Hotel Morris Sydney – Handwritten Collection opens this month as a boutique hotel where Italian influences intertwine with Australian heritage.
The iconic Sydney property, housed within a striking Italian Renaissance building, originally opened in 1929 and was Australia’s tallest hotel for 34 years. It is a rare example of the renowned Inter-War Palazzo style by notable architect Virgil Dante Cizzio.
Located in the heart of the city on Pitt Street, near Central Station, Capital Theatre and World Square, Hotel Morris is a beautifully restored heritage hotel, and a unique piece of Sydney’s history. The charming, privately owned property is set to be operated by Accor and will be one of Australia’s first Handwritten Collection hotels. The new global portfolio of bespoke Handwritten Collection hotels is distinctively unique, design-led properties with strong local relevance. Each property is different and showcases the personality, warmth and passions of the independent hoteliers who look after them. At the new hotel, business travellers will be able to experience heart-warming and personal touches, including a welcome beverage on check-in, the Bar Morris bill ritual, when guests can roll dice for a chance at a complimentary Amaro nightcap, and a deck of SCOPA playing cards placed in-room.
Ascend above and discover the 82 beautifully appointed Art Deco style guest rooms, with six ensuite varieties. The Australiana-influenced rooms have exuberant golden mustard tones and Jarrah wood accents which add warmth. Custom furniture, the use of Calacatta and blue Roma marble, brass detailing and bold amber onyx stone finishes provide a sense of opulence and reference the rich detailing of the exterior of the building and Bar Morris.
Bar Morris is the hotel’s intimate and indulgent 40-seat Art Deco-inspired wine bar – a hotel bar reimagined. The day-to-night menu focuses on simple, seasonal produce, infused with Italian influences, set to a hotel-curated soundtrack of funk and soul music.
Newly appointed head chef Rosy Scatigna is a young culinary star on the rise. At just 30, Rosy still brings with her a wealth of experience from renowned and respected restaurants. Born in Southern Italy and studying at the famous Alma, International School of Italian Cuisine, she went on to work at numerous Michelin-star restaurants across Italy and the UK. Most recently, Rosy was senior sous chef at two-hatted Shell House. Now in her first head chef role, Rosy brings her authentic Italian heritage, extensive culinary expertise, and passionate offbeat personality to Bar Morris. The Italian-inspired share menu is fun and dynamic, focusing on simple and convivial dishes.
Highlights of the menu include reinvented Italian classics, such as Panfocaccia (a blend of bread and Italian focaccia) which is house made with spelt flour and garlic, from an heirloom recipe that has been passed down through the generations. A juicy cut of flank steak is served with Café de Morris butter, made with salmoriglio, an ancient Italian sauce. Nduja madeleine is one of the more eye-catching snacks on the menu and features a cheesy savoury sponge, enriched with silky guanciale and ‘nduja emulsion, while desserts include a warm frangipane pear tart, with bitter chocolate sorbet and luscious amarene cherries syrup.
The wine list is driven by local Australian heroes, Italian drops, and a concise selection of natural wines. One of the more esteemed offerings at Bar Morris is its selection of Foradori wines. Elisabetta Foradori is considered one of the most influential female winemakers in the world, and her cult artisanal wines are scarce and highly sought after. Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, is another unique focus of the bar. Tom Bulmer from The Social Spirits (Margaret, Intercontinental Double Bay) has curated the cocktail menu, incorporating Australian and Italian ingredients, and bringing local producers and sustainability to the heart of the drinks. Signature cocktails are classics with a Morris twist, such as Ocean’s Depth Martini with house-spiced brine, and Negroni Speziato with Chinese five-spice-infused gin with a touch of amaro.
For the design of Bar Morris, brazen rich red tones contrast with reflective brass and tiling finishes that bounce light throughout. The striking marble bar is a softer feminine peach, further lightening the primordial space. Textures of velvet for banquet and booth seating, leather-clad walls, and tile and natural wood flooring, create an elegant but earthy ambience. Surprises lie in wait throughout the venue to delight guests. The stairwell to the bathrooms has been carefully designed with striking burgundy marble, white Venetian plaster, and custom red pendant lighting, creating a provocative glowing space.
Commissioned ceramic hands appear to reach out from the wall beside the bar, a play on Handwritten Collection and referencing Italian’s expressive hand gesturing, highlighting the hotel’s playful yet refined personality. A selection of commissioned and limited-edition art pieces by local artists such as Nick Herd, Gabrielle Jones and Marcus Piper complement the decadent venue.
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