New Sydney Opening Blends Italian Elegance With Australian Heritage

Housed within a striking Italian renaissance building, Hotel Morris - Handwritten Collection is set to open on 14 June. The 82-room boutique hotel intertwines Italian influences with Australian heritage.

The iconic Sydney property originally opened in 1929, and boasted the title of Australia’s tallest hotel for 34 years. A rare example of the renowned Inter-War Palazzo style by architect Virgil Dante Cizzio, the privately owned property will be operated by Accor, and will be one of Australia’s first Handwritten Collection hotels. The new global portfolio of Handwritten Collection hotels is distinctively unique, design-led properties with strong local relevance. Each property  showcases the personality, warmth and passions of the independent hoteliers who look after them. Hotel Morris unique personal touches include a welcome beverage on check-in, Bar Morris bill ritual - end the evening by rolling the dice for a chance at a complimentary Amaro nightcap, and a deck of SCOPA playing cards placed in-room.

Bar Morris is the hotel’s intimate 40-seat art deco inspired wine bar. The day-to-night menu focuses on simple, seasonal produce, infused with Italian influences. Newly appointed Head Chef Rosy Scatigna is a rising culinary star. Only 30 years old, Scatigna brings a wealth of experience from renowned restaurants. Born in Southern Italy, a former student of Alma, International School of Italian Cuisine, Scatigna has worked at numerous Michelin-star restaurants , most recently as Senior Sous Chef at two hatted Shell House. In her first Head Chef role, Scatigna is bringing her authentic Italian heritage, extensive culinary experience, and passionate offbeat personality to Bar Morris.

Highlights of the menu include reinvented Italian classics, such as Panfocaccia, which is house made with spelt flour and garlic, from a heirloom recipe that has been passed down through generations. Nduja madeleine is one of the more eye-catching snacks on the menu; a cheesy savoury sponge, enhanced silky guanciale and ‘nduja emulsion. Desserts include a warm frangipane pear tart, with bitter chocolate sorbet and luscious amarena cherries syrup.

The wine list features local Australian favourites, Italian drops and a concise selection of natural wines. One of the more esteemed offerings at Bar Morris is their selection of Foradori wines. Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, is a unique focus of the bar. Tom Bulmer from The Social Spirits has crafted the cocktail menu, incorporating Australian and Italian ingredients, and bringing local producers and sustainability to the heart of the drinks. Signature cocktails are classics with a Morris twist, such as Ocean's Depth Martini with house spiced brine, and  Negroni Speziato with Chinese five spice infused gin with a touch of amaro.

Within the walls of Bar Morris, brazen rich red tones contrast with reflective brass and tiling finishes which bounce light throughout. The striking marble bar is a soft peach, further lightening the space. Textures of velvet for seating, leather-clad walls, and tile and natural wood flooring, create an earthy, elegant ambience. 

Unique design features include commissioned ceramic hands that appear to reach out from the wall beside the bar, referencing Italian’s expressive hand gesturing, highlighting the hotel’s personality. A selection of commissioned and limited-edition art pieces by local artists such as Nick Herd, Gabrielle Jones and Marcus Piper complement the decadent venue.