Old Clare Hotel, Sydney

The Old Clare Hotel – exceptional guest experience in Sydney

The Old Clare Hotel is situated along the re-developed Kensington Street precinct of Sydney. This unconventional boutique hotel was created by joining The County Clare Hotel and the original head offices of the Carlton United breweries, a beautiful post-Victorian building that had been vacated many years ago. Chippendale, the urban neighbourhood where the hotel is found, is one of Sydney’s most vibrant and fun areas with myriad options of food, bars, art galleries, etc. Mr Hudson speaks to Timo Bures, General Manager, about the history and values of the hotel, their passion for design and some of his favourites places in Chippendale.

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Tell us about the history of The Old Clare Hotel

The Old Clare was created by joining The County Clare Hotel, an institution among grungy student hang-outs go, and the original head offices of the Carlton United breweries, a beautiful post-Victorian building that had been vacated many years ago when the brewery moved from its urban location to a modern industrial site. Chippendale, the urban neighbourhood where the hotel is found, is one of Sydney’s most vibrant and fun areas with myriad options of food, bars, art galleries, etc to choose from.

Old Clare Hotel

“Isn’t it much nicer to arrive in a hotel room that makes you feel like you’ve escaped?”

What was the thinking behind opening the hotel?

Like our sister hotel, Town Hall Hotel in East London, The Old Clare aimed to allow people an opportunity to stay in and explore an awesome neighbourhood that wasn’t on the well-trodden tourist path. Instead enable visitors to dive into Sydney life, to meet and mingle with locals rather than just sit in an uninspiring hotel bar around the more tourist-centric Circular Quay or Darling Harbour.

What makes your property special?

By definition, a hotel’s purpose is to provide somewhere to sleep, but we feel that a room can be so much more than a place where you simply put a bed. Isn’t it much nicer to arrive in a hotel room that makes you feel like you’ve escaped? We’re not trying to be a home away from home; we want to be a place that you’re excited to leave your house for.

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“If you approach creating a hotel with a narrow, traditional hotel mindset, you’ll end up with another boring chain hotel”

How important is design these days as part of the hotel experience?

For us, the design aspects of the rooms are incredibly important and collaborating with numerous creatives and designers in establishing the hotel is a cornerstone of what we do. If you approach creating a hotel with a narrow, traditional hotel mindset, you’ll end up with another boring chain hotel. There are so many new beautiful ideas brought to life in the hotel by designers that thought about a hotel experience differently.

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“The roof and bar are hidden away from the city streets but open to everyone, not only hotel guests”

How do you keep up with changing customer expectations?

As an independent hotel, we have the opportunity to evolve continually. There is no head office that we have to run ideas past or get brand standard so we can be agile and deliver exceptional guest experiences, always.

What makes Sydney such a great destination?

Sydney has something for everybody. In our local area, there are plenty of great restaurants, bars and galleries. Venture only a short distance, and you can be beside the harbour, at the beach or in a national park. It rounds up Australia’s cultural and outdoor offering for domestic and international travellers.

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What are some of your favourite places in Chippendale that people need to know about?

I will, free from all humility, start this list with the Rooftop Bar & Pool here at The Old Clare. We opened the bar last year, and it’s a fantastic space to relax with a cocktail, some snacks and good music. The roof and bar are hidden away from the city streets but open to everyone, not only hotel guests. For 2020 and beyond we’re looking at adding further fun touches such as DJs and maybe a poolside brunch. Stay tuned.

There is so much variety and so much to explore. Gallery pompom, whom we work with regularly as part of our pop up Bottle Shop gallery space is less than five minutes by foot and always worth a visit. White Rabbit Gallery is also practically next door, and there it’s not only the art I visit for, but also the red lychee tea they serve in the café on the ground floor. I live in Chippendale myself, and a large part of the charm of the neighbourhood is that you can wander the streets that are littered with small cafes and small independent businesses and galleries. The vibe is incredibly friendly and open.

Any recommendations for our readers?

Automata on Kensington Street who we share the building with should be top of your list if you’re looking to dine out.

Photo: Film Plus Digital

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