There is nothing regular about the shape of Sydney Harbour. Actually, it hardly seems a harbour at all, but more of a ragged conglomeration of sharp headlands and deep inlets, each with a name and character of its own – Balmain, Drummoyne, Woolwich, Mcmahons Point… One peninsula which lies like a sharp finger, pointing south toward the bustle of the city, is Cremorne Point.
As any Sydneysider knows, the point is a place of grand old mansions and leafy streets that seems undisturbed by the happenings of the past hundred years or so. Along Cremorne Road, sails and water can be seen over the red-tile roofs of the houses below. On the other side of the street, steps lead upward to the large, stately residences above. One such is Cremone Point Manor. Clearly old, yet lovingly restored, this pale blue building has operated a guest house since the late nineteenth century.
The hotel is believed to have been built in the late 1880s, when a coal seam was discovered in Cremorne. Fortunately, the plan to mine the seam was scotched, thanks to stiff opposition from locals. Cremorne Point Manor has been a guesthouse for about 50 years – Lex Hall, Weekend Australian
‘Most delightfully, as night falls we can hear the sound of [Taronga] zoo animals squawking (monkeys, I think). Later I’m sure I hear the roar of a lion settling down for the night.’ – Sydney Morning Herald
Owner, Jean-Claude Branch tells us more about the place:
We’ve traced the history of the building and as far as we can work out it was built around 1911, as a guest house. It’s been continually used as one ever since. It was originally called ‘Redcourt’, due to the clay tennis court on the left of the building. Long since having been built onto, it’s now the only commercial premises in Cremorne Point and one of the oldest continually run hotels in Sydney.
Today, we have twenty-nine rooms and are rated by AAA as a four-star guest house. in 2010 we won the best renovation for New South Wales (HMAA) and for the past three years have achieved a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ from Trip Advisor.
My background is actually in property development and seven years ago I thought I’d see if I could run a hotel. Since then it’s been a labour of love and something that I love to do. A funny thing I noticed when I first started running the hotel which in hindsight seems pretty obvious. We never close. So, it means we need to ensure someone is available for our guests anytime day or night. It’s quite a logistical issue.
Cremorne Point is one of the most exclusive peninsulas in Sydney. houses are generally in the five to ten million range and it’s easy to see why. The view from Cremorne point is spectacular. During the new years fireworks its standing room only on the point. It’s an eight-minute ferry ride into the city, past the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, so it’s the best and cheapest Sydney Harbour tour one can do.
The hotel used to have a flat sign, but I noticed the Danthonia signs on another hotel – I think it was the City Crown Hotel on Crown St, Sydney – and asked the owner about the product. I did originally balk at the price, but the quality is superb and it really matches the facade of the building. I actually have three signs. I originally ordered one and then a couple of years later I upgraded with the other two. The people who design and construct the signs are superb at what they do.
Our guests often sit in our front yard. and I didn’t want to have them looking at the plain back of the sign. I also didn’t want to advertise to guests who are already there. So I looked up quotes and found this slightly tongue in cheek quote was a great addition to the sign. We often get comments from the guests how they love the place and it’s like home, hence the quote.
Due to the style of the building being a heritage listed federation building, our guests want to have a lovely homely feeling when they come. We often have guests who have been coming for decades and what we strive to do is ensure that we stay modern and up-to-date with amenities, while still providing a lovely homely atmosphere. The balconies and small courtyard are lovely environments to relax and one of the secrets of Cremorne Point is the spectacular harbour-side gardens that you can walk through while admiring the views of Sydney.
There is also Macallum Pool which is a free council pool with views of the opera house and Harbour. Something that is loved so much by the locals it’s not uncommon for the signs to the pool to be taken down to stop people finding the place.
It was a pleasure to craft the signage for a place with such history and character. Thankyou, Jean-Claude for taking the time to tell a little of the story behind the sign!