If you loathe beige hotels, you'll love the QT. From door staff wearing fiery red wigs and leather, to the video installations at reception and walls of suitcases in the lobby, the QT is one big performance. There are nods to the building's former life – part State Theatre, part Gowings Department Store – in sleek, pinstriped staff uniforms. Rooms and corridors can be dark but strategically placed mirrors and lighting render them dramatic, and furnishings are bright and modern. Remnant Art Deco features, including floorboards and stairwell signage to the now-defunct dressmakers' workshop, lend character. There may be QTs popping up everywhere but the Sydney flagship works hard to feel unique.
Get wrapped at the retro-styled subterranean spa and unwind in the steam room. Or submit to a straight-edge shave in the barber shop next door.
A stone's throw from Pitt Street Mall, the Queen Victoria Building and the Westfield shopping maze, it doesn't get more central than this if you're after a Sydney retail fix.
Breakfast in Gowings Bar & Grill is à la carte; don't miss the huevos rancheros, a soft tortilla with beans, avocado mousse, coriander, lime and an egg. At lunch and dinner, chef Grant King's lengthy menu covers all bases, from oysters and snapper ceviche to 270-day Scotch fillet from the grill.
In the restaurant bar or the more glamorous Gilt Lounge, the drinks list is impressive, particularly for spirits and cocktails (2002 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé, anyone?). Highlights from the playful minibar include quality booze, a beard-trimming kit, a domino set and a bow tie.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.