Kimpton Margot Sydney: Art Deco Heaven

Hotel Kimpton Margot Sydney art deco atrium
Grand columns lend opulence to the atrium of the Hotel Kimpton Margot Sydney.

I’m an Art Deco tragic. Whenever there’s an Art Deco tour on offer, or Art Deco buildings to be seen, I leap at the opportunity. I’ve done walking tours in Miami, USA, and Napier, New Zealand, where there are large concentrations of Art Deco buildings. We did a fabulous Roaring Twenties tour of Brisbane in a 1937 Dodge convertible called Clyde. And I have a growing collection of coffee-table books such as Art Deco Sydney to inspire me.

You can imagine then that I was very much in my element at the Kimpton Margot Sydney, where plush lounges and grand scagliola columns — painted to look like vermilion-coloured marble — lend a Gatsby-like opulence to the atrium, and the Art Deco lines continue right through to the original floors in the lift lobbies.

The hotel, which opened its doors in February 2022, is in a magnificent heritage-listed 1939 building that once housed the head office of Sydney Water. Art Deco meets modern Australian style in this sensitively restored building, the understated exterior providing little clue to the beauty within.

Hotel Kimpton Margot Exterior
The heritage-listed 1939 building once housed the head office of Sydney Water.
Hotel Kimpton Margot artworks
Nearly 600 art works are spread over the hotel’s nine storeys.

And while the hotel lacks the harbour views that many luxury Sydney hotels are blessed with, it occupies a prime position on Pitt Street in the CBD, close to the Queen Victoria Building and the State Theatre, and a less than five-minute walk to Town Hall train station. Darling Harbour, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst are all within walking distance, along with a host of retail, art and cultural institutions.

The building had been repurposed as the Primus Hotel prior to it being taken over by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the luxury boutique brand of IHG Hotels & Resorts. It’s the first Australian hotel for San Francisco-based Kimpton, known for its unique, distinctive, design-forward hotels.

The brand prides itself on thoughtful curation and artfully delivered features, right down to names reflecting the history of the location. (‘Margot’ is said to be a tribute to women designers of the 1930s.)

Hotel Kimpton Margot reception
Hotel Kimpton Margot’s long reception desk is in keeping with the art deco style.
The lobby has Lekker bikes that guests can borrow for free.
The lobby has Lekker bikes that guests can borrow for free.

Stepping into the lobby as we escape the bustle of Pitt Street, we’re greeted by local artist Tony Twigg’s signature installation, one of nearly 600 art works spread over the hotel’s nine storeys. A skylight fills the lobby with light, while potted plants and botanical displays provide pops of colour. Elegant lounges break up the vast lobby into more intimate spaces, and there’s even a harpist to delight us with beautiful, soothing music.

Off to one side of the lobby is Luke’s Kitchen, helmed by acclaimed chef Luke Mangan, whose splendid restaurant we have written about in a separate post. At the back of the lobby is The Wilmot Bar, a handsome 1930’s-style bar with bespoke cocktails and impressive wine list.

Hotel Kimpton Margot lounges in lobby
Elegant lounges break up the vast lobby into more intimate spaces.
Heritage features in the lobby hark back to the building's past.
Heritage features in the lobby hark back to the building’s past.

Although Kimpton is IHG’s boutique brand, the hotel has 172 guestrooms and suites. Size-wise, it isn’t boutique. Yet it does have a boutique feel, in part because all the rooms are so different, but also because of special provisions such as complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby for a few hours each morning, and Social Hour between 5pm and 6pm each day when all guests are invited to enjoy complimentary drinks. The location for Social Hour varies and the drinks vary each day too – from beer and wine to a G&T or signature Margot cocktail. We didn’t get to enjoy this as we were on our way to the opera at Cockatoo Island but it sounded like good fun.

Margot’s rooms and suites are very spacious – most have bathtubs and they’re all beautifully decorated in keeping with the building’s 1930s origins, albeit with modern conveniences like coffee machines, in-room tablets and smart TVs so you can stream shows via your own device.

Our sixth-floor king bed suite with its plush blue and gold carpet.
Our sixth-floor king bed suite with its plush blue and gold carpet.
Hotel Kimpton Margot our suite
The separate living area in our palatial king bed suite.

Informative plaques throughout the hotel tell you what the building was used for in its previous life. Our King Bed suite was on the sixth floor, which was where the Medical Branch of Sydney Water was located, along with a reference library and staff dining room. The range of foodstuffs offered to staff included tea, coffee and cocoa, sandwiches, bread and butter, pies, rissoles, Cornish pasties, salads, scones, fruit salads, jelly, milk, orange and lemon drinks. Two services were offered – a table service and buffet service, the latter at a reduced rate. Those were the days!

Our palatial suite boasted a green velvet lounge, marble-topped coffee table with old-style games, full-size dining table, kitchenette, thick-pile blue carpet with gold chevron pattern, and whimsical wall art. The separate bedroom had a king-sized bed, second smart TV and wardrobe stocked with quirky robes and eco-friendly slippers. The 100% biodegradable slippers were new to me and I love them (so much that I’m still wearing them weeks later).

Hotel Kimpton Margot Art Deco
Kimpton is known for its unique, distinctive, design-forward hotels.
Not the bathroom we had but similar. Choosing this pic because it shows the quirky robe.
Not the bathroom we had but similar. Choosing this pic because it shows the quirky robe.

The adjoining bathroom was very luxurious with walk-in shower and separate tub, toilet with separate door, and double vanity stocked with Mr Smith toiletries, most in eco-friendly refillable bottles. “Forgot it, we’ve got it” is the hotel’s promise, whether it’s a GHD, blow dryer, dry shampoo, tie, pocket square, pin, or shoe polish – “just call down to the lobby and the team will bring it right up”. The in-room tablet details the hotel amenities, room service and concierge services. You can even do a yoga tutorial via the tablet or TV, with yoga mats available on request at no charge.

The hotel has mapped out the best of Sydney on wheels, and it has Lekker bikes that you can borrow for free to cycle around the city and nearby Hyde Park. We didn’t have time for a ride but they looked like cool bikes. The rooftop pool had not yet opened when we stayed in mid-November.

Hotel Kimpton Margot The Wilmot Bar
The Wilmot Bar offers bespoke cocktails and an impressive wine list.

Kimpton’s ‘adored pet’ policy means that your fur friend can stay with you, no matter how big – “so long as it fits in the lift”! The hotel is aligned with the IHG One Rewards program, so members can earn and spend points.

Not surprisingly for a re-purposed building, Kimpton Margot doesn’t have its own parking but there are plenty of secure parks nearby. We were able to easily reserve a space in a park in Bathurst Street, a quick and very easy walk. Overall, we had a blissfully relaxing stay and loved spending a night in Art Deco heaven.

Hotel Kimpton Margot Sydney art works
The atrium is filled with light (and works of art!)

If you go:

Kimpton Margot Sydney
339 Pitt Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: +61 (02) 8027 8000

We were very generously hosted for our one-night stay at the Kimpton Margot Sydney, along with the superb bottomless brunch we’ve featured in a separate post.

We stayed in suite 609. Photos are copyright Food Wine Travel where indicated; other photos were supplied by the hotel and used with permission.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our post on the fabulous brunch we had at Luke’s Kitchen, the restaurant on the ground floor of the Kimpton Margot Sydney.

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