What is it? The world's first "Instagram hotel", complete with a designated space in which to take selfies, 1888 is also Sydney's newest boutique property. Located in the old industrial area of Pyrmont, the former wool store was constructed in … you guessed it … 1888, and has been completely revamped as part of a A$30 million (HK$217 million) redevelopment.
Instagram hotel? Yep, in fact, anyone who has racked up 10,000 followers on the photo-sharing/social network service gets a night's stay for free. And, with a media hub in each room, even the less celebrated Instagrammers are well catered for.
Industrial chic, right? Spot on. We're talking a picture-perfect backdrop of soaring ceilings, exposed brick and period windows. Repurposed ironbark recovered during the revamp features in desks and shelving and as panelling.
Will I have lobby envy? Whatever colour filter you choose, there's a chance you'll still be green, especially when you see the four-storey central atrium with its five-metre-tall fig tree. A palette of timber, polished concrete, steel, bronze and marble complements an eclectic collection of vintage pieces, including restored 1950s, 60s and 70s lounge chairs. Two screens give a constantly updated feed of photos that visitors have uploaded onto the hotel's Instagram page.
Woah, there - I need a good lie down: you're in luck; there are 90 guest rooms to choose from. If you just want somewhere to snooze, we'd recommend a Shoebox. Given it's just 15 square metres, you might not be able to swing a feline, but the room feels more spacious than it is and the bathroom is generously sized. If you've cleaned up on the roulette tables at The Star casino down the road, splurge on The Williamson; a 36-square-metre suite with a private entrance. The guest room decor is simple but elegant, with the only negative being that many rooms look over the Novotel across the road, possibly the least photogenic hotel in all of Australia.
What about food? There is a small restaurant, called the 1888 Eatery & Bar. The plan is to serve rustic dishes such as lamb shanks but, when we stayed, the menu was still being devised, so you might have to choose between the cheese plate, antipasto plate and charcuterie plate.
So what is there to do in Pyrmont? Plenty, my friend. The area was once known for its wharves, shipyards and stores and now has a vibrant village centred on Harris Street, a strip of charming boutiques, cafes and shops. The hotel is also close to the aforementioned Star, which boasts top-notch restaurants (Momofuku Seiobo, among them), a theatre and a spa.
Can I ride the monorail? Well, you could have if you'd turned up a couple of months ago. The monorail has gone to that giant defunct public transport warehouse in the sky - and most Sydneysiders are happy to have seen it go. You wouldn't have needed the track to visit Darling Harbour, though, which is just a two-minute stroll away. Sure it's touristy and includes a hideous shopping centre, called Harbourside, but Darling Harbour is still worth a look, if for no other reason than to visit the National Maritime Museum or Sydney Aquarium. Then there are the free festivals and other forms of entertainment held there on weekends. Plus it's a nice place in which to just sit and upload your latest pictures.
OK, so what's the damage? Pretty damned affordable actually, considering the location. A Shoebox goes for A$159 per night. For more details, visit www.1888hotel.com.au