If "severely chic but extremely comfortable" sounds like a contradiction in terms, then you haven't been to Hotel Altamont yet.
The impossible has been achieved and guests are offered a relaxed, club-like, friendly atmosphere.
Hotel Altamont is a boutique hotel in what was a Georgion mansion. It has stone floors, bare concrete walls, high ceilings and generous skylights … but believe it or not, clever design has made the minimalist approach very welcoming and comfortable.
Award-winning architect, Furio Valich, was given a brief to provide luxury hotel accommodation, preserve as much of the colonial influence as possible while providing a post-modernist edge. He succeeded.
In 1830, 10 Georgian Regency villas were built on what was then known as Woolloomooloo Heights, thanks to land grants given by Governor Darling.
The one which is now Hotel Altamont was modelled on the first Government House which was built in 1789. Its history has been colourful since making a grand entrance in 1830. During the 1860s most of the grounds and gardens were sold to doctors, lawyers and bankers. In the 1920s it was further subdivided and upmarket mansion apartments appeared. During the depression years the area became seedy and a notorious crime centre. In the 1970s the mansion became the Cauldron Nightclub and operated for 30 years.
The large Mediterranean-style roof terrace is perfect for drinks, or they may be taken in the stylish guest lounge.
Deluxe rooms have ensuite bathroom, cable television, remote control air-conditioning and custom-designed furniture. Beds are king or queen and some rooms open to a private courtyard.
The Loft Suite has six metre loft-style ceilings, lounge, king size bed, walk-in wardrobe and large ensuite bathroom. The area was once the Cauldron nightclub's VIP room, accessed by a secret stairway. Just right for private parties and dining, the suite is air-conditioned, has cable television, VCR, stereo and CD player.
Premier Suites were once the private retiring rooms and bedroom of the original mansion. They are larger with high ceilings and large semi-separate sitting rooms. They have king-size beds, a double fold-out sofa bed, ensuite bathroom, air-conditioning, cable television DVD, CD and adjoin the roof garden.
Darlinghurst is an exciting, buzzy place. It's not too far from the airport, a skip to several surf beaches and loads of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and galleries. Paddington, with its Oxford Street stretch of fun, is next door and Sydney's CBD an easy walk away.