Project Team

Interior Design: Paul Kelly Design
AV: Avsound Productions


Furniture: Hughes Commercial Furniture
Carpet: Tascot
Lighting: Domus
Chandelier in Gaming Room: Diemme
Wallpaper: Radford Furnishing, Ashcraft
Louvres: Hunter and Douglas
Tiles: TileTechnics
Back of Bar Stone Screen: Diemme

Located in Sydney’s Chinatown, this three storey Heritage Hotel has been refurbished and modernised to maintain its heritage significance, whilst still accommodating the increasing demand in the area.

Original internal features, such as the staircase, timber doors with fanlights, architraves, dados and skirting, have been retained. There is an emphasis on providing fresh air and light into the hotel. A new internal lift improves access for disabled persons, especially to the upper levels.
Paul Kelly Design was contacted by the hotel owners in early 2006 after the hotel owner Alice Luey decided (after having the hotel on the market for sale) to keep the hotel and run it herself.
Alice’s family has had the hotel since the early 1970’s, and Alice has been running the hotel since the end of 2005.

The brief from the client was to re-invent the hotel and take it into the future with a stronger gaming room and TAB for one market, and to grow the bar market to the other side of the hotel, with Karaoke still being available.

The Hotel was originally built in 1911 and has been noted by the City of Sydney as a gateway building to Sydney’s China Town Precinct.

The Main Bar features a timber parquetry floor in the seating areas with a more robust tile surface in front to the high volume bar. The bar front is a series of solid timber triangular blocks, who when combined creates a relief of planes plus shadow, the warmth of which is offset by the crisp light tones of the Corian bench top. The back of bar display is an artificially aged bespoke fresco, flanked on either side by “Chinese Screen” modulated beverage displays.

The ceiling is a modern interpretation of the traditional paneled timber ceilings. It was important that the Bar design include subtle historical references as a nod to the Pubs unique history as well as imbuing the interior with a sense of warmth, a minimalist clean lined interior would not have suited both the clientele and the area itself.

The furniture was custom designed, and was manufactured by Hughes Commercial Furniture using solid timbers and classic leathers.

The Covent Garden Hotel has always been famous for its Karaoke. This tradition continues in the new design with a dedicated raised carpeted platform and the walls surrounding this area finished with copper-hued metallic finish wallpaper, the perfect backdrop for undiscovered talent to let loose.

In the Gaming Room there is a custom designed carpet, with soft peacock coloured hues as an offset to the gold painted ceiling. All carpets are from Tascot Templeton Carpets.

The ostentatious ceiling itself is a signature of Paul Kelly Design.

“It is important to provide a feeling of indulgence and opulence in all our gaming rooms and we have achieved that here by painting the ceiling in gold and punctuating it with two custom chandeliers,” explained Paul. “Both the chandeliers (fabricated by Diemme) and the coffers in which they are housed are lit with colour changing LED’s.”

As is so essential to the success of any Gaming Rooms with the current smoking bans, the new design includes an outdoor smoking area. A central pebbled courtyard serving this area, provides a visual focus for both inside and outside spaces.

With the TAB and Gaming Entry Foyer, entry from Hay St is under a purpose built signage hood containing a spray of subtly fading LED’s hinting at the Gaming Rooms beyond. Upon entry the hallway is bounded by timber clad columns and flocked wall paper. As this area serves as a foyer to both the TAB and Gaming areas, the materials used are picked up as highlights in both rooms

In the TAB the tones and materials throughout are subtle and subdued; conceptually this space has a ‘gentleman’s club’ aesthetic, with warm timber tones to the bounding race wall and a deep chocolate carpet. The smoking area serving the TAB faces onto Hay Street. This connection with the street is something the Hotel lacked previously, and is now one of the most popular areas in the Pub for the regulars to gather and watch the passing crowds. This area also helps to give the Pub a presence on Hay St affording the Gaming and TAB markets a separate entry.

For ease of maintenance the palette for the toilets has been kept to a restrained white gloss tiles and a sand toned floor. But as a way of introducing a piece of light relief Paul Kelly Design has used wallpaper in the ceiling which comprised of giant jungle leaves in vibrant greens.

“Right from the concept, we have been mindful of the pubs cultural history as well as it pivotal location at the bounding entry gates to Chinatown,” said Paul. “Our design has references to Chinese design motifs as well as using classic materials throughout.

“The renovations intended to provide an interior that the regulars could comfortable return to, as well as entice a new market of patrons of tourists as well as well as the pre and post Show crowds from the adjoining Entertainment Centre.”

“It was essential austerity is to be avoided, as the least successful renovations, we believe, are those who strip the interior bear in pursuit of the ‘now interior’. This Pub should be welcoming and on some level familiar, where you can wile the afternoon away people watching.”