Hotel Review: QT Sydney staycation in a Junior Suite

The Arrival

We used to be greeted by a by a red headed vixen, kitted out in a black burlesque uniform. Her working title was Director of Chaos. That was 2012, this is 2021 and we are welcomed at the entrance with a woman with a golden bob, pillbox jewel encrusted hat and and a designer hand painted jacket with rabbits with brushes of colour. We walk past Parlour Cucina and we press ‘up’ on the lift.

The psychedelic lifts are still matching their music to the occupants of the lifts (one, two etc people) and the doors open into the main lounge which is a riot of bespoke sofa’s, chairs, LED digital art align with an eclectic wall of leather suitcases.

Reception is warm and oh so fashionable as golden belted staff greet us and hand over small wooden discs, which are our entry to luxury. More sustainable than a plastic key card.

The Hotel – QT Sydney

When QT opened, it upped Sydney’s cool currency and design creds significantly. Melding both the historic Gowings Building and the grand State Theatre. The space had undergone an expansive restoration and renovation to morph into a 200-designer boutique hotel. It now hosts Gowings (closed for our stay on a Sunday/Monday), Parlour Cucina and SpaQ.

Junior Suite

The Room – Junior Suite room 605

Walking down designer carpets illuminated with soft lighting to showcase moody wooden corridors we are almost at the end. One swipe and we are in. To our left is a golden hued display cabinet of goodies from Bath Brew to Wondersnack Japanese Miso Nuts. Below is the mini bar and eyes wander to a white ostrich legged high table which is whimsical play on everything that says non convention aka QT. A small dining table has been thoughtfully decked out with a welcome of British delights from McVities Hob Nobs to Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Any expat will surely start to well up at the emotion this little ball evokes within anyone with Brit heritage (this writer left 20 years ago). A king-size bed overlooks a large space which could easily accommodate a comfy sofa for any impending Neftlix binge, but instead 2 designer chairs artfully surround a Grey Goose Vodka and Patron cocktail which says ‘Espresso Martini’ in any language should you wish to indulge.

The bathroom is basked in warm golden light. A section of the wall is slightly transparent to the bedroom. Double sinks, with Kevin Murphy toiletries are overshadowed by a glorious stand alone bath with a cute ceramic rabbit looking over you. It’s the kind of bath you want to be on your own with…other than the exception of a bath bomb and glass of wine. The finale is to ensconce yourself in a thick warm black robe, none of that boring white waffle nonsense.

Out and About – CBD

Whilst its intoxicating to stay home. QT is a shopaholic paradise. We are in the heart of Sydney CBD.  Exploring the city’s rich sight-seeing pickings are an option but we head for a respectable dose of retail therapy. Westfield Sydney, The Strand Arcade and all the thread trappings of Pitt and George Street are our neighbours. In fact, its tempting to shop and drop. After a 50% off spree in Ted Baker, (which is our weakness) it could be an option to drop bags then carry on shopping!

The thing in between dinner…

After all that shopping, we succumb to hotel room coma – catching up on a few emails and then a movie. Kudos to QT. We didn’t need to faff about with our streaming provider. QT has a bank of premium movies on demand for no cost. Oh, praise the movie gods. We swing the huge screen around to face the bed, fluff the pillows, get comfy and before we know it hours have passed, we are happy, relaxed and have experienced total indulgence a movie in/on bed!

Dinner at Parlour Cucina – new menu

Most diners overlook Parlour Cucina on the ground floor for its flashier, glamazon sister, Gowings Bar & Grill. On a Sunday night it’s our only option other than to leave the hotel. On reflection we are grateful. This intimate space is artfully curated with glass domes showcasing history, fashion and thought.

We dine on a sofa for two overlooking the main bar. Its intimate, sexy and the menu reflects a customer who wants a interesting glass of wine, boutique beer and a snack –  or like us, someone who wants to linger longer.


Stracciatella with red piquillo peppers

Can you get any more happiness on a ‘small plate’ than a generous white puddle of Stracciatella with a topping of vibrant red piquillo peppers with aged PX vinaigrette? Mmmm unlikely.  Charcuterie of 9+Wagyu Qutaroselle from Victoria is balanced with spicy pickled peppers which cut through the richness. The next part of the menu is ‘BIG’ which differs greatly from big to, well, um, small!

lamb rigatoni

Our plate of braised rigatoni is exactly as ordered, a shower of parmesan says it all. Pasta al dente, slow cooked lamb with generous pieces is as good as it gets. Root vegetable gratin is a quarter of the size, but wow! It is so good we order another. The rich bechamel sauce is a cosy marriage with parsnips, carrots and root vegetables. Pink snapper is a lovely dish but should be divorced from the romesco sauce which while delicious, overshadows the snapper bride. This is a place which entives you with wine and then you find yourself staying for diner.

We get to the point of wanting to head upstairs and enjoy the room. Feeling like lucky children, we take up our beautiful glasses of chardonnay’s to ‘retire upstairs’, and within 30 mins our cheese platter arrives. There is nothing better than PJs, and Brie! ZZZzzzzzz

Breakfast – Parlour Cucina

Pending your wake up time this could mean quiet or queues. We pick a spot at the bar and enjoy Little Marionette coffee and a breakfast muffin with Bryon Bay pork sausage, hash brown and poached egg. Not photogenic dish but who cares! It’s delicious.

The verdict

QT Sydney really shook up the hotel scene when it launched. Sydeny was overbloated with so-so hotels from big chains, much like our dining scene. Since then so much has changed we have cool laneway bars, popups and increasingly we are seeing diverity in dining in all its forms. So how does QT hold up, close to ten years later? It holds its own. Attention to detail, service and constant reinevention mean this is a staycation which, well, is here to stay…

cocktails and chair action – Junior Suite

QT Sydney
49 Market Street Sydney 2000 Australia
+61 (02) 8262 0000

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).

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