I’m being poured a cool glass of Wildflower Brewery’s Amber Sour Ale and I’m very pleased about it. Sydney’s humid late-summer heat has managed to make the brief stroll to Paramount House Hotel in the city’s suburb of Surry Hills feel like a short marathon. My beer, poured from a tap at the hotel lobby desk, is one of the check-in refreshment options for guests arriving at ‘the neighbourhood hotel’, which is taking strides in offering a more homely form of hospitality.
Tucked behind Paramount Coffee Project (or PCP, as it’s known locally), Paramount House is the first hotel project of Russell Beard, Ping Jin Ng and Mark Dundon, who between them operate some of Australia’s coolest culinary hotspots including Bondi Hall and Reuben Hills in Sydney, and Seven Seeds in Melbourne.
Formerly the warehouse and offices of Paramount Picture Studios, the trio enlisted Melbourne-based Breathe Architecture, who spent four years carefully restoring the 1940s space to its current iteration. They’ve done a brilliant job of paying homage to the building’s original use while injecting a fresh, trendy and undeniably hipster flavour.
A peg-letter memo board in the atrium-style lobby features a quote from Rihanna (‘Alcohol is the devil and I need Chinese food’), and suggests local activities for guests to partake in while they explore the area (a garage sale, an exhibition at the nearby White Rabbit Gallery, a Beyoncé tribute night at a local bar).
It’s all part of an approach that ditches traditional, more formal modes of guest interaction in favour of something that’s far more personable and familiar. Accommodation disruptors like Airbnb are changing up the way that hotels interact with customers and many are now implementing a ‘home away from home’ offering into their guest experience.
Paramount House’s 29 rooms are split into four categories – Nook, Everyday, Sunny, or Lofts. Two Mack Daddy Suites are also available for those seeking something a little more spacious. My Loft Suite has floor-to-ceiling windows that are framed by the hotel’s Herringbone copper-clad exterior and open onto a warmly-lit terrace, the perfect spot to finish my sour beer.
The French linen-covered loft bed hovers above the mezzanine level, which has a plush sofa, colourful art tapestry, and my favourite feature – a timber Japanese-style bathtub. Aesop amenities offer a fragrant, luxe touch, and potted plants add to the homely vibe. The mini-bar is graciously stocked with locally-sourced tipples and snacks, like a full-size version of the Wildflower ale served downstairs, a tray of meats and cheeses from Chippendale’s LP’s Quality Meats, and bottled negronis from The Everleigh Bottling Co.
Paramount House is a collective operation that encourages guest interaction with its neighbours. The Golden Age Cinema and Bar is available for those wanting to catch a movie or some live music, fresh filter coffee can be ordered from PCP to your room, and guests can book a spot at the newly opened dining spot Poly – sister to the acclaimed eatery Ester – downstairs, or dine-in with the restaurant’s room service offering.
The hotel has also tapped into the wellness trend, with guests given access to the neighbouring Paramount Recreation Club, a rooftop studio with a selection of group fitness classes. I trial the Paramount Workout, an hour-long class consisting of weights, cardio and functional exercises guided by friendly instructors. A post-workout stretch on the outdoor rooftop provides a contemplative recovery while taking in the surrounding Sydney skyline and I follow my workout with a fresh, healthy breakfast and a strong coffee at the adjacent Kiosk cafe.
Back in my room, I negotiate a late check out and make the most of my slow morning with a relaxing soak in my bathtub. After reluctantly packing up my belongings, I make my way down to the lobby in a very aesthetically pleasing lift, which is pastel pink and adorned with illustrated mini-divers and hibiscus. Leaving Paramount House feels somewhat reminiscent of leaving a faraway friend’s home which, I guess, is the desired effect. It certainly feels like I’ll be back.
Room rates at Paramount House Hotel start at $240 per night.
Find out more: paramounthousehotel.com