Celebrating History on the Harbour – by The Society Inc.

 08 Aug 2019

Stepping into Hotel Palisade is like stepping back in time. Built in 1915 as a pub for port workers and residents of Millers Point, Hotel Palisade has seen its fair share of change over more than 100 years – a fact it very much relishes.

Recently refurbished by local design studio The Society Inc., Hotel Palisade is a celebration of bygone eras and thoughtful, unique design, paired with an enviable location perched right on Sydney Harbour.

With 25 years of design experience, a penchant for travelling and an affinity with anything that evokes history, mystery and intrigue, The Society Inc.’s founder Sibella Court has an instantly recognisable style and an approach to design that is nothing short of imaginative. Walking through the door to the ground floor of the hotel is the lower level bar, Public House. Guests are instantly absorbed in the layers of rich history, as the hotel’s past comes to life through industrial touches and design inspired by the trades and workers that once occupied the harbour.

A palette of rich jewel tones reflects the Sydney locale – emerald green leather banquettes, original green wall tiles, and dark blues on distressed walls. Other materials such as the steel-lined bar, dark weathered timber and copper fixtures hark back to times gone by.

Climb the stairs and you’ll find three levels of guest rooms; a selection of just nine suites, each one named after one of the Rocks’ many characters that have graced the area over the decades. Inspired by the hotel’s location, rooms are finished in a mix of ocean hues, reflecting the diversity and changing nature of the water below – from still, calm and blue, to wild, dark and unforgiving.

On levels four and five, Hotel Palisade really comes into its own. The top two floors of this historic building are occupied by Henry Deane; a contemporary cocktail lounge that boasts some of the best views in Sydney. Level four is dark, inky and sumptuous, with hand-printed marble wallpaper, salvaged wooden doors and an indigo-dyed bar.

On level five, it is a completely different story, with large windows, neutral tones and sinkable blush pink sofas coming together to create an airy, bright space filled with natural light, and hints of brass for added luxury. It is an aesthetic that extends to the brass Vestal by Zip Water hybrid tap, offering customers filtered still or sparkling water in reusable glass bottles – eliminating the need for plastic bottles while ensuring premium quality, great tasting water.

“We are always trying to limit single use items in our bid to have less negative impact on our environment, so anything out of a tap as opposed to single use bottles is a step forward for us,” says manager Dom Beinke. “We’ve saved massively on fridge space allowing us to have more variety in our beer offering, no glass bottles for staff to carry downstairs to crush and recycle, a lower price point for customers to enjoy sparkling water, and it’s also allowed us to use it for vodka, soda and lime, so we don’t have to stock soda cans or bottles and saving more space,” explains Beinke when asked what the mutual benefits were between customers and staff on the advantages of the Vestal tap by Zip.

The practicality of the Vestal by Zip hybrid system in creating more space and having a positive impact on the environment is a huge step forward for Henry Deane. For Beinke, it was important to install a Zip system that was in harmony with the overall aesthetic and material palette of the bar. The brass front and timber handles were carefully selected from a broad range of colourways to suit the brass fittings and finishes that were already present within the venue in order to elevate the overall bar experience at Hotel Palisade. Set against a backdrop of the harbour with an impressive view of the bridge, it is the perfect accompaniment to one of Sydney’s most unique spots.