

Decor-wise, think: minimalist design, warm and earthy tones, and cues aplenty taken from the Australian landscape. Standout touches include an ochre-red marble staircase reaching up from the lobby, burnt orange and tan hues in the ground-floor sunken lounge and a heap of greenery.

And, an impressive art collection. On display, you'll find pieces by everyone from Tony Albert, Sydney Ball, Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Barbara Cleveland, Laith McGregor and Sanné Mestrom through to Julia Gutman, Nadia Hernandez, Joanna Lamb, James Lemon, Nabilah Nordin, Jahnne Pasco-White, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and Justene Williams.

Ace clearly boasts plenty to look at as soon as you walk in its doors — and it's also home to a number of spaces to hang out in, too. Once you make your way past reception, you'll stumble upon the fun, laidback lobby cocktail bar that's regularly offering up DJ sets, artistic residencies and absolutely killer negronis.

There are also two restaurants — the ground-floor neighbourhood diner Loam and Kiln, a rooftop restaurant and bar by Mitch Orr. They're joined by the final piece of the Ace Hotel's culinary puzzle, laneway cafe and bar Good Chemistry.

Obviously, staying in impressive surroundings is the main drawcard — and the cosy yet chic rooms here fit the bill. There are 257 of them, with some allowing pets. Among the features: custom lighting, furniture and fixtures; an in-room vinyl collection curated by Efficient Space's Michael Kucyk; Deiji Studios robes; and minibars packed with wares from local providers.

And when you want to explore the local area and beyond, you can jump on one of the hotel's sleek Lekker e-Bikes to cruise the streets of Surry Hills with minimal effort and maximum comfort.

Already planning for your first Ace Hotels experience? Under high-season rates, rooms start at $359.

Pat Stevenson

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