What do destinations such as Kyoto, Seattle, New York and Sydney have in common? Soon enough, they’ll all be home to one of the world’s hippest hotels. The long-awaited Ace Hotel Sydney is poised to swing open its style-studded doors in May of next year, joining a portfolio of ten other boutique hotels, from Palm Springs to Portland, curated specifically for the “people who make cities interesting”.
News of the hotel arrives as many Australians continue to endure lockdowns, while international travel has been a no-go for almost two years. But as the state of New South Wales now moves swiftly to open its borders, and the city of Sydney prepares to once again unfurl its glittering splendours, overseas tourists won’t be the only ones to enjoy a sleepover at the newest Ace. The outpost’s 264 rooms are just as likely to pull a local crowd of design-loving, travel-starved Sydneysiders who are eager to enjoy a staycation in the cultural heart of the city.
Ace Hotel Sydney by Flack Studio
Located in Surry Hills, where money meets a dash of mayhem, Ace Hotel Sydney has hung its hat within the historic Tyne House brick factory – the site of one of Australia’s pioneering ceramic kilns. The project follows the 2020 opening of Asia’s first Ace Hotel, located in Kyoto, the unofficial culture capital of Japan. Featuring interiors by Commune Design, the Japanese outpost resides in a red-brick heritage building from 1926 and a new-build by heavyweight architect Kengo Kuma.
By the time it opens, about two years on from Kyoto, the launch of the Sydney hotel will mark yet another first for Ace – the hospitality group’s debut into the southern hemisphere, made possible through a partnership with Golden Age Group. “We’ve always felt a strong affinity with Australia,” says Brad Wilson, president of the Ace Hotel Group. “Though its culture and character are all its own … its intrepid optimism and renegade spirit resonates with Ace’s roots on the Pacific Coast of America.”
Melbourne-based design outfit Flack Studio, led by founder and director David Flack, was unsurprisingly snagged as the primary design partner for the hotel, forging a creative direction that’s aligned with Ace’s reputation for cultivating cutting-edge experiences. “We love [Australia’s] distinctive brand of modernism, particularly in the use of local organic materials, and were lucky enough to find a perfectly modernist partner in Flack Studio,” Brad says. “David’s eye for colour and space is completely singular – a dream design collaborator for our first hotel in Australia.”
Fuelled by a commitment to creating warm spaces that bring together Australia’s cultural history and Ace’s community-centric approach to hospitality, David says the storied site and its melting pot locale each played a significant role in his studio’s design response. “Surry Hills has been home to so many culturally important movements and people, and has always been a home for creatives and migrating cultures,” he explains. “We wanted to preserve the creative, slightly renegade energy of the space since its origins as one of Australia’s early brickworks.”
Brought to life in the cinematic colours of the Australian landscape, the design of Ace Hotel Sydney superimposes the city’s many eras and evolutions in a contrast of natural textures and tones. Ace’s in-house creative agency, Atelier Ace, explains that Flack Studio cited a number of historical references in this process, including the razor gang wars and underground liquor trade of the 1920s and ’30s, the modernist art boom of the ’60s and the Gay Solidarity Group protests of the ’70s.
“The neighbourhood has long served as home to the most trailblazing and resilient voices of modern Australia – a culture coalesced from Surry Hills’ vibrant migrant communities,” says the Atelier Ace team. “Flack Studio embraced organic materials to create spaces [that are] honest to this history – from the acoustic textural straw walls of the hotel’s guest rooms to the striking ochre red off-form concrete staircase in its lobby.”
As is key at other hotels in the Ace group, an unwavering respect for craftsmanship is woven into the Sydney hotel, with many of the property’s furnishings, artworks and interior flourishes created specifically for the project. The custom furniture, joinery and lighting of the guest rooms was all designed by David and his team, including the textile-adorned window seats that encourage conversation, energised by the eclectic buzz of the streetscape beyond. “Ace Hotel Sydney invites the ready rhythm of Surry Hills inside,” enthuses the Atelier Ace team. “[It will be] an active commons for culture, commerce, art and community.”
Atelier Ace has revealed that Sydney’s Ace Hotel (located at 47-53 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills) will also feature a ground-floor restaurant, bar and cafe in the communal lobby, as well as a rooftop restaurant and bar. Would-be guests are invited to make reservations at the hotel from October 1, with rooms available from May 1, 2022.
Surry Hills has been home to so many culturally important movements and people, and has always been a home for creatives and migrating cultures.