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First look: Australia's newest hotel, the Kimpton Margot Sydney

March 06, 2022
11 min read
Hotel reception area.
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Like a love letter to the city itself, Sydney’s newest hotel opened on Valentine’s Day — shortly before Australia began welcoming international travelers again after nearly two years of lockdown. The Kimpton Margot Sydney's debut in the central business district (CBD) was almost under the radar, but I managed to book a night there on my recent visit Down Under to experience the new hotel for myself.

The 172-key property is Kimpton’s first in Australia, but international visitors will find the chain’s usual hallmarks in full effect, including pet-friendly policies, bikes available to borrow and nightly wine tastings. The hotel stands apart, however, thanks to its setting in a heritage building and a celebrity chef-helmed restaurant, not to mention a rooftop pool and bar that is bound to be one of the most popular spots in town.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

The Kimpton Margot Sydney represents the first of a wave of upcoming hotel debuts in the city, including entrants from luxury label Capella and Marriott’s playful W brand, among others. Low-key by comparison, the Kimpton should be a nice choice for either business or leisure travelers.

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Because the hotel is still so new and only operating at about a quarter capacity, I didn’t subject it to our full review process. Rather, here is a snapshot of the Kimpton Margot Sydney and my experience there.

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Booking

Without all its rooms online yet, prospective guests might find that nightly rates vary dramatically, even from one day to the next.

Watching rates the week I was due to arrive, I found nights for a standard (Essential) room with one king bed available from as low as $220 per night and as high as $385 per night. Points rates ranged from 33,000 to 42,500 IHG points per night.

(Screenshot from ihg.com)

My one-night stay was available for $259 or 37,000 points. That would have worked out to a value of 0.7 cents per point, just above the 0.5 cents apiece TPG currently values IHG points. It also put it under the threshold of 40,000 points for which I could have redeemed the anniversary free night from my IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. I just booked the paid rate, though.

(Screenshot from ihg.com)

When I checked in, I had been upgraded to a premium room with one king bed, one category above the room I’d booked, which usually costs around $35 to $40 more per night and is both slightly bigger than my original room and on one of the higher floors.

Location

If you’re looking for those iconic Sydney Harbour views … keep looking. The Kimpton Margot Sydney is located on Pitt Street in the CBD, about 1.2 miles south of Circular Quay and the Harbour.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

It's just two blocks away, however, from Sydney’s Hyde Park, and two blocks from the fancy shops and restaurants in the Romanesque Revival Queen Victoria Building.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

You can also walk to Darling Harbour’s tourist attractions, such as the Sydney Aquarium, in about 15 minutes. The Town Hall train station is a mere two-minute walk away, which makes getting to the Sydney Airport quick, cheap and easy (about $14 per adult each way).

Architecture and design

The Kimpton Margot Sydney’s main distinction is that its building is an imposing 1939 art deco masterpiece that once housed the Sydney Water Head Office.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

That heritage is evident throughout in features like the minimalist clock embedded in the mezzanine overlooking the lobby, colorful terrazzo floors and ornately molded plaster throughout the public areas.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Visitors can read about the history of various parts of the building thanks to plaques carefully placed here and there. The fifth floor where my room was located, for instance, used to hold the offices for surveyors.

Lobby and check-in

I arrived at the hotel at 2 p.m., an hour before the standard check-in time, and entered through the Pitt Street door. There was a small flight of stairs leading to an elevator lobby with an installation by artist Tony Twigg, though the entrance on Bathurst Street had no stairs.

Stepping through into reception, I was immediately overawed by the enormous space. Soaring Scagliola pillars that had been plastered and painted to look like pink marble stretched to the ceiling, which was mostly a recessed, glass-tiled skylight. The overall effect was breathtaking.

Limestone counters that probably once screamed “bureaucracy” have been repurposed as the reception desk and a café counter, achieving an altogether welcoming ambiance, further helped by leafy plants placed here and there.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Breaking up the space were a few set of shelves holding various objets d’art, including sculptures and vases.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Casually grouped seating areas radiated out from those focal points, featuring banquettes and low-slung armchairs with that roundedness that is a signature of the art deco aesthetic, all upholstered in rich pastel tones and abstractly patterned velvet, clustered around small, marble-topped tables.

Between the coffee bar and the Bathurst entrance (which is shared with the next-door residential tower) was a row of Lekker bikes that guests could borrow to explore the city. On the opposite side of the lobby was Luke’s Kitchen, the main restaurant, and opposite the reception desks was the lengthy cocktail bar (more on those later).

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

The agent who checked me in noted my reservation details, thanked me for my loyalty to IHG and informed me of my room upgrade before reminding me about the 5 to 6 p.m. “Social Hour” in the lobby with complimentary wine.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

She pointed me to the elevators and told me to call down if I needed anything else.

The room

My room was on the fifth floor (out of seven, with seven being the rooftop bar and pool), and I was immediately struck by the size of it. High ceilings and huge windows overlooking the building’s central shaft that let in plenty of natural light (along with several matte-finished brass lamps) made the 430-square-foot space feel even larger than it already was.

There were panels with touchscreen buttons to control the lights by the bathroom door and on either side of the bed, where I also found power plugs and USB ports.

In addition to the king-size bed, the room held a simple, gray loveseat and coffee table with a boxed poker set you could purchase to take home with you.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Closets and the minibar lined the wall opposite the windows. Though I didn’t find Kimpton’s ubiquitous yoga mat in my closet, I was later told I could call down to reception to request one. The minibar came stocked with Australian-sourced goodies like Wayward ales and Coco milk chocolate hazelnuts, plus a Delonghi espresso maker.

Across the room from the bed was a long wooden work desk, above which was mounted a large, flatscreen television. The desk also held a tablet that could be used to explore the hotel’s amenities as well as to take a selection of on-demand yoga classes.

The bathroom felt equally large and was decorated with white and red subway-style glazed tiles.

There was a single, marble-clad sink at the vanity, a half-glassed walk-in shower with a wall-mounted handheld shower head and a separate bathtub encased in a red-granite base. The Mr. Smith balancing soap and lotion products smelled fresh and clean but not overpowering.

Food and beverage

One of the most exciting aspects about the Kimpton Margot Sydney (at least to me), is that it is also home to chef Luke Mangan’s latest restaurant, Luke’s Kitchen. Mangan made a name for himself with a chain of restaurants that included Glass and several outposts of Salt, but he was also the chef for Virgin Australia for a number of years.

Unfortunately, the restaurant is only open for breakfast daily and dinner from Thursday to Saturday for now, so I wasn’t able to get the full experience. However, I did sample some of the restaurant’s so-called “modern Australian” specialty dishes with Pacific Rim influences from the abbreviated menu offered at the lobby’s Wilmot Bar that evening.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

I particularly enjoyed the shrimp toast with spanner crab and sweet corn garnished with umami miso mayo ($13), the lightly fried zucchini flowers stuffed with creamy Meredith Dairy goat cheese over smoky tomato salsa ($11) and the light but satisfying kingfish sashimi with crispy nashi pear and shiso leaves with dashi and sesame dressing ($21).

I also sampled some of the signature cocktails including the heady and herbaceous Tipsy Whisper with cardamom-infused Jack Daniel’s rye, homemade fig essence, ginger liqueur and Peychaud’s bitters ($18); and the Chancellor with whiskey, Antica Formula vermouth, Drambuie, port and chocolate bitters served in a smoke-filled glass case ($17).

The bar serves a variety of mostly Australian beers and wines (though there are some international options) and features a “build your own G&T experience,” where you can pair various gins and tonics to your liking. I thought the prices were a bit high for the too-small portions, but I still think Wilmot Bar is going to be a popular spot for after-work drinks.

I stopped by Luke’s Kitchen for breakfast the morning of my stay and thoroughly enjoyed the smashed avocado with confit tomatoes, savory dukkah powder, a drizzle of green goddess dressing and a poached egg over two massive slices of sourdough, plus an excellent cappuccino. My total came to $22.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

As mentioned, the hotel will eventually have a lounge on its rooftop deck called Level Seven, but I wasn’t able to get details on it during my stay.

Other amenities

Like other Kimptons, this one offers guests complimentary coffee and tea for a few hours in the morning, bikes that are free to borrow and yoga mats and accessories for in-room fitness.

There’s also a well-equipped gym one level below the lobby with cardio and weight machines as well as a sink with filtered water and glasses rather than plastic bottles.

The lap pool is up on the roof level and has just eight loungers, so prepare to fight for space if you want to get some sun. I was only able to snap a few shots between downpours from the series of storms battering the city during my visit.

I won’t formally comment on the service given the hotel was barely a week old when I stayed. But I can say that every staff member I encountered, from the agent at reception to the waitstaff at Wilmot Bar and Luke’s Restaurant, was both friendly and attentive, which bodes well for once the hotel is operating at full strength.

Overall impression

I was looking forward to staying at the Kimpton Margot Sydney right after it opened, and I was still very pleasantly surprised by the hotel. The grandness of the architecture and design, especially in the lobby, was truly impressive. My room was spacious and very comfortably appointed. What’s more, it's a pretty good deal for travelers redeeming points.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

While first-time visitors to Sydney might prefer a more tourist-friendly home base closer to Circular Quay, the hotel’s central location in the CBD, plus its proximity to local transit and fun neighborhoods like Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Paddington, should all put it up for consideration on your next visit to the city.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases