Clever, Med-style design is just the beginning for reinvented hotel

I’m in an Oxford De Luxe room, with a queen bed, ensuite, and a balcony looking out over leafy Oxford Street. It’s snug, but clever design remedies most space-related qualms – a curated mini-bar doubles as a vanity, with a back mirror and extra lighting, while a bathroom door opens to reveal a full-length mirror. The world’s slimmest wardrobe fits two items (couples may need to duke it out for hanger real estate). There’s a smart TV with Chromecast, though we encountered some technical issues getting it working. Custom Double Rainbouu bathrobes and slippers, free Wi-Fi, GHD hair dryers and Grown Alchemist amenities are a welcome, luxe touch, as is the QR code-accessed room service.

A mini bar bench doubles as a vanity.

Food + drink

The culinary offerings, which were already strong, have been upgraded since our stay, following Public’s acquisition of The Maybe Group (behind award-winning bar Maybe Sammy). The ground floor Oh Restaurant is now the uber-cool Busby Music Bar, spruiking natural wine (curated by another Paddo fixture, Mike Benny of nearby P&V fame) and unfussy fare by top chef Clayton Wells, made for the warmer months (think tiger prawn rolls, and vodka rigatoni with wild oregano). Menu items can be ordered to the restaurant, your room, or even the pool – though our pool breakfast mistakenly ends up in our room on one occasion. There’s also some confusion among staff over whether they offer table (or towel) service in the pool area; we’re eventually told to fetch our own tipples.

Out + about

The hotel is a short drive from Central and Museum stations, and strolling distance to popular bars, restaurants, designer boutiques and Oxford Street’s pulsating LGBTQI club mile. Downstairs, sister venue El Primo Sanchez has your margarita and karaoke needs sorted.

The verdict

This stylish property ticks all the basics of a comfy stay, with a dose of design flair and personality you won’t find in most hotel chains. There’s barely a trace of the property’s ageing, daggy past – rickety elevator aside.


From $295 a night. 21 Oxford St, Paddington, New South Wales. Phone: (02) 9071 4750. See

Clearer ordering systems (particularly in the restaurant and pool area) would be welcome – a succession of menu ordering fails could be staffing issues, though we’ll be watching to see what The Maybe Group bring now they’ve stepped in.

The writer stayed as a guest of Oxford House.

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