A hidden gem of whimsy in one of Sydney’s most creative neighborhoods.
Walking around Surrey Hills reminded me of my previous home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There is an electrifying sense of new energy within the old walls of converted warehouses and Victorian architecture, giving creative souls a base to define themselves through the reinvention of their surroundings. Little Albion Guest House is the epitome of this reinvention and creative spirit: a direct reflection of the neighborhood’s gentrification.
On his birthday in January 2019, I took my husband for a weekend getaway to the well-appointed yet affordable Little Albion Guest House, a 30-room boutique hotel hidden in a back lane in Sydney’s trendy, once gritty inner-city suburb of Surry Hills. Walking around Surrey Hills reminded me of my previous home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There is an electrifying sense of new energy within the old walls of converted warehouses and Victorian architecture, giving creative souls a base to define themselves through the reinvention of their surroundings. Little Albion Guest House is the epitome of this reinvention and creative spirit: a direct reflection of the neighborhood’s gentrification.
The Little Albion Guest House has a rich history in Surry Hills. It opened its doors in 19o3 as a convent and was purchased in 2015 when renovations began on the hotel. The original hoteliers worked with architects Terence Yong and Chris Haughton along with interior designers Connie Alessi and Cressida Kennedy to create a delightfully intimate and artistically eclectic boutique hotel while retaining the original facade. Stories of Surry Hills’ locals are told through oil paintings lining the interior walls alongside much racier modern works. Entering via a back lane, the hotel is a bit of a hidden gem. Just recently snapped up by The Crystalbrook Hotel Group, they’ve done a top-notch job of hiring the best talent to make one truly feel as though you are in a guest house rather than a hotel. The concierge acts more like a host and seemed to know anything we needed before we did. We had one night in a cosy room (very cosy) and one night in a master room. The cosy room had a comfortable queen bed and an open plan bathroom with a frosted glass divider. The master was more sizable and recommended for a longer stay. Whereas the cosy room encourages one to get out and explore the neighborhood, the master room tempted us to tuck into the king bed’s plush bedding, lounge on the window seat and soak in sunlight (I could learn to pray from this seat), curl up with a book in its blush pink velvet chair, or enjoy a cup of tea at the marble table. Both rooms have blackout curtains and beds that are made for late morning lie ins. We did a bit of both (staying in and going out) while at Little Albion. Conversation with other guests also flowed naturally over breakfast as the buffet and bar nook is at once intimate and welcoming. I exchanged travel stories and neighborhood tips with a couple from Oregon, USA who shared a love for well-appointed boutique hotels around the world. In the evening hours, the top shelf bar on an honor system allowed for groups to come together and discuss all of the important topics DIY cocktails encourage.
Highlights included a movie at Paramount House, where the old screening room of Paramount Studios has been converted into a small public one screen cinema, dinner at famous Chin Chin Chinese restaurant and a visit to famed Sydney artist Brett Whiteley’s studio. A trip to Messina gelato, the best ice cream in town, should also not be missed for anyone with a sweet tooth.
For visitors using Little Albion as a launching pad to explore greater Sydney, you’ll be walking distance to some of the best and hippest restaurants in Sydney, 10 minutes to the central business district (CBD) where you can hop on a ferry to explore Sydney by harbour, 20 minutes from the beaches, 5 minutes from Centennial Park, and 15 minutes to the airport. In short, the location, unique design and staff at Little Albion Guesthouse are five-star quality without the price tag.
Get a room…
Little Albion Guest House
21 Little Albion Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Australia
Average cost: $200
Phone Number: +61 2 8029 7900
While you’re in the area…
Catch a flick at the Golden Age Cinema at the old Paramount offices
Dine at Chin Chin, best for a small group as the food more than makes up for the acoustics
Witness the homegrown artists works at Brett Whitely Gallery
Get the scoop at famed gelato hotspot Messina
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