New Sandstone Precinct hotel blends history with luxury

The golden Sandstone Precinct stood quietly for generations, forming an unassuming backdrop to the rhythm of the city. Reawakening as Capella Sydney, the heritage-listed hotel now welcomes guests to indulge in luxury accommodation, exceptional cuisine and unrivalled cultural immersion.

Capella Sydney is housed within the Department of Education building, occupying an entire city block just moments from Circular Quay, the Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. The building, initially designed in the 1900s by NSW Government architect George McRaeunderm, underwent a seven-year restoration and renovation process before opening this month. 

Built nine levels high, Capella Sydney offers 192 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites. Rooms are replete with deluxe textiles, standalone tubs and Italian Frette linen, carrying a custom Pantone and a bespoke collection of vegan, sustainable in-room amenities designed in partnership with Haeckels.

Guests enter the hotel via the Farrer Place lobby, where the integration of acquired and commissioned art heightens the arrival experience. The ground-floor collection includes works by Australian artists Judy Watson, Otis Hope Carey, Elise Cakebread and Georgia Bisley, culminating with a large robotic lighting installation by Dutch art duo DRIFT. 

Titled Meadow, the installation by DRIFT is exhibited in the hotel’s central gathering space. This voluminous lounge area, now known as Aperture, occupies the original courtyard of the old building – the fulcrum from which all the hotel’s amenities are accessed. The space includes two other drink-and-dine venues: the landmark restaurant Brasserie 1930 and McRae Bar, both of which feature cuisine in collaboration with The Bentley Group. 

On level six, guests are invited to rejuvenate with treatments at Auriga Spa or swim in the 20-metre heated indoor pool, designed to provide the ultimate wellness experience in the heart of the city.  

Meanwhile, the ground floor, dubbed The Living Room, is designed as a private retreat for in-house guests. It’s also the place where the hotel’s culture and experience programs are conceptualised, facilitated by ‘culturists’ who are on-hand to shape the guest experience from pre-arrival to departure. 

One such experience involves a spectacular two-hour storytelling tour of a bygone era. Guests who join the walking tour, which travels from the hotel to the laneways of The Rocks, will hear fascinating stories about the history of the Department of Education building, now Capella Sydney, the Sandstone Precinct in which it resides and the culture, crime and convicts that shaped the city. 

To celebrate the opening, Capella Sydney is offering this experience as part of the Capella History Journey, which includes overnight accommodation in a deluxe guestroom for two guests priced at $1,500. The offer is valid until 30 June 2023, subject to availability.

The Capella History Journey experience includes: 

  • Daily breakfast for up to two people in Brasserie 1930
  • Bespoke welcome amenity upon arrival
  • Capella Culturist experience
  • 24-hour fitness centre
  • Complimentary access to the Living Room
  • Valet parking for one car

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Photography by Timothy Kaye


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