Fashion and design are synonymous with the 113-year-old heritage-listed building – it was once the home of retailers Scotts Limited and David Jones on Newcastle’s Hunter Mall.
A light, airy and open-plan foyer features a standout pink, circular sculpture on the wall by Sydney artist Ryan Hoffmann. Contemporary Australian artworks feature prominently throughout the 104-room hotel, with guests able to read the story and inspiration of key artists on accompanying signage.
QT Newcastle is the second five-star hotel to open in fast-changing Newcastle in the past year. The corner block on which QT sits is part of Newcastle’s exciting East End development project, breathing new life and renewal into one of the port city’s best-positioned precincts – where heritage buildings are being thoughtfully transformed into contemporary hospitality, dining, residential, retail and urban spaces. From QT, I stroll to the harbourfront in less than a minute; I can also walk down to Nobbys Beach in 15 minutes, passing on the way to Foreshore Park and the newly converted mixed-use outdoor space The Station Newcastle. In the hotel’s other direction is the popular eating and dining waterfront hotspot of Honeysuckle.
From my QT King room on Level 5, I have views out to Newcastle Harbour and of the classic façades of other buildings. The designer interiors are sleek and stylish, yet still understated – it feels like the kind of relaxed place where I can feel at home during my stay. The interiors are designed by Sydney-based Nic Graham and Associates, a long-time collaborator on other QT Hotels. The furnishings feature muted tones of rust, plum and chartreuse, while the bathroom is adorned with glossy, sage-green tiles, brass finishes and charcoal-coloured floors. An exposed timber beam in the bedroom provides a sense of the history of the building’s origins.
I settle into a soft, black robe and make myself a cup of T2 tea, relieved to discover the kettle fits comfortably in the sink under the water spout for filling – a pet hotel-stay peeve when it doesn’t. When you want something harder, the well-stocked mini-bar is your go-to, including some local Tyrrell’s Wine and Tilse’s Apple Truck Cider.
From the room’s tablet, I can seemingly organise just about anything – such as requesting an ice bucket or a wake-up call, contacting a “director of chaos”, or using the “At your Service, QTie” function where I can order more amenities or request room cleaning or a laundry pick-up.
At Level 9’s Rooftop at QT bar, I take in the night-time skyline over Newcastle Harbour and her twinkling lights. The bar itself is aglow beneath a canopy of spherical LED lights. An extensive drinks list includes cocktails, local Hunter Valley wines and Newcastle’s largest collection of gin and Japanese whisky.
On the ground floor, signature restaurant Jana is firmly part of the hotel’s DNA, easily accessible and integrated with the lobby area. Large, street-facing windows provide a sense of community and inclusion as I watch passers-by glance inside with interest.
I dine here for breakfast among lush plants, native Australian flowers and contemporary artworks, feasting on free-range eggs, sourdough from local Uprising Bakery and wasabi hollandaise. The culinary team is led by Italian-born chef Massimo Speroni, who has extensive experience working in European Michelin-starred restaurants. Seated under heritage pressed-metal ceilings and overlooking a cabinet of dry-aged meats and charcuterie, you can choose from a menu that includes a selection of locally sourced produce to showcase the regional flavours of NSW.
The hotel is part of the new East End project on Hunter Street, just metres from the harbour, the dining precinct of Honeysuckle and a short walk to Nobby’s Beach. A Woolworths Metro is nearby.
Rooms are spacious and contemporary with all the essentials, as well as luxe design touches. Make arrangements through the in-room tablet and enjoy the well-stocked mini-bar.
The staff, especially the concierge “directors of chaos, give a warm welcome with their bright personalities and colourful outfits. Valet parking can be arranged if you are arriving by car.
Adding an unpretentious touch of art, design and sophisticated hospitality to the city, this vibrant hotel, including its restaurant and rooftop bar, is a great new addition for locals and visitors alike.
The writer was a guest of QT Hotels. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com