Historic, 124-year-old bank opens as luxury, boutique hotel in NSW Southern Highlands after seven-year restoration
A seven-year restoration of a grand, former bank built in the NSW Southern Highlands in 1892 has finished with the opening of The Old Bank Boutique Hotel in Mittagong offering luxury heritage accommodation and a window into a bygone era.
Now one of the Southern Highlands’ finest historic buildings, the Old Bank is inviting the public to withdraw from the present and deposit themselves in the genteel ambience and grandeur of yesteryear with a stay in one of the B&B’s five, deluxe, individually themed suites, studio or free-standing cottage. To mark the opening of The Old Bank, guests can stay threeconsecutive nights until December 1, 2016, and pay for just two.
Boasting a wine cellar located in the original bank vault, sealed by a one-tonne door cast in London in 1852, and a much-loved giant teddy bear called Matilda ensconced in a favourite chair in The Library, The Old Bank – just 80 minutes from Sydney – offers guests personal service, complimentary afternoon tea with home-made cake, port and shortbread for supper, hearty country breakfasts with seasonal orange juice squeezed from the owners’ own orchard and a farewell gift of home-made jam.
The Victorian-Romanesque-styled property was built in Mittagong in 1892 as a branch of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney with the bank manager and his family living upstairs. The building ended its life as a bank in the 1970s and fell into disrepair. In 2009, local heritage lovers, Warwick and Barbara Wainberg, purchased the property – then a dilapidated pigeon coop – and, using local tradespeople, began the immaculate and painstaking restoration project to return the stately building to its former glory on Mittagong’s main street.
The new-look Old Bank now features original, tessellated tiles and double swing, cedar doors in the grand, front porch, three log fires, leather chesterfield sofas in the cosy library and lounge, pull cord lighting, indoor and outdoor dining areas, fountain-festooned courtyard, polished cedar staircase, ornate cornices, plush, hand-made, woollen rugs, Egyptian cotton bed linen, feather doonas and heated bathroom floors and towel racks.
Coffee machines, fresh milk and phone-charging points are available in all rooms, sun-facing balconies adjoin two suites and walls throughout the hotel are adorned with dozens of historic photos capturing life in the Southern Highlands over a century ago. Pennies and h’pennies found during the restoration have been framed for viewing and fresh flowers add to the captivating charm. Original stables and a convict-built coach house behind the Old Bank are also being restored as heritage accommodation, to open early 2017.
During their stay at the character-filled Old Bank, guests can visit the ducks at nearby Lake Alexandra, admire the views from the peaks of Mt Gibraltar and Mt Alexandra, which overlook the hotel, and visit the many antique stores, boutiques, galleries, gardens, restaurants, cafes, wineries, award-winning gardens, walking trails, bicycle tracks and golf courses for which the Southern Highlands are famous.
Accommodation at The Old Bank is available from $295 per room per night on weeknights (Sun-Thur) and from $345 on weekends (Fri-Sat). For stays until December 1, 2016, guests can stay for three nights and pay for two. Rates include afternoon tea and full breakfast. Local wines and ciders are available from the cellar. The Old Bank also caters for weddings, business events and private functions. Free wi-fi in house and complimentary pick-ups from Mittagong Railway Station are also offered.