When it opened to the public in March 1970, the North Sydney Travelodge heralded an exciting new era in hotel accommodation, providing a chic destination for holiday makers and corporate conference-goers visiting the lower north shore.
Crescent shaped to take advantage of Sydney’s harbour views, the 14-storey beacon of modernity contained 224 self-contained suites in alternating shades of blue and olive, each with its own private bathroom and television set.
North Sydney Travelodge opened in 1970 and was the first luxury hotel on the lower north shore.
The cream brick building, costing $3.5 million and constructed directly over the train station, was an immediate success.
“Throughout the motel, the accent is on brightness and informality,” the Sydney Morning herald reported on 26 March 1970.
“Wallpapers in the lift lobbies and corridors were chosen to accent the colours in the floor coverings.
“Natural timber finishes feature prominently in all rooms. Sliding cupboard doors, bedside consoles, tables, chairs and bedheads are all-natural timber.”
The building cost $3.5 million to build in 1970. It last sold for $54 million in 1989.
At the heart of the hotel, guests dined in the “Pullman Room” bar and restaurant, cleverly designed as a luxury railway carriage “reminiscent of the 19th century American Pullman cars,” the Herald reported.
“This has been achieved by the use of timber panelling on the ceiling, old overhead luggage racks, louvered window shutters and frosted glass windows,” readers were told, “along with framed prints of the original North Sydney railway station on the walls.”
A commendable English speaking voice and “pleasant personality” was required to work in the short-lived Pullman restaurant.
Outside, a circular swimming pool – since demolished – was built into the hotel parking deck, with no landscaping or escape from the petrol fumes of passing cars.
Perhaps it was a sign of things to come.
The short-lived Pullman Room failed to make its mark on the new-found cosmopolitan tastes of a fast-growing city, and soon made way for “Farthings” in 1974, a more sophisticated offering that ditched the train décor for upmarket bamboo furniture and greenery.