The revival of the Continental Hotel merges art and architecture

While the bustle and the wide-brimmed hats are long gone, there’s a clever fusion of past and present in the revamped Continental.

Yes, there are black and white photos in the reception area of ​​yesteryear, but in the same display there are more racy images taken by Rennie Ellis in the 1970s and 80s.

<i>The milk girl</i> by Erik Madigan Heck hangs in Audrey’s restaurant.” loading=”lazy” src=”$zoom_0.189%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1. 5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_31/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/f42e38ca332694cd6563496d32fa6369fb5ccabe” height=”224″ width=”335″ srcset=”$zoom_0. 189%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_31/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/f42e38ca332694cd6563496d32fa6369fb5ccabe, %2C$multiply_0.8862%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_31/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/f42e38ca332694cd6563496d32fa6369fb5ccabe 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

The milk girl by Erik Madigan Heck hangs in Audrey’s restaurant.Credit:Greg Elms

Art from local luminaries such as Adam Goodrum, who has collaborated with Woods Bagot and Broached Commissions, is making its mark before it even reaches the reception desk (also containing work by Goodrum in collaboration with Arthur Seigneur).

Many works, including the tessellated white bricks framing the main arrival point, reference the orchid, as this area was once home to a large number of orchid farms.

Audrey’s gourmet restaurant pays homage to Scott Pickett’s grandmother, known for her love of gardening and vegetable growing.

Thus, many works exhibited by artists such as Azuma Makoto artistically combine fruits and flowers in a single image.

Photographer Erik Madigan Heck adds to this sumptuous environment with his important and memorable work titled The Milkmaid 1 and The Milkmaid 2with the subject’s richly embroidered dress capturing a feel of a Vermeer painting.

For the interior, as for many others, Karalis was inspired by a fusion of Gatsby the magnificent and Ballroom strictlyincluding the sumptuous carpets of Catherine Martin (Gatsby the magnificent), an Australian costume designer who was influential not only in film, but also in design.

“A 1930s feeling just felt right to me, given that the Audrey is located in the 1930s Jazz Moderne wing,” says Karalis, pointing to the tiered glass chandeliers and pastel velvet banquettes and armchairs.

With other spaces, like hotel rooms, Karalis and his team have created a juxtaposition between heritage and contemporary.

The guest suites in the hotel’s heritage section are contemporary decorated, with elegant finishes.


In a new guest wing, comprising two penthouse-style apartments, furnishings are more classic 1930s, with velvet armchairs and wicker-covered joinery.

For those wishing to completely get away from the city there is the Aurora Wellness Centre, while those wishing to party the night away will enjoy spending time in the Barlow Lounge, listening to the live music that made the InterContinental famous.

For families, there are the more laid-back offerings, including a beer garden that leads to a sheltered outdoor terrace on Sorrento’s main strip.

“We saw this place as a way to bring people together, a multi-generational experience rather than spending time away from younger family members,” says Adam McDonald, general manager of Continental Sorrento.

However, for most first-time visitors, it is a remarkable reimagining of one of the peninsula’s great landmarks.

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