Every city needs a Plaza Hotel-style venue – a pinnacle of old-world glamour and elegance where well-heeled guests can rub shoulders and demand outrageous things of the 24-hour room service. The stately Double Bay hotel formerly known as the Ritz Carlton, then the Stamford, is reopening tomorrow, November 6, as the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay.
The refurbishment has transformed the hotel into a modern, luxurious complex, without forgetting its place in Sydney folklore as the go-to for famous guests. The white marble, balconies and the original grand piano in the lobby of this hotel have witnessed guests such as Elton John, George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Madonna. It was also where INXS frontman Michael Hutchence died in 1997. “A key part of the redevelopment is the way we’ve been able to preserve some of the classic features of the previous building – with a modern, contemporary twist,” says Frederic Brohez, general manager.
The most dramatic addition will be the rooftop infinity pool, with a private bar and lounge area with cabanas, far away from the prying eyes of onlookers and lurking paparazzi. Close behind, in terms of grandeur, is the 200-square-metre royal suite – with expansive balconies overlooking the bay and a separate dining room. Has the hotel had any royal enquiries? “We are managing a number of enquiries, whether it’s for the royals or weddings,” Brohez says.
The ground area of the hotel will be a retail space, “not to compete with the Double Bay shopping precinct, but to complete it,” Brohez says. One of the two restaurants will be Sake, a sister to the contemporary Japanese restaurant in The Rocks. Shuk from Bondi has set up a cafe. There will also be a dedicated gin bar inside the hotel and a 24-hour gym. “There is a whole revitalisation going on and the opening of the hotel is really about reinvigorating Double Bay. The timing is just perfect, with the shopping precinct across the road and advanced talks about the cinema possibly reopening,” Brohez says.
InterContinental Sydney Double Bay is opening and taking bookings on November 6.