A Grand Don’t Come For Free

Grand Hotel Rockdale:

482 – 484 Princes Highway, Rockdale NSW
(02) 9567 2493 or www.grandhotelrockdale.com.au

The Grand Hotel has been trying to follow the changing styles of Sydney and its local patrons for the last 25 years. Southern Hotel Group has taken the hotel through many refurbishments, including a sports bar, and at one time a ‘wild west’ themed bar — not exactly sure where that fits into Sydney’s cultural timeline, perhaps in a post-Brokeback Kings Cross. Mark Randall from Cloud Nine Design took the hotel into its next phase, this time expanding the gaming area and reinventing the hotel to encourage otherwise discouraged potential patrons to come through the doors — presumably the Wild West doesn’t scream ‘friendly local’ to pram-pushing mums.

Being a landlocked site, the only way to expand was by making something else smaller. The bottle shop was the casualty, losing some of its real estate to the relocated public bar and making more room for gaming. The front of the hotel has been opened up with three full-height windows glazed with acoustic glass to keep the noise down. Three full-height bi-fold windows have also been added to the side laneway to connect patrons eating and drinking outside. Bringing a little of the outside in, the walls are lined with striped wallpaper to reflect the passing traffic, and the illuminated bar front joins in concert with the city nightlife. Even after 25 years, it’s not over yet, the hotel already has plans for a first floor terrace bar and several function spaces, and we’ll see how the styles of Sydney change, it may get Wild again.

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