The Marriott group’s decision to enter the flourishing lifestyle hotel market with its Autograph collection has paid dividends, with a set of desirable boutique properties benefiting from its hands-off approach. Among them is the Pier One hotel on Sydney’s waterfront, which has recently had its public areas revamped by Bates Smart architects to create a stylish series of spaces faithful to the existing architecture. ‘We took the elements and forms we saw on the pier and embedded those details into the design,’ says Brenton Smith, studio director. The lobby contrasts the rawness of reclaimed timber with plush surfaces like polished stone and gold, while custom-made boat shaped lights hang above the hotel’s centerpiece zinc-finished bar. A dedicated seafood counter offers an impressive selection, but we opt for the Gantry restaurant and bar where chef Chris Irving serves a modern Australian menu from 24-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder to grass-fed steaks.