“Just opened! A Victorian convent reinvented as a retro-inspired guesthouse in hipster Surry Hills”
Like its neighbourhood, the guesthouse is an arty and eclectic mix of old and new, set in a cleverly converted 1920s convent. A contemporary brick, glass and steel extension has been stitched onto the old building, and the 35 bedrooms and lounge areas are spread between the 2 parts. Inspired by 1920s and 1970s design, interiors are a hedonistic palette of crushed velvets, printed fabrics, geometric wallpapers and terrazzo and marble surfaces in pinks, greens and blues. Large glass windows flood the building with light, and the stairwell houses a portrait of infamous madam and crime boss, Tilly Devine — a nod to Surry's gritty past. Utterly unique.
- Surry Hills itself: a buzzy, villagey feel, with great eateries, coffee hubs and vintage boutiques
- Super-comfortable beds with down pillows and quality white linens
- The relaxed ambiance; grab a drink from the honesty bar and head up to the rooftop terrace to admire the architecture of Little Albion
- Great value in an increasingly expensive city
- Hyde Park, the Opera House and Darling Harbour are all walkable from here
- Surry Hills is still a little bit rough around the edges
- There's no restaurant, but that's hardly a problem in this neighbourhood
- While children are welcome, we think it's best suited to adults
- Our Smart TV internet hotspot dropped out frequently
- Some rooms face onto adjacent buildings and are a bit dark, but the interiors are the focus anyway
Best time to go
Little Albion is in a perfect location for events in The Sydney Festival (January), Vivid Sydney (May-June) The Sydney Film Festival (June) and The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade (March).
The least-exciting time to stay in any inner Sydney suburb is between New Year and mid Jan, when everything closes down because the locals take holidays. If you visited during these weeks you could wonder where all the fun is!”
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast only, restaurants all around
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Bedrooms are bundles of retro-inspired fun, with luxe touches and tons of space in the larger ones. Oversized beds are wrapped in white linens, with down pillows and customised timber bedheads; Smart TVs come as standard and we loved the funky adjustable brass reading lights and Art Deco velvet chairs in pops of bright colour. Clever multipurpose room dividers include a basin, fridge, safe and rails for hanging clothes. This place may call itself a guesthouse, but the look and feel is pure boutique hotel.
Bathrooms are indulgent, too: marble tiles, quirky brass mirrors and Molton Brown toiletries. In larger rooms, deep free-standing tubs are strategically placed for gazing through a window or skylight; smaller rooms have cleverly designed opaque glass shower cubicles.
There are 6 different room types ranging from the Crash Pad (15 sq.m, designed for the single traveller), up to the ginormous Big Albion for a special occasion. My 'Master' room featured a large north-facing window and pink upholstered window seat looking directly onto the adjacent church roof. Gorgeous mid-morning sun poured into the room from 10am onwards, making our check-out even more reluctant.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Safe box
- Smart TV
There's no restaurant here but breakfast is included in the overnight rate and served in the lounge: bakery breads, pastries, granola, fruit and fresh orange juice.
For other meals, Surry Hills teems with popular restaurants and great little eateries. Try Xage for Vietnamese street food, including an amazing slow-cooked pork kho, and Longrain for upmarket Thai. Argentinian Porteño is a carnivore's dream.
Snacks, fruit and Nespresso coffees are available 24/7 in the lounge, and there's an honesty bar with a good selection of wines, spirits and cocktail ingredients. In-room refreshments include a selection of T2 teas, instant coffee, biscuits and a choice of fresh milks - including soy or almond, which we thought pretty impressive.
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Explore the 'hood. Brunch at South-American inspired Rueben Hills, drink speciality coffee in the Paramount Coffee Project, and browse the vintage shops on nearby Crown Street
- Walk north into the city though peaceful Hyde Park. From there, spend a day doing the sights: the Art Gallery of NSW, the Botanic Gardens (don't miss the Rainforest and Herb gardens), the MCA at The Rocks, and of course, the harbourfront with the world-famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge
- Catch bus 374 for a day on Coogee Beach. Don't miss a swim in its tidal ocean pool, Wiley's Baths. Or lounge with locals at the beautiful Prince Alfred Park pool, a 15-min walk from Little Albion
- Walk to Darling Harbour via Chinatown (stopping on the way for dumplings at Din Tai Fung) and spend a day strolling its boardwalks and people-watching
- Back at Little Albion, take a glass of wine and a camera to the rooftop terrace for sunset views of Surry Hills
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Wine tasting
Children are welcome, but the style of guesthouse and location make it best suited to adults and older children.
Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Sweets can be set up as twin rooms and have space for a baby cot or extra bed. All other rooms have double beds and space for a baby cot.