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Hughenden Boutique Hotel - Review

LEAFY QUEEN STREET in the affluent Sydney suburb of Woollahra is the setting for this balconied heritage hotel. Built in the 1870s, The Hughenden is a gracious Victorian villa with vibrant literary and arty connections.

The hotel has a long and colourful history. Originally built for the Quaife family, it was known as Matilda’s Boarding House (and was later a dance hall) back in World War Two. Now a welcoming (and slightly eccentric) throwback to Victorian Sydney, it has been billed as the Hogwarts of boutique hotels.

Wander through the Hughenden’s passageways for glimpses of the building’s past: you’ll see black marble fireplaces, an elaborate wrought iron staircases, an old rocking horse, servants’ bells and a grand piano. Art exhibitions are staged here regularly, and your visit might coincide with one of the owners’ regular Music & Merlot evenings.

Colonial style trimmings

Bedrooms – cosy rather than huge – are brimming with old-fashioned comforts. You’ll find high ceilings, big springy beds, colonial-style ceiling fans (don’t worry, there’s aircon too), artsy paintings and touches of Victoriana. Bigger suites have roll-top baths, comfy sofas and original fireplaces. For the max in space and all the trimmings, take the Manor suite –  the villa’s original master bedroom.

There’s candlelit dining in Quaife’s restaurant – often accompanied by Sir Victor tinkling on the baby grand – and fireside colonial high tea on winter Sundays. Regulars love it here, and writers often frequent the Hughenden’s café and book-lined Reading room, where all is old-time comfort without the starchiness.

You’ll enjoy dining in Quaife’s Restaurant or chatting over a cappuccino on the outdoor verandah, after a stroll around splendid Centennial Park just across the street. And the hotel's All Day Breakfast at weekends means you won't be turfed out of bed early.

The feel is more that of a welcoming B&B
than a facility-packed hotel. For those for whom travel-with-pooch is essential, The Hughenden is also pet-friendly. Courtyard rooms are designed with walkies in mind and there’s even an exclusive doggy-dining area.

From here, you can shop on Oxford Street, jog around Centennial Park or skip over to Bondi – just hop on a bus at the front door. Trendy Paddington and elegant Woollahra, with its cafes, antiques and art galleries, are on the doorstep.

Hughenden Boutique Hotel was reviewed for Room for Romance by Carolyne Jasinski

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