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Monday 28 August 2023

Hotel Morris: Accor's newest Handwritten property

Guest poster Roderick Eime takes a look at a new Sydney hotel drawcard. 

I make no secret of my fascination for old buildings and hotels revitalised and repurposed. The Porter House is one recent example and Capella Sydney is another.

So my interest was piqued with the announcement of the reopening of Hotel Morris, a boutique reimagining of one of Sydney’s early landmark hotels.

Built in 1929 as a showcase design from architect Virgil Dante Cizzio, it was exemplary of the Inter-War Palazza style and it’s pleasing to see the new owners' nod to this important pedigree.

From opening until 1963 the building held the title of Australia’s tallest hotel. Up until the recent sale, it traded as Nomads Westend Backpackers Hostel and attracted anything but accolades. The bare-bones refurbishment included much remedial work and the reversal of the many tasteless embellishments thrust on the poor structure over the years.

According to a report in Hotel Management Magazine, four agencies were behind the new design and branding of the hotel, which honours Cizzio’s style, including hospitality refurbishment specialist Reward Group, Squad Ink on brand development, Tom Mark Henry on interiors, and Fellow Hospitality, responsible for conceptualisation.

Hotel Morris also perfectly suits Accor’s new midscale Handwritten Collection featuring “charming and stylish places curated by thoughtful people.”

By all accounts, it’s a success and we had an opportunity to test the product last month, not long after the official opening, which was delayed like everything else that requires a builder at present.

Straight off the street is Bar Morris, an intimate 40-seat multifunction bar and restaurant featuring deep tones of green and burgundy, natural wood flooring, marble bar and tabletops, and brass metal and tiling. I’m having a snack on Friday evening and every seat is occupied with younger 20- and 30-somethings presumably as a precursor to a big night on the town. At this end of Pitt Street, however, there’s quite a bit of new residential, so they may well be residents grabbing an evening bite.

Bar Morris in restaurant guise (supplied)

The space also serves breakfast for guests and doubles as the reception for the hotel. So you’re getting the idea that Hotel Morris is a pared-down property focussing on being good at the essentials. 

And, as a guest, you’re not paying for swimming pools, spas, gyms and business centres that you won’t use anyway. It’s whispered that a rooftop space is in the planning, but it could be a little while off as building approvals are navigated.

There are 82 rooms in total, each in an Art Deco style with five ensuite varieties. Golden mustard tones are used throughout alongside brass detailing and bold stone finishes.

With names like Bambina and Piccolo, you get the idea that these are smaller rooms at 13 and 15sqm respectively. With a Queen-sized bed in each, there’s not room for much else. But hey, what else do you need? The rest range up in size to the ‘palatial’ Grand King at 28sqm and these feature gorgeous ornate windows facing the street.

Grand King

Despite the minimalist design, there’s a lot to like about Hotel Morris and, with its excellent location, it's sure to attract its own type of appreciative guest.

Full details and rates at:

The writer was a guest of Hotel Morris

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