Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney

History of the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney


Set in the building of John Fairfax and Sons, which dates back to the 1850s, the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney boasts a historic location. Situated near Sydney Harbour, our hotel's building was once home to The Sydney Morning Herald and the Bank of New South Wales. Many of the unique architectural details designed during these periods are still present throughout the hotel.

John Fairfax and Sons 1856 – 1955
The original building dates back to 1856 when it was home to John Fairfax and Sons, publishers of Australia’s oldest surviving newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald. This stone-clad building was designed in Italianate style by architects Goold and Hillings and consisted of three storeys and a basement.

An extension was constructed between 1922 and 1929. Architects Manson and Pickering designed the building in the inter-war renaissance palazzo style using Bondi sandstone and Bowral trachyte to cover one of Sydney’s earliest concrete frame structures. Erected by Stuart Brothers builders and standing at nine levels with a basement, the building was restricted to 150 feet (50 metres) in height by the Height of Buildings Act, which limited the upward growth of Sydney between 1913 and 1956. The cupola typifies the efforts of architects to add an illusion of height to city buildings during that period.

Bank of New South Wales 1956 – 1997
Fairfax Press shared the upper floors of the building with commercial tenancies, many of whom remained after the sale of the building in 1954 to the Bank of New South Wales, now known as Westpac. The last edition of The Sydney Morning Herald was written, sub-edited and typeset at this site on 21 December 1955.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney 2000 – Present
The Walter Construction Group carried out a number of adaptive works on the building between 1998 and 2000, culminating with the intimate, boutique-style, five-star Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, which opened in July 2000.

The 920-tonne cupola was raised 3.9 metres to its current level to maintain the aesthetic balance of the building that by then incorporated three additional levels. While the interior was completely redeveloped, some important architectural features were retained. The original offices of Sir Warwick and Sir James Fairfax on the mezzanine level were restored and now serve as beautiful meeting rooms. The 364 guest rooms and suites were designed to complement the stunning heritage sandstone façade. The original lavish public hall at Hunter Street is now home to The Fax Bar. In 2010, coinciding with the hotel’s 10th birthday, the hotel underwent a multimillion dollar redesign programme, transforming the lobby to include the reception desk, the concierge, the lounge and The Fax Bar.

In 2017, the hotel completed a $13.5 million redesign that included renovated all guest rooms and function spaces.