In Style + Design

An Extraordinary Stay At Sydney’s The Collectionist

As design hotels are on the rise globally, and Sydney has welcomed a new addition to its boutique accommodation scene. The Collectionist hotel offers a completely unique experience where no two rooms have the same design. It’s reminiscent of a choose-your-own-adventure story, and is disrupting the hotel scene by inviting guests to “choose different.”

Guests at The Collectionist use an easy digital check-in system, are greeted with a welcome drink (between 4-8pm), and are then invited to peruse the available rooms. The choice of room is handed over to the guest as a revolutionary alternative to the traditional hotel check-in process. If a room is occupied then the door will be closed. So, put simply: “you don’t know what you’re missing,” says the hotel’s creator Daniel Symonds, CEO and co-founder of Collectic Hotels.

It’s a rather quirky concept, but it seemed a natural one to Symonds. “It’s a very personal choice, so why didn’t we make hotel rooms that catered to these different tastes rather than offering standardised rooms and no choice in the room type a guest prefers? By providing guests with a more tactile way of choosing their room, they are directly involved in their stay experience,” says Symonds.

The 40 rooms were created by seven designers, from four leading Sydney-based design studios: Amber Road, Pattern Studio, The World is Round and Willis Sheargold. Each studio took to designing ten rooms each, and the result is unlike anything else on offer in the city. The rooms have descriptive labels outside their doors, allowing for an art-gallery feel, and all are incredibly diverse in execution including their theme, décor and overall look. There are four categories based on room size and whether an outdoor area is included: The Bootstrap, The Tinkerer, The Moonshiner and The Artisan. In a world of global hotel chains and cookie-cutter rooms, the option for guests to choose the design they’re most drawn to is utterly refreshing. Each room has its own story to tell.

Amber Road’s response is centred on the aim to evoke a strong emotional reaction from guests.  The Queenie Fah Fah room conjures up images of an African market place, and Just Remo contrasts broody, suggestive imagery with unexpected Grandma-style florals. “Our goal here was to transform a series of non-descript rooms into a chasm of explosive colour and pattern. Our objective was to conjure a specific memory, a holiday, a dream,” says Amber Road designer Yasmine Ghoniem.

Pattern Studio has created their rooms as an ode to memorable people and personalities they’ve crossed paths with during their travels. Nasim is a cosy space with quirky patterns painted on pastel-pink walls, and Joni uses deep reds to create a bold, romantic atmosphere. The studio was also responsible for the natural-stone lobby, which includes a statement light installation by local artist Lewis Doherty.

Rooms by Willis Sheargold conform to an Urban Luxe theme, with timber veneers, bold-coloured carpets and custom artwork by designer and artist Matthew Sheargold. Malmo speaks to a Scandinavian sensibility, and The Den has a bachelor-pad vibe complete with brass light fittings and brown-leather cushions set out on the bed.

Finally, The World is Round’s Andrew Cliffe took the commission as an opportunity to work with local artists, and the result is a reflection of their individual personalities. One is a dark Batman-esque room named Gotham, and another, The Drawing Room, references the entertaining spaces of the 17th century.

Some rooms are more confronting than others, and it’s highly subjective as to what space will appeal to each guest. “We are expecting divided opinions on some of the designs but we are confident that everyone will find a room that appeals to them,” says Symonds.

The Collectionist Photo: Willis Sheargold/Terence Chin

The Collectionist joins the recently opened Paramount House Hotel in a new direction towards boutique, design-led accommodation offerings for the city. It’s worlds away from the standard hotel-chain stay, is located in the emerging Camperdown area, and injects much more fun into the typical process right through to check out. Choosing your room on the night is all part of the excitement of a stay (or staycation) in Sydney.

Is this kind of accommodation offering the way forward? Well, Daniel Symonds believes it is, and claims that we’ll soon be seeing new hotels popping up in non-traditional places, too. “Individualised travel experiences are what the modern-day guest is craving. This trend will drive the shift to developing hotels in more varied locations, unusual buildings and the adaptive reuse of unused space,” says Symonds.

The Collectionist hotel is located at 9/13 Marsden Street, Camperdown, Sydney.

Published 04 June, 2018