This former Rural Bank of NSW went through two years of detailed renovation and restoration to its once opulent art deco interiors before being dressed in ultra plush furnishings and fine art from around the globe.
Charleston jazz of the 1930s, featuring cool horns, sets the mood as you step into the bright and airy Club Lounge, the heart of CIRCA 1936. Expansive and grand, with high ceilings and charmingly detailed deco embellishments, this is where guests are greeted with welcome drinks and hand towels on arrival. It also is where guests take breakfast and dinner. Dining tables topped with highly polished 60mm-thick petrified wood slabs share the space with a Steck baby grand piano, crafted in New York at the height of the Deco period and famously used in the grand hotels of the era. On most Friday and Saturday evenings CIRCA takes on a bit of New York style when local pianist Samuel Taylor plays the classic American songbook. Clearly, we’ve stepped back into a golden age of travel and hospitality, then the penny drops: Hotel veterans Kevin and Ririn Yaxley are the owner/managers here and they are renowned for delivering service above and beyond that usually found.
Just one example of the groundbreaking features of CIRCA 1936 is early check-in from 10am and late check-out at 5pm, allowing guests to fully enjoy the attractions of both hotel and region on arrival and departure days. There’s a New York-trained butler who supervises a long list of personalised services. Room inclusions feature a cooked gourmet breakfast, morning and afternoon teas, plus all beverages. Select premium regional wines and cocktails accompany a 10-course tapas-style dinner served in the Club Lounge. The lemongrass chicken tartare with sweet minted yoghurt is fresh and flavoursome; the smoked salmon with caviar and cream cheese as delightful as the locally produced smoked bresaola. All ingredients are impeccably sourced, many locally. The slow, non-fussy grazing feast is relaxing – a great way for guests to unwind and indulge before retiring to their suites, where the bathrooms alone match many modern hotel suites for size.
There are three ensuite rooms, spacious and modern, each outfitted with quality linens, down quilts plus the option of air-conditioning or opening windows and ceiling fans as preferred. Each suite is individually styled, including one that meets accessibility standards (a wheelchair-compliant lift will get you there in style). Bed and breakfast rates start from $450 a night and from $700 during the week for a suite that includes $200 a day credit towards in-house spa menu treatments, and a host of other inclusions too numerous to mention.
CIRCA 1936 surprises, delights and surpasses even the highest expectations for genuine hospitality. bycirca.com/circa-1936