InterContinental Sydney Hotel

  • 2023

  • Architectural
    Interior Design

Designed By:

Commissioned By:


Designed In:


Situated in the heart of Sydney CBD, InterContinental Sydney is a 5-star hotel that offers uninterrupted views to the Botanic Gardens and Harbour. Preserving the historic fabric of the State Heritage Listed Treasury building and unifying this with a contemporary overlay, the refurbishment delineates and unifies the old and new.

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Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
Image: Trevor Mein
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  • The project faced unique challenges due to its historical significance (171-year heritage of the property) and diverse scope. Woods Bagot placed great importance on their role in the historical lineage of the building, taking influences from the past and integrating them into a contemporary interpretation of the hotel. Despite global economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19, and with minimal closure (only during water cooler and AC replacement), remaining operational as a quarantined hotel. For these reasons, it was crucial for the team to remain agile throughout the build without compromising the design vision.

  • The key was to integrate and enhance the old and new elements of InterContinental Sydney, which blends the three-level Treasury Building, built in 1851, and a 32-level tower completed in 1985. Extensive heritage restoration was vital to the project. The approach was to reuse as much as possible and minimise demolition. The hotel was transformed with a seamless customer journey between past and the present through intelligent reuse of existing structures and careful recladding of elements. Where new materials were added, Woods Bagot introduced high-quality locally sourced finishes that would equal the original building, allowing coherent integration and holistic vision.

  • The project is an exemplar of historical preservation while integrating contemporary and progressive design components. This included the futureproofing of the sites key areas: neighbouring heritage-protected Transport House, the 1980s tower and superstructure. Working closely with the GM and operational team from IHG entrances were increased from 2 to 4. Increasing one check-in to 3 (the park, 2 off the porte cochere and directly to the lift lobby). This minimised congestion, resulting in a better guest and staff experience. Additionally, a separate pantry to the main dining, turning a storeroom into private dining all contributed to a more fluid-functioning hotel.

  • The major positive element of this project was the significant reuse of existing building fabric in the heritage-protected areas. Within the guestrooms, the design initially considered demolition of the bathrooms to create a different layout - this was ultimately scaled back so that only finishes, fixtures and equipment were replaced. This resulted in less waste being produced. With consideration of the site and as part of the project's adaptive reuse, additional cycling spaces were created in place of car parking within the hotel basements. Pedestrian routes into the building have been enhanced at the corner of Bridge/Phillip Street and Macquarie Street - with an aim to put less emphasis on motorised transport.