Capella Sydney Hotel: Blending Heritage with High-End Hospitality

Discover the Capella Sydney Hotel, designed by Make Architects and located in Sydney, Australia. This 5-star hotel within the historic Sandstone Precinct combines Edwardian Baroque sophistication with modern luxury. With a heritage-listed facade and contemporary amenities across 192 guest rooms, it’s a testament to exquisite design harmonizing with Sydney’s vibrant city life.

Urban cityscape with a mix of historic and contemporary buildings.
Elegant indoor garden with pendant lights, lush greenery, and contemporary furnishings.
Elegant living room with black room divider, grey sofa, and floor lamp.
Elegant restaurant interior with arches, tiled floors, and stylish lighting.
Elegant interior with black and white tiles, plush seating, and decorative lighting.
Contemporary interior with artistic wall piece, seating area, and ambient lighting.
Chic living room with large arched window and elegant decor.
Elegant room with neutral tones, large windows, and stylish furniture.
Elegant hotel room with sleek furniture and a blue accent chair.
Modern room with wooden walls, skylight, and minimalist decor.
Elegant indoor pool with neoclassical design elements.

About Capella Sydney Hotel

Rediscovering Heritage Through Luxury at Capella Sydney Hotel

Embarking on a journey through time, the Capella Sydney Hotel emerges as a beacon of architectural prowess and interior magnificence. Situated merely 1312 feet (400 meters) from the iconic Sydney Harbour, the hotel has transformed the historic former Department of Education building into a 5-star sanctuary. Under the expert guidance of Make Architects, appointed by the prestigious Pontiac Land Group, this Edwardian Baroque landmark has been sensitively reimagined, marrying its storied past with the luxuries of modern hospitality. For the first time in its history, the ground floor doors have been opened wide to welcome the public into its grandeur, thanks to the interior design finesse of BAR Studio.

A Harmonious Fusion of Old and New

In collaboration with Heritage NSW and the City of Sydney, the project has painstakingly unveiled the building’s original charm, dating back to 1912 and conceived by George McRae. With its majestic Florentine-Palazzo style facade and marble-laden entries, Capella Sydney stands as a testament to McRae’s vision, now catering to a global clientele. This transformation introduces 192 guest rooms, versatile event spaces, and three unique bar and restaurant settings, intertwining seamlessly with the city’s pulsating heart.

Originally erected as two distinct halves over a century ago, the hotel’s redesign tackles the challenges of modernization while preserving the authenticity of its internal spaces — previously altered through ad hoc renovations. Core to this renovation has been the restoration of McRae’s design principles, notably through the revival of its internal garden courtyard, now dubbed Aperture, inviting both guests and locals to its serene ambiance.

Elevated Wellbeing and Bespoke Elegance

The conservation efforts extend to the sixth-floor gallery, repurposed as the award-winning Auriga Spa. This wellness oasis features a 65-foot (20-meter) swimming pool, ensconced under heritage copper roof lanterns, now ingeniously retrofitted to illuminate the space with diffused daylight. An engineering marvel, this swimming pool seamlessly integrates into the hotel’s historic blueprint.

Moreover, the addition of four contemporary floors establishes a new visual dialogue with the city, through a design that respects the original sandstone edifice while adding a modern touch. Guest rooms span the heritage and new segments of the hotel, distinctly designed to highlight the original window proportions and integrate contemporary amenities without detracting from the structural integrity.

A Dialog Between Eras

BAR Studio’s interiors pay homage to the building’s utilitarian roots while infusing it with modern-day sophistication. The design narrative channels the original architecture’s rationalism, complemented by gestures that nod to its industrial age origins — through the use of black steel and timber-framed portals, marking a transition across spaces. The guest rooms echo this theme, with dark wood and metal highlighting zones within each space, and campaign furniture adding a touch of historical reference and functionality.

The Capella Sydney Hotel now serves as a natural conduit between the urban fabric of Farrer Place and its internal courtyard. It stands not just as a place of luxury accommodation but as a cultural artifact that narrates the profound connections between history, architecture, and the rhythms of contemporary life.

Photography by Timothy Kaye
Visit Make Architects

- by Matt Watts