Retro fit

A touch of wardrobe envy at the Kimpton Margot Sydney.

23 February 2023


I have wardrobe envy. It starts when I open the door to my suite at the Kimpton Margot and see the huge wooden doors. I look down at my little red carry-on. At best my clothes could take up three coat hangers. Perhaps four if I hang my underwear. I’m wishing I had one of those huge Louis Vuitton trunks that you see being pushed by a porter next to a vintage fashion icon or rock star.

Turning my back on the wardrobe and my celebrity dreams, I look around at my suite. It’s very Dick Tracy. Actually, the whole hotel is and I love it. From the wooden lift interior through to the pub-tiled halls, I’m transported back into the 1930s when this art deco building took form.

But back to my suite. There are funky metal numbers at the door. I’m in 622. It’s a corner suite and looks down into a void. It’s a bit like a big square donut in the middle of the city. Inside the donut is deep blue, thick pile carpets with a golden chevron pattern ready to host a touch of swing dancing. The bathroom is large with a separate shower and bath complemented by Mr Smith toiletries.


The bed is king-sized and thanks to the concierge who recommended I join the IHG loyalty program, I can lounge around in it until 2 pm the next day because IHG members get late check out at no extra charge (space available).

While a PJ day is always tempting, I opt for a pool day because, for once, the sun is shining in Sydney.

Located on the roof or level seven, there’s an open-air rooftop bar and a 20-metre lap pool with a comfy lounge that I sink into with my VE Schwab novel.

A few laps are enough to make me feel like I’ve swum off my corn fritters and breakfast chai, but perhaps not last night’s dinner in the Wilmot Bar – a healthy salad followed by some very tasty mushroom gnocchi sampled before fleeing to the Moulin Rouge at the Capitol Theatre.

The Kimpton Margot is located a few blocks away, so it’s wonderful to be able to walk back up Pitt Street and have a nightcap after the show. It’s also wonderful to taste Luke Mangan’s Pacific Rim fare, which has always been fresh and healthy. He also serves a bottomless brunch at Luke’s Kitchen on the weekends.

My real reason for being here is to experience the Sydney Festival’s In Chamber. I descend a hidden staircase and am introduced into a safe whose size would rend it more home in Gringotts bank than in a hotel (although there’s no gold, unfortunately, nor any goblins.)

There is the disconnected voice of Alabaster Deplume who is a poet, performer, sidemouth, saxophonist and method music maker. And what is a sidemouth? I had to look it up!

According to the urban dictionary “it’s when someone says something stupid and you mumble a sassy response as you walk away. Usually followed by acting dumb. Wherein you pretend you didn’t say anything and don’t know what’s going on.”

I await sidemouth in the safe on a vintage velvet armchair surrounded by books and paraphernalia that would fit on my grandmother’s lounge room shelves. The full experience is had by closing the door but I leave it open a peek and then the voice starts.

“I seek you,” comes the creepy tones of the Englishman. I close my eyes and listen. “What binds you to this voice in the dark? What are we to each other? What can bridge the distances between us?” he asks.

At the end of the session, I’m directed to choose a rock and write a little note to the next person to travel into the safe. It’s unique and fun and, apparently, almost sold out.

After I arise back to ground level with my pebble, there’s time to take in the foyer. There are six crimson Scagliola pillars that have been refurbished by a company based in Italy and are the only ones in the world qualified to do the job. They preside over silver and pink plush velvet lounges while a gin-inspired fragrance wafts through the cavernous area.

At the edge of the foyer are some Lekker bikes to borrow, perhaps best done before the complimentary cocktails for guests at the nightly social hour. And for those who love their yoga there is access to complimentary Egg of the Universe workouts, a basement gym and yoga mats on demand.

The Kimpton’s first outpost in Australia offers a similar mix of luxury to be found in its 75 other hotels scattered around the globe.  As is the trend in many hotels today, furry friends are most welcome as long as they can fit in the lift. (Perhaps bring a few outfits for them as the wardrobe has plenty of space.)



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