Inside the Glass by Judith White at Glass Restaurant, Hilton Sydney

Guests staying at Hilton Sydney can enjoy the hotel’s expansive art collection through a new self-guided tour, launched this week.

Created by renowned arts and design writer, Leta Keens, the tour features close to 20 artworks from awarded Australian and international artists, many of which were commissioned by the hotel over its 50-year history.

“Guests and staff alike are always curious about the hotel’s artworks and sculptures,” said Hilton Sydney General Manager Hayden Hughes.

Bower Bird by Gary Christian

“With such sustained interest in the artists and their stories we saw a unique opportunity to showcase the treasures of our impressive art collection further highlighting Hilton Sydney as the city’s premier mid-town hotel for business and leisure guests, as well as guests dining at our award-winning restaurants and bars.”

Guests will have access to the tour via a QR code on their room key cards, which unlocks a virtual showcase of the art collection. The tour starts in the foyer and continues upwards, through the property’s event spaces, before finishing up at the hotel’s famed Marble Bar — a 19th-century heritage-listed room that cost £32,000 to build in the late 1800s.

The first stop on the tour is a 16.5-metre-high sculptor titled The Vine, by Bronwyn Oliver, which is suspended from the ceiling to the lobby.

The base of Bronwyn Oliver’s The Vine

“At the time, Bronwyn Oliver said it’s her view of how guests would meander up through the various floors of the atrium,” Keens told media on a guided tour.

Landcape painter Patrick Mung Mung, public installation artist Alex Scheibner and printmaker Melissa Smith are among those featured throughout the space.

One of the most prominent works is Inside the Glass, by Sydney-based artist Judith White, which was commissioned by the hotel in 2005 and is on display in the Glass Restaurant.

The piece reflects the structural design of the hotel and the use of glass but also incorporates the Australian landscape with both desert and ocean represented. The striking colours are mirrored on the glass wall at the opposite end of the restaurant.

“I wanted to do something that connected to the building being glass encased, and to the idea that you were in a quite exotic glass bubble in the form of a hotel,” White said.

“Inside the Glass is almost like being inside a glass of Scotch, where you’ve got a sense of bubbles, ice and swizzle stick … [There is a] sense of being surrounded by ocean. There’s a connection between the elements – the land, air and water,” she added.

Bec Tarrant artworks which are displayed in guest rooms

During the hotel’s most recent renovation in 2020, artwork by at least one of three Australian female artists was introduced to each hotel room. One of the artists, Bundjalung woman Bec Tarrant, uses chemical reactions produced by combining different kinds of resin on board to create striking interpretations of the Sydney Harbour are from above.  

All pieces have been designed or selected to complement the hotel, which was designed by Sydney-based architects Johnson Pilton Walker.