Whenever I visit a city I try not to talk to much. The more you talk, the more you miss out on noticing things. Just things. I hear you ask: What kinds of things could possibly be more important than establishing verbal connections with other human beings around you? Mmmm, I don't know...Art? See, actually, I do know. It's Art.
I've come to appreciate that - in my opinion - two of the best ways to have a truly soulful encounter with any city is through its hotels and its art galleries. Both are havens of aesthetic stimulation; exuding something I can only identify as 'silent beauty'. I rather enjoy exploring a hotel without saying a single word to anyone; meandering through carpeted corridors, past numbered doors, eventually finding a plush armchair in some hidden corner into which I'll sink for a good hour. And I'll just sit and be present in the space. As I sit, I'll muse upon the colours, textures and sensations infiltrating my consciousness. If I were busy talking to someone, I probably would've missed the fact that the shade of grey on the walls leans more towards graphite than pewter. Right? Important stuff for the peaceful aesthete...
Same goes for art galleries. One of the first things I'll do in any city is seek out a handful of its galleries. Then I'll visit them alone, naturally. And I'll stroll through arched doorways, past gilded frames, over lacquered floors, feeling equal parts lost and enthralled in the maze of sensory stimulation. Inside the art gallery, inside the hotel, I'm not an object of the past. I'm not an object of the future. I'm just an object that is; complete in that very moment.
My recent visit to (sunnybeauté) Sydney served up the sensory gratification in hand-bagfulls. With its tonally chic decor and abundance of luminous, airy spaces, Larmont Sydney is the ideal location for any design connoisseur to put their feet up after a spot of gallery-hopping. With the best vantage point in Potts Point, the Larmont is serene, unobtrusive, with the kind of clean, minimal design elements that soothe both the eye and the mind. I came to the conclusion rather swiftly that the Larmont's Signature Suite is genuinely a writer's paradise (well, anyone's paradise, really), with wall-to-wall windows and a sprawling lounge upon which you can sit for hours in complete silence, watching the sun glint off Sydney Harbour. Written productivity increases 10 fold.
Should you decide to venture out, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is situated in ideal proximity. I walked there, and found that the gravitational pull of the heavenly building was so profound that I didn't even need a map to get there. My penchant for any manifestation of Classicism lead me into the gilded depths of the John Schaeffer Galleries; where you'll wander, and stop, and stare, glassy-eyed, into the strokes of a Modigliani or a Rubens (provided you're not too busy talking to someone). Even if you don't consider yourself much of an aesthete, I highly recommend visiting the Gallery, and simply sitting in the dappled light of the ornate entrance. Just sit and watch. Just notice things. The pillars. The marble. The urns spilling floral offerings. Art doesn't always need to be on a canvas.
Evidently, although my time is Sydney was brief, my little hotel-gallery ritual was truly fulfilled. Gracious thanks to the delightful staff at Larmont Sydney for making my stay peaceful and utterly restorative. And to the Art Gallery of New South Wales; I shall return sooner than you think.