South-west Sydney’s first glamorous hotel, The William Inglis, has swung open its doors in Warwick Farm. Part of Accor’s boutique MGallery collection, the 144-room hotel is set in the middle of the 26-acre Riverside Stables complex belonging to Sydney racing royalty, the Inglis family. (It’s owned by them, but it’s operated by luxury hotel chain Sofitel.)
Riverside Stables includes 11 stables, as well as function spaces, a hotel and a wedding rose garden complete with an altar. The Inglis stables have been based at Newmarket in Randwick for more than 100 years and it was an emotional move out west. Inglis managing director Mark Webster said the new site represented a huge investment from the group and that it was exciting to have so much space to expand.
Plenty of the heritage has been preserved; the original pavers moved out to the new site as well as wood from the stables – complete with generations of hoof marks, now lining the new walls. “People get excited to see that these are the same walls Black Caviar or Might and Power kicked at before their big race,” says Peter Fitzgerald, PR manager for Inglis.
Each room has a view over the Riverside Stables, and is named after a horse that has been traded by the Inglis family, ranked through the floors: from championship-winners up top, to internationals and two-year-olds on the lower levels. The horse’s name, trainer and win is displayed on a plaque outside the door, and inside there’s a photo of the horse and a painting of the jockey’s silks. Equine-themed carpet, wooden furniture, and buckles on the pillows complete the motif.
Suites are larger with expansive bathrooms (which include a bath) and an additional lounge area, with views over the Riverside Stables.
The mini bar is stocked with premade Negronis from The Everleigh Bottling Co. and StrangeLove organic ginger beer. There are panels beside the bed with power points and USB slots, as well as buttons to control the lighting.
The Newmarket restaurant, lined with arty black-and-white horse photographs, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (and room service from 6am until 11pm). It spills out onto a beautiful garden. Chef Samuel Bull is ex-Bondi Icebergs and the menu puts an elegant spin on paddock-to-plate dining. At breakfast, there’s a juice machine on the buffet and a selection of cut fruits and vegetables to make your own fresh juice.
On the mezzanine level, the 1876 Lounge (named after the year William Inglis first founded the stables) has a sophisticated cocktail and wine list, and bookshelves lined with reproductions of the original horse catalogues dating back to the 1920s.
On the roof, you’ll find the Chiltern Pool Deck & Bar. Named after one of the original Randwick stables, the deck is lined with cabanas and striped loungers, with a well-sized horizon pool overlooking the racecourse next door. There’s also a 24-hour fitness centre stocked with top of the line cardio machines and day spa with four treatment rooms and two plush bridal suites, offering a range of massage and facial treatments.
It’s clear this will be an event hotel. The horse sales auditorium can seat 900 and is lined with private boxes, but the area can easily be transformed for conferences or a large wedding. The aptly named Big Barn, designed to stable horses, becomes a magical dinner venue with one long, flower-strewn table running down the centre. There’s no event space like it in the area and the team expects it to be booked out most weekends of the year.