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Sunday 1 October 2023

A Sydney hotel where the old and the new blend seamlessly

Shopping at the Queen Victoria Building is just a short stroll away. Lunch in Chinatown: an easy walk. Hyde Park: just across the road.

The Porter House Hotel – MGallery has one of Sydney's best locations on its side, as well as some very friendly staff.

Open for just over 12 months, Porter House has received some very solid reviews from friends and colleagues - and it certainly met expectations for our recent stay.

This is a genuine blend of the old and the new, with wining and dining options in old former Porter House - a restored 1870s heritage-listed building with a striking heritage fa├žade, and luxury accommodation over the first 10 floors of the 26-storey multi-use high-rise tower next door.

Commissioned in 1876 by Australian tobacco peddler Hugh Dixson, The Porter House began life as Dixson & Sons tobacco factory and warehouse.

In 1891, furniture manufacturer WW Campbell & Co and famous leather merchant George Johnson & Sons leased the building from the Dixson family.

"The redeveloped Porter House precinct plays with the concept of intriguing contrasts," says hotel GM Joleen Hurst.

"By placing two extraordinary buildings together, we have created something remarkably original that we hope local, interstate and international guests will be fascinated by.”

My verdict is that this is an effortlessly chic place to wine, dine and stay.

A new walkway links the two buildings - bridging historic and contemporary. 

There is a definite boutique feel with just 122 guest rooms and suites.

Classic and superior rooms have king beds and a large televisions and all hotel guests have access to a well-appointed fitness centre and 12.5sqm heated pool located on level 11 of the hotel.

The rooms are very high-tech, so you need to push buttons to open or close window blinds and turn lights on and off. Probably best to familiarise yourself with the tech before stumbling into your room after a long dinner.

There are three food and beverage venues: the casual Henry's Bread and Wine on the ground floor for coffees and all-day dining, or perhaps a glass of wine.

Dixson & Sons is named after building's founding merchant family and serves breakfasts and dinners, occupies the first floor of the building.

It was closed the night we stayed, but were very impressed with the a la carte breakfasts - a rarity nowadays and it is so nice not to have jostle at a buffet, or wait for a super-slow toaster.

As is the case at reception, the staff are super hospitable.

Spice Trader, a cocktail bar, is on the top level, above floors dedicated to function spaces and private dining.

Porter House Hotel - MGallery is the 11th MGallery-branded hotel in Australia and New Zealand and join a network of 112 MGallery hotels across 36 countries globally.

The Porter House Hotel – MGallery, 203 Castlereagh St, Sydney. (02) 8236 8888

Top image: Steve Woodburn

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