Local Spot: Why The Old Clare Is A Space For Everyone

Local Spot: Why The Old Clare Is A Space For Everyone

By Zac Bayly | Culture FOR LOCALS Travel | 04 Dec 2017

If you follow us on social media you maaaay have heard that we’ve gone and done a summer campaign themed #ForLocalsEverywhere. When it came to shooting the incredible synchronized swimmer Olia Burtaev — one of our four campaign stars — we had to think of somewhere pretty amazing... And where does the best pool in Sydney live? Right on top of The Old Clare Hotel with a view over the city. Never been? You gotta. The Old Clare is also one of our favourite places to sink a couple of drinks after a long day, and a great place to stay when you’re dropping by Sydney (or living in Sydney and just need a night away from that ball-and-chain called life). The newly redesigned Old Clare has all of the things that made the, er, old Old Clare great — the historic architecture, the sense of it being a place to just drop by and chill — as well as some new features, like bathtubs so deep that a certain 6”3’ Local Supply staff member could actually submerge himself with curling into fetal position.

The Old Clare Hotel Rooftop Pool

Image credit: theoldclarehotel.com.au

Over the past few weeks we’ve been speaking to the owners and managers of some of Sydney’s best spots, the locations we shot our campaign in: ACME restaurant, Tatler bar, and Darlinghurst’s aptly named Record Store. Now, here’s our interview with the The Old Clare’s General Manager Timo Bures. Across all of these venues, we wanted to know what made their spaces so special #ForLocalsEverywhere, and here’s Timo’s thoughts on why The (newish) Old Clare is “a space for everyone.” Wannabe hoteliers, listen up!


What is the key to making Old Clare a space that locals feel comfortable to spend time at regularly?

We welcome locals and people that aren’t staying overnight in exactly the same way as someone who’s booked the C.U.B. Suite (our largest suite). The people and atmosphere here are open and where hotels usually tend to point out their exclusivity, we’re very proud to be inclusive.

Image: 'For Locals Everywhere 17/18 Campaign', shot by @crater_au 

Tell us a little bit about The Old Clare’s refurbishing. What was the brief? What were your goals?

We wanted to retain as many layers of the history of the buildings as possible and not take away from the sense of place that they have offered to this part of town for decades; instead we wanted to add our layer to the already existing history. It was important to not only preserve the physical appearance but also the atmosphere that the individual spaces throughout the buildings offer, and maybe playfully interpret what’s already here.

The Old Clare Hotel Sydney

Image credit: theoldclarehotel.com.au

What's more important: creating a space that appeals to locals, or somewhere that appeals to out-of-towners? How do you find the right blend?

I don’t think there is a difference. We didn’t create a space specifically for locals nor specifically for out-of-towners. We wanted to create a place where locals and visitors can go, can meet and simply have a great time together.


There's a sense of humour on your website that seems rare in the hotel business. Does that sort off left-of-field approach to things appear in any other aspects of the business? And why is a sense of humour important?

Most hotels take themselves too seriously and that brings with it a certain inflexibility and stifled atmosphere. We want the opposite, so humour and the ability to laugh at ourselves is immensely important.


Image: 'For Locals Everywhere 17/18 Campaign', shot by @everylastsecond 

How would you like people to think about the Old Clare? What do you hope they'd tell their friends?

A place in a brilliant neighbourhood, where one can meet good people.


When it comes to the interiors of The Old Clare, how did you go about getting the right mix of 'fancy' and 'feel good'?

We never asked the question if something is “fancy” or “feel good”. We want to provide supreme quality interiors that make people feel good while they’re at The Old Clare; but supreme quality doesn’t have to be regarded as fancy.

The Old Clare Hotel Room

Image credit: theoldclarehotel.com.au

Are there any aspects of the Old Clare that a lot of time and thought (and possibly money!) went into, that you wish more people noticed? I'm guessing the big thing about hospitality is that if you're doing your job well most people wouldn't notice how much work went into things.

I don’t think it’s necessary for us that our guests notice particular aspects. All it means if a particular aspect stands out is that we could have done better at all those aspects that didn’t stand out. We want to offer an overall great experience.


What are the Old Clare's best features, the most welcoming ones?

We’re in an incredible neighbourhood and there is always something happening. The team here are such a good bunch of people that embrace anyone that comes through our doors and the lack of pretentiousness just makes it an inviting place to be.


What would you do differently if you could start over again? What would stay the same?

I probably wouldn’t wear Suede shoes to a muddy building site again. Other than that I think I am quite content with where we are.

Image: 'For Locals Everywhere 17/18 Campaign', shot by @everylastsecond