Heritage building, CBD central, great new restaurant — there’s a lot to love about Sydney’s new Primus Hotel.
Compared with Melbourne, Sydney’s preservation of historically significant buildings until recent times was a disgrace. The famous Rocks precinct, for instance – these days a main, Sydney tourist attraction – was only saved thanks to union leader Jack Mundey’s ‘green bans’ in the 1970s.
That makes the unveiling of the five-star Primus Hotel in Sydney, inside the former Sydney Water Board building in the heart of the CBD, a significant achievement in the repurposing of Sydney’s heritage buildings.
Men’s Style had the pleasure of staying a night at The Primus recently. The restoration is a triumph, which involved master craftsmen from around the world working to blend the building’s significant Art Deco heritage with contemporary touch, to create a modem, five-star property.
The star is undoubtedly the imposing lobby, which Sydneysiders should visit simply to savour what is now a mint condition example of the Art Deco style – the eight-metre high red, scagliola columns, white marble floor and high ceilings providing a dramatic backdrop to checking in, having a drink or meeting for coffee.
To the side of the lobby is the 120-seat restaurant The Wilmot, where chef Ryan Hong presides over a busy open kitchen producing classics of Western cuisine with an Asian influence. After some delightful oysters, Men’s Style sampled the Clover Valley Lamb Loin with shoulder croquet, sweetbread, garlic and pearl barley, and finished with the passionfruit cake and a glass of 2014 Singlefile Wines Botrytis Semillon firm WA. Hotel restaurants can be hit-and-miss – even five-star affairs – but not this one.
The other star, weather permitting, is the “New York-style” rooftop… most definitely not a period feature. For the hectic business traveller, the 20-metre lap pool, bar and lounge seating – in the thick of the Sydney CBD -provides the optimum space for any “down-time” you can snare.
The 172 rooms and suites, over six levels of the building, evoke a “this feels like New York… in Sydney” feeling. Generously proportioned, the dark oak panelling and joinery, polished brass trimmings, marble and bronze bring an old-world, vaguely Barton Fink-esque touch to the in-room experience, brought most definitely into the 21st Century by complimentary wifi, a Nespresso coffee machine, flat screen TVs and bathrooms offering product by Australian skin care brand Appelles.
Presidential and Vice Presidential suites are also available, an upgrade offering – among other features – combined living/dining mom space, sizeable bathroom with bath and walk-in shower, and another ensuite bathroom.
The Primus is the debut for Greenland International Hotels Group in Australia. The hotel is the leading edge of the in-development Greenland Centre on the site, which will birth the tallest residential building in Sydney once finished.
Men’s Style observed a primarily week-day business crowd checking in and out of this new addition to Sydney’s five-star hotel scene, which makes perfect sense. Apart from the elegance and old-world charm delivered by the immaculate restoration of the building’s heritage, the position of this hotel – near Town Hall, Hyde Park and Pitt Street – makes it perfect for the businessperson who appreciates or expects a more high-red experience during their work trips, or equally for the weekend getaway crowd who want to indulge while taking in all the big smoke has to offer.
As seen in the Winter 2016 issue of Men’s Style Australia.