The Concept Boutique Shaking Up Sydney’s Hotel Scene

Rita Velour, Hotel Collectionist

When it comes to staycations, Sydney’s hotel scene has it covered. From luxurious penthouse suites to quirky boutiques, a weekend stopover in the city more than delivers, not matter what your style or budget. 

But despite its strong credentials, Sydney is a city that’s ever-evolving, constantly changing and making room for the latest hospo hotspot. 

Bennie Hasheesh, Hotel Collectionist

And in the hotel world, changes are rife. Design teams collaborate and artists unite – the constant evolution of these beautifully designed spaces mean that hotels have become so much more than simply a place to sleep. They offer a unique experience that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is uplifting for the soul. 

Tourists travelling to the city, and even Sydneysiders themselves, want something out of the ordinary that sparks their attention – after all, why pay over the odds for a standard luxury suite when you can pay less money for a bespoke, artist-curated boudoir? 

Pepe Saint Mache, Hotel Collectionist

The rise of the boutique has introduced a whole new wave of hospitality experiences that offer so much more than your average bed and mini bar. Not only in terms of costs, but the experience itself. Hotels are breaking boundaries and going against the grain, to offer something unique and memorable for their style-hungry guests.

So, for those looking for a unique, out-of-the-box hotel experience, Camperdown’s latest addition is guaranteed to spark intrigue. With a focus on individual, design-led rooms, The Collectionist is anything but ordinary. Here’s the lowdown on Sydney’s coolest concept hotel.

The concept

Pepe Saint Mache, Hotel Collectionist

Despite its aesthetic prowess, the real draw to this beautifully designed boutique is the design concept itself. A creative collaboration between four leading Australian design studios and thirteen artists, Hotel Collectionist features 39 individually designed rooms and lobby spaces. 

Each room tells a story of its own; no two rooms have the same design, so whichever room you pick acts as a blank canvas to your own adventure. And this is where things get interesting. 

Rita Velour, Hotel Collectionist

The idea behind the hotel is to “choose different”. Unlike traditional hotels where you pre-book your room type in advance, at The Collectionist, you simply select your room size – there are four categories in total with different price points based on size and outdoor spaces; Bootstrap, Moonshiner, Tinkerer and Artisan, with prices ranging from a reasonable $200-$260 per night – then pick the room of your choice on arrival.

So, when you check-in – this is a seamless digital check-in, in case you were wondering – and after a quick welcome refreshment in the lobby, guests are invited to peruse the available rooms for themselves. The doors are left open for guests to look around before choosing one to spend the night in.

A kind of try-before-you-buy service, the idea is that you get a feel of the design and character of each room before you make your final pick.

And you won’t feel like you’re missing out either, because if a room’s occupied, the door is closed. Simple.

The design

The hotel’s unique concept goes hand-in-hand with its original design scheme. A one-of-its-kind in Sydney, this quirky design collab is an interior lover’s dream. 

With four creative design studios at the helm, rooms come courtesy of revered designers Andrew Cliffe from TheWorld is Round, Yasmine Ghoniem and Katy Svalbe of Amber Road, Susie Willis and Matt Sheargold from Willis Sheargold and Josh Cain and Lily Goodwin from Pattern Studio.

Benni Hasheeh, Hotel Collectionist

Having just been shortlisted for Best Hospitality Interior in this year’s Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards, Amber Road were one of the first design studios enlisted on the project.

Andrew Cliffe, founder of “The World is Round” was originally invited to bid on the project, and it was his idea to assemble a team of designers who could bring the vision life. 

Rita Velour, Hotel Collectionist

“The brief was for every room to be different – a massive task for one designer.

To win the project I needed to think differently. Originally, I was imagining 10 designers doing 4 rooms each, but reality set in and this switched to 4 designers doing 10 rooms each.” 

Andrew Cliffe, The World is Round

Terri Boffil, Hotel Collectionist

Amber Road’s objective was for each room to evoke a particular memory: a holiday, a dream, a person, an idea, an experience – ultimately something that would elicit a strong emotive response from the guest. 

“We employed a riot of colour, texture and artful detailing and in doing so, transformed each room into a feast for the senses.” 

Yasmine Ghoniem and Katy Svalbe, Amber Road

They also enlisted the help of Studio Elke for her bold carpet collaboration with Brintons. 

Helgas Station, Hotel Collectionist
“Making their debut in our hotel rooms, these bold and exquisite carpet patterns, feature oversized terrazzo, tribal as well as geometric patterns and ultimately drove the colour and texture combinations for each of our ten rooms,” 

Yasmine Ghoniem and Katy Svalbe, Amber Road

No room takes itself seriously; one might find themselves blanketed under a tartan ceiling or lying between hand-painted arms encrusted in crystals and surrounded by opulent marble skirtings. 

The rooms

Each of the rooms have their own distinctive style – from luxurious, exotic, to urban and homely – and each of them speak to guests in very different ways. Much like art, not everyone shares the same opinion; the rooms evoke different responses.

Queenie Fahfah, Hotel Collectionist

The mood and ambience of each room varies to reflect the designers’ inherent personalities and individual quirks.

Queenie Fahfah, Hotel Collectionist

Amber Road’s response is centred around an emotional response – their rooms evoke a sense of luxurious exoticism, of playfulness and vibrant colour.

The Queenie Fah Fah room is reminiscent of an African market place, and Just Remo contrasts moody, suggestive imagery with kitsch grandma-style florals. 

Just Remo, Hotel Collectionist
“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,” 

Yasmine Ghoniem, Amber Road 

Helga Station, Hotel Collectionist

Yasmine and Katy designed ten rooms in total, but their favourite room in the hotel was Helga Station. 

“Helga Station was definitely our favourite. Some elements were primitive and raw, and were mixed with modern day nods to public transportation – some of which included a hand-painted tiled datum and hot blue joinery injections."

Amber Road 

Helga Station, Hotel Collectionist
“Another special moment was a photograph our brother took of a lonely German train station. We printed it onto linen and fixed it to the wall with hand-cut steel nails behind the bed. 
"The room reflected an interesting dichotomy of thoughts, textures and colour. The cobalt blue mixed with a dusty berry and rich dark timbers was a combination which was so wrong but so right.” 

Amber Road

Award-winning style

Amber Road’s creative efforts for The Collectionist have been recognised in the prestigious Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards. They’ve been nominated twice for Best Hospitality Interior.

“Hospitality is an incredibly competitive market, so we feel really honoured to have not just one project recognised, but two – Edition Roasters and The Collectionist. We’re up against some serious high hitters in the hospitality game.” 

Amber Road

Panda Sinclair, Hotel Collectionist

Naturally, the project was intensely demanding, but speaking to Amber Road, they were elated with the final result. 

“Although intensely tight on time and budget, this was perhaps the most exciting and rewarding project Amber Road has ever delivered. With a very trusting client, we were able to explore, push and execute some really interesting design ideas.” 

Amber Road

The Collectionist is located on 9-13 Marsden St, Camperdown NSW 2050, with rooms available from $200-$260 per night.


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