Review of White City House, London

Rooftop pool at Soho House's White City House - photo by Soho House

Rooftop pool at Soho House’s White City House – photo by Soho House

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Dec 20, 2018

White City House is the latest instalment in Soho House’s global empire of private members’ clubs. In fewer than 25 years the group has blossomed from a single “house” in London’s Soho to a sprawling network of 23 properties, mostly located in Europe and north America. Members are largely from the creative industries (think advertising, music and media) and the atmosphere is emphatically informal – the antithesis of the jacket-and-tie stuffiness of a traditional gentlemen’s club. By definition they’re exclusive, so for non-members there’s an intriguing, I-wonder-what-goes-on-in-there mystique.

What’s not well-publicised is that many houses also have hotels that can be booked by the public.

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Review of L’Oscar hotel, London

The Bar at L'Oscar hotel in London - photo by L'Oscar

The Bar at L’Oscar hotel in London – photo by L’Oscar

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Sep 22, 2018

It’s safe to assume that when preacher Dr Alexander MacLaren laid the foundation stone for the Baptist Church Headquarters in London in 1901, he never envisaged it would one day become one of the capital’s most decadent hotels. The imposing Grade II-listed building on Southampton Row has had many uses over the years – including office space and a homeless shelter – but in June it became London’s newest five-star hotel after a meticulous 12-year restoration.

To say no expense was spared would be an understatement. L’oscar’s interiors were styled by French designer Jacques Garcia, whose resume includes the Hotel Costes in Paris and restorations at the Palace of Versailles. Taking inspiration from the area’s literary heritage, he set out to create something “profoundly English”.

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Review of The Murray hotel, Hong Kong

Bathroom at The Murray hotel, Hong Kong - photo by Rob McFarland

Bathroom at The Murray hotel, Hong Kong – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – June 30, 2018

THE PLACE
The Murray, Hong Kong

THE LOCATION
A prime spot opposite Hong Kong Park in the heart of Hong Kong Island’s busy Central district.

THE SPACE
A modernist masterpiece, The Murray building housed government offices for more than 40 years before being transformed by award-winning architects Foster + Partners into the city’s newest five-star hotel (it opened in January). They’ve kept the building’s grand arches and distinctive recessed windows, cleverly angling each room to make the most of the views over Hong Kong Park and Victoria Harbour. The design of the public spaces is minimalist with extensive use of black and white marble, but colourful artworks and elaborate flower arrangements help soften the mood. A striking rooftop glass pavilion houses the hotel’s signature restaurant, Popinjays, and there’s a spacious wraparound verandah with mesmerising views over Central and the harbour. Throw in a state-of-the-art gym, a soon-to-be opened indoor lap pool and a lavish spa with a steam room and sauna and you might never want to venture outside.

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Review of Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel

View from room at Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel - photo by Rob McFarland

View from room at Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel – photo by Rob McFarland

The Sun-Herald, Australia – June 2, 2013

Finalist, 2013 ASTW Best Australian Story under 1000 words

Travel descriptions can evoke a wide range of emotions. At one end of the spectrum sit terms such as “overwater bungalow”, “champagne breakfast” and “free upgrade”. At the other end lurk “overnight bus journey”, “flight delay” and “cavity search”. Coming somewhere in the middle is “airport hotel”.

It conjures up an image of somewhere you stay out of necessity, not by choice; a place to endure an inconvenient flight connection rather than frolic for a week drinking mojitos.

So it is with subdued expectations that I head out to the airport on a Sunday afternoon to check out the new Rydges Sydney Airport hotel.

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