The Radisson Blu Sydney: an architectural evolution

Herald Building on Hunter and Pitt Street, Sydney, ca. 1920s, 2

When you step into Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, its modern interiors may divert you from its historic past. However, the property dates all the way back to the 19th century. Read on to learn some fascinating history and discover how the hotel has been transformed over the years to become what it is today, an architectural landmark as well as stylish hotel in Sydney's city centre.

From newspaper headquarters, to bank, to hotel

In 1856, the building was home to Fairfax & Sons, the publishers of Australia’s oldest surviving newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald. The photo above shows the original building during that era. From the photograph, it's hard to imagine the 5-star hotel that now encompasses the building!

The original Sydney Morning Herald building was constructed in 1856, however the current building was not built until 1922 when the newspaper had outgrown its original property. After which, the Bank of New South Wales occupied the building in 1956 once Fairfax saw a move to Broadway necessary for further expansion.

The Bank of New South Wales, Australia’s first bank, saw many architectural changes to make room for banking services and safes. The bank remained on site until 1999 when it was announced that the Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney was to be opened in 2000.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney historical perspective

Above: to the left, Sydney Morning Herald in 1922  (Source: National Library Australia); to the right, the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney today.

The iconic building today

The building has of course had some renovations done to accommodate the 5-star hotel which now stands; with 14 floors plus 4 basement floors. Each floor showcases historical prints to allow guests a glimpse of the past. Not only is the building still standing, but the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Terry Oomens held his first job as a Statistics Clerk in this very building with the Bank of New South Wales. 36 years later, he had taken up his current role in the very same building where his career first started. How’s that for going full circle?

A renewed design experience

Stylish rooms

Guests can step into a charming and historical ambiance with the rooms decked in silk fabrics, chrome and metal-blue color schemes while incorporating the building’s original marble bathrooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows were constructed to provide natural light and a glimpse of the surrounding city. Today, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney has 338 guestrooms and 26 suites across its six room categories that have been completely refreshed.

Superior Twin room at Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney

Contemporary dining areas

The Georgian-style Lady Fairfax Room is an elegant event space bathed in natural light, streaming through the full-length windows. Guests can fuel their Sydney excursions with the Super Breakfast buffet in the morning or book out the space from noon onwards to host private gatherings.

Tip: Make sure to also allow some time to enjoy a stylish afternoon tea at Lady Fairfax Room.

Lady Fairfax Room at Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney

What used to be Fairfax’s lavish public hall now houses the contemporary styled Bentley Restaurant and The Fax Bar. Diners can savor European-influenced Australian cuisine at the two-hatted Bentley Restaurant, known for its eclectic wine selection. The Fax Bar is perfect for early-risers that need their caffeine fix or the night owls craving a late-night crafted cocktail. The sleek and colorful bar creates a refined atmosphere for guests to enjoy casual conversations at a high-top table or settle in for a snack.

Bentley Restaurant and Bar

Historic meeting spaces

During the redevelopment of the meeting spaces, the hotel focused on restoring the original offices of Sir Warwick and Sir James Fairfax into beautiful meeting spaces. The authentic marble, façade of the fireplace and wooden panel walls are vital architectural elements that were retained to allow guests to step back in time while being in a refined environment.

Sir James Fairfax Meeting Room at Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney

A central hotel in Sydney's city centre

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel is conveniently located in the civic heart of the CBD at 27 O'Connell St. Guests can journey to iconic sites such as the Sydney Opera House, Queen Victoria Building and Martin Place to further explore the Sydney's historical and architectural gems. The hotel is also situated 9.5 kilometers away from Sydney Airport and less than 500 meters away from public transportation.

Sydney harbour

Psst! Discover the top things to do in Sydney before you go.

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