There’s not much in terms of lifestyle that Sydney does badly (beaches: see Bondi. Resortwear: see Zimmermann. Cafés: see Bill Granger). Hotels, though, have long been a weak spot – the big ones often a bit lacklustre, the independents often not delivering on distinctiveness. But last year I hung out at Paramount House Hotel (paramounthousehotel.com; from A$355, about £193), which seems to harness all the right elements of design, food and service not just of Sydney in general but Surry Hills, its hot-right-now neighbourhood, in particular.
Melbourne-based Breathe Architecture stripped back the 29 rooms virtually to their studs, brick walls and concrete ceilings, then layered in new plank and terrazzo floors, stunning Japanese cedar bathtubs, hand-woven rugs and low-slung sofas. Go for them and for the food at Poly, the hotel’s restaurant manned by alumni of Ester (itself bucket-list material).