Jude Turner says the three-year, $20-million conversion of a trio of 1870s terraces in Sydney's Potts Point into a 20-room hotel has been a passion project. "We haven't quite worked out how to make money out of small properties," she says cheerfully, "but we're working on that."
Spicers Potts Point is the eighth property in Turner's Queensland-based Spicers Retreats group - its first in Sydney and third in New South Wales. She sees the hotel as a springboard for domestic and international travellers, strengthening the group's boutique credentials in Australia's biggest market and encouraging guests to build trips around its other properties. In NSW, the group owns the eight-room Spicers Sangoma Retreat in the Blue Mountains and 12-room Spicers Vineyards Estate in the Hunter Valley. Queensland properties range from Spicers Balfour Hotel in Brisbane's New Farm to the mountaintop Spicers Peak Lodge in the Scenic Rim.
A Victoria Terrace Suite.
In inner-city Potts Point, the hotel's Victorian-era heritage features such as marble fireplaces and high ceilings are teamed with original and recycled timber floors and roomy glass-walled bathrooms, some with freestanding baths. Three suites open onto balconies overlooking leafy Victoria Street. Original artworks - striking underwater scenes by Martine Emdur and moody seascapes by Keith Burt - and a maritime palette of creams and blues evoke harbours and beaches.
Breakfast is served in a light-filled conservatory beside a long bar at which guests gather nightly for complimentary canapés and cocktails. "It's a home, but you feel you're looked after as a hotel [would]," says Turner. Her latest project is the redevelopment of the former Peppers Guest House in the Hunter Valley, with 48 rooms and a cottage. "We're going to even up [the number of properties] in NSW, then we'll look elsewhere."
Rooms from $429 including breakfast. Spicers Potts Point, 120-124 Victoria St, Potts Point, NSW, 1300 525 442, spicersretreats.com