“We have a good feng shui, the three of us,” says Beard. “We cooked this up in 2014 and it just seemed like a no-brainer, really, a natural progression.”
The hotel is currently under construction above Paramount Coffee and was designed by Melbourne architects Breathe, which designed The Commons in Darlinghurst, Melbourne cafes Seven Seeds, St ALi, Brother Baba Budan – and Beard’s house.
“I won’t go into it as it’s a bit of a cliché, but they’re using recycled materials, a lot of it sourced locally,” says Beard. “They give a fuck, basically, which is nice.”
Once complete the venue will connect the adjoining 76 Commonwealth Street (formerly the film storage warehouse of Paramount Studios) and will house a second restaurant from Ester, the existing Golden Age Cinema and co-working hub The Office Space.
“I think the guest experience will be quite different because we’ve already got this existing, living, breathing thing,” says Beard. “There’s already a community and a love for the building for people coming into Sydney, so we’re tapping into that existing community and offering it to guests. It’s all about exploring the local area, celebrating other operators and suppliers.”
There’ll be 29 bedrooms, each one unique. “No two rooms are the same, but that’s because of the shape of the hotel,” Beard says, laughing. “Not because we thought it would be fun.”
The rooms will have a minimalist design and will feature a mix of heritage details alongside contemporary elements such as concrete and timber, some offering glimpses of the building’s dramatic copper facade. Most rooms will feature an indoor terrace, so there’ll be lots of greenery, and roomy bathrooms will be kitted out with Aesop products.
“We want to make sure we get it right and that it’s true to the existing DNA.”
Room service will be courtesy of Ester, and there’s a plan in the works for coffee service from Paramount Coffee. Mini bars will be stocked with local, small-batch brews, and there'll be a beer tap in the lobby. “That’s if you arrive and look like you really, really need a drink,” says Beard. “We’ll be there to look after you.”
The hotel is scheduled to open in January 2018 at 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills.