Luxury boutique hotel planned for Sydney’s CBD

Pictured: rendering of the rooftop lounge at the proposed Sydney boutique hotel.
Icon Developments, a subsidiary of Japanese property and construction giant Kajima Corporation, is partnering with Sydney-based boutique developer Icon Oceania on a 229-key hotel in Sydney’s CBD.

The joint venture is preparing to lodge development plans for the 23-storey, AUD265 million project in the Australian metropolis.

‘Vertigo’ first

Tapping into the city’s tightly held hotel market and the emerging boutique accommodation sector, plans call for a rooftop bar and infinity pool with expansive city and Darling Harbour views, spacious heritage suites and an Australian-first ‘Vertigo Suite’ featuring a transparent glass floor.

Designed by SJB Architects, the blueprint draws on the site’s film industry history. Located at 499 Kent Street, it is home to the heritage-listed RCA House, which was purpose-built in 1936 as the Sydney distribution headquarters and film exchange for what is now Universal Studios.

Proposed timeline

Pending planning approval, construction is slated to begin in 2024, with the hotel to open in 2026.

Hotel consultants Dransfield Hotels & Resorts has been conducting an operator selection process. MD Dean Dransfield revealed: “We have been impressed by the incredible level of operator interest in transforming and interpreting this site, recognising this unique opportunity and the continuing shortage of quality approved sites in Sydney. It has exceeded our initial expectations.”

Australian debut

499 Kent Street will be Icon Development’s first hotel project in the Australian market. Chief executive Matthew Bourke said: “The project unlocks an exciting opportunity to introduce a new lifestyle hotel brand into the Sydney marketplace.

“We are delighted to partner with Icon Oceania in delivering a new hotel to Sydney and unlocking a premium offering at this outstanding location. Our vision is for this property to become a hotel of choice for corporate, leisure and event guests in the strong-performing Sydney market.”

Lifestyle hotel at scale

Icon Oceania MD Nico Tjen commented: “The hotel signifies the next generation of experiential bespoke hotel offerings delivered on a grander magnitude.

“In Sydney, there’s been an impressive reception to hotels that celebrate the local culture and surroundings to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences. At 229 keys, we are hitting a sweet spot that allows us to take the true essence of a lifestyle hotel and deliver it at scale.

“We live in a social media world where people chase experiences and create Instagram memories — our hotel is not just a place to stay but a place that creates memories to last a lifetime.”

History and future celebration

SJB director Adam Haddow added: “SJB is incredibly excited to be partnering with Icon Oceania & Icon Kajima to deliver a unique lifestyle offering.

“The architecture and interior design of the hotel celebrates the city’s history and future – connecting it to its rich indigenous and colonial past while creating a space for people to celebrate their lives. The building will make a unique contribution to the fabric of the city, there will be joy and delight and a boutique luxury offering that the Sydney hotel scene really lacks.”