“I loved some and I hated some”: The new era in personalised accommodation

When arriving at Sydney’s Collectionist Hotel, you’re handed a drink and given a tour.

There’s no traditional lobby or check-in area. Guests are instead greeted by the barman and invited to walk around the hotel with glass in hand, browsing rooms gallery-style until one takes their fancy.

The arthouse hotel in the inner-west suburb of Camperdown has 39 rooms, all with unique styling delivered by four different firms and featuring works by local artists.

The hotel is the first project for the new Collectic Hotel brand by CEO Daniel Symonds who, with partner Toby Raphael, created the pop-up FreeSpaces concept seen across university campuses during school holidays.

“I was travelling around the US and there was a car-rental company where you booked online but when you arrived you just walked straight out to the parking lot and picked the car you wanted; SUV, luxury, convertible, whatever,” Symonds told

“I found it very liberating having that kind of choice rolled down to the consumer level.

“So I thought, why can’t we do the same in the hotel industry?”

The Sydney Morning Herald describes the Collective experience as “a revolutionary change to the traditional hotel check-in process, but one which seems natural.”

While Libby Curan of Concrete Playground describes the hotel as pushing “that concept of individualised guest experiences to a whole new level”.

The hotel has been created within a former warehouse close to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital which, according to Symonds, provided the perfect blank canvas.

“It’s almost like an art-gallery experience, walking around with your glass,” says Symonds. “By providing guests with a more tactile way of choosing their rooms, they are directly involved in their stay experience.”

Design teams from The World Is Round, Amber Road, Willis Sheargold and Pattern Studio were responsible for creating ten unique rooms each.

“The brief was to be eclectic,” says Symonds. “When they first did the original designs, I loved some and I hated some.

“But that’s the response that I want. If everyone likes all the rooms then we’re not doing it right.”

He plans to extend the concept to other innercity Sydney suburbs and is currently scouting for properties in Chippendale and Redfern.

The Collectionist Hotel is at 9–13 Marsden Street, Camperdown.


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