First Look: Hotel Morris

Sydney revival.

With doors now open in Sydney’s Central Business District, Hotel Morris has been reincarnated, returning as a modern boutique hotel in a heritage-listed building. It is the latest addition to the Handwritten Collection, a luxury boutique collection launched this year by Accor Hotels, which includes Wonil Hotel Perth, as well as properties in France and Estonia.

Originally opened in 1929, this historic hotel was designed in the interwar palazzo style by noted local architect Virgil Dante Cizzio. Formerly Bowles Hotel and most recently a backpackers hostel, it retains the original façade with a bold new red-and-white sign. The dated interiors were stripped down, reimagined, and reconstructed under the direction of the Tom Mark Henry studio.



Guests are welcomed with an aperitivo—a sweet honeyed tea upon check-in—and there are Italian influences throughout this property in the CBD’s Haymarket area, with 82 rooms divided into eight categories including piccolo, bambina, dante, and grande. Corridors feature a custom illustration by Squad Ink, which also designed the hotel’s new logo. Additional luxe interior materials include Calacatta and blue Roma marble, brass details, and amber onyx stone.

The room design embraces deep hues of burgundy and mustard with jarrah wood accents. A pair of red velvet chairs and marble table are perfect for work, coffee (rooms have a Nespresso machine), or cocktails. Rooms also include custom creations by Tom Mark Henry such as fluted bedside sconces, an eye-catching burgundy-and-white glass pendant over the bed, and a stacked-cube leather chair, as well as original artwork by Hanna Peterson, Sofia Lind, or Studio Paradissi. Bathrooms feature vertical black tile, an oversized rainhead shower, and Soigne bath products.

Bar Morris follows a similar aesthetic, the 40-seat Italian wine bar infused with a sensual ambiance and art deco elegance: caramel bar stools lining a pink marble bar, intimate velvet banquette seating, marble tables with small white lamps, and striking red pendant lighting overhead. Leather and tile are used on accent walls, and artwork includes a wall of custom cast ceramic hands by Bryce Heyworth (a nod to Italian hand gestures), art by Nick Herd and Gabrielle Jones, limited edition etched metal by Marcus Piper, and photographs by Jasmine Poole and Chris Sewell.


The simple and seasonal Italian sharing menu was created by chef Rosy Scatigna, who brings her southern Italian expertise to dishes such as panfocaccia (a mix of bread and focaccia), flank steak with Café de Morris butter made with salmoriglio (olive oil, lemon, oregano, and garlic sauce), and nduja madeleine (savoury and cheesy sponge with guanciale).

Hotel Morris guests can start their day with breakfast at Bar Morris before heading to meetings in the CBD, exploring Chinatown, shopping World Square, or attending a play at nearby Capital Theatre.

Photography by Steven Woodburn.