Overlooking the lush green track of Warwick Farm racecourse, you can’t help but be impressed by this stylish equine-themed hotel. The 144-room five-star hotel near Liverpool in Sydney’s West recently opened its doors to the public.
Thoughtfully developed by the family-run thoroughbred sales company William Inglis & Son Ltd and named in honour of the owner Arthur Inglis’s father and the firm’s founder the late William Inglis – a gentle giant and Scotsman with ruddy cheeks and a booming voice whom I had the privilege to know as a young girl.
Growing up in a racing family, it was particularly poignant attending the launch of this magnificent hotel and brought back the fond memories and nostalgia for the halcyon days spent at the original Newmarket Sales complex in Randwick. Preparing our yearlings from Gooree horse stud for the January and Easter sales, the more prestigious of the two, was pivotal to our life as racehorse breeders. Many too went on to become champions including Ming Dynasty and Mighty Kingdom who won three Caulfield Cups in four years between them.
Under the giant fig tree, millions of dollars worth of horse flesh were traded in just a slight nod of the head or a tip of the hat. Two saplings from the 150-year-old plus fig tree have been planted at the new premises.
The attention to detail paid to ensuring that all the rich thoroughbred history remains part of the hotel and state of the art sales arena is commendable. Even the wood from the Newmarket stables has been reused to form part of the stables enabling the new and old to be magically woven together.
From the hotel’s motif – a bronze-sculpted galloping horse – to exquisite photographs and bronze statues of majestic horses, the appeal to racing folk is obvious to see.
You can wake up to the sound of galloping hooves down the straight from the luxury of your well-appointed room, each one aptly named after a champion horse. You can then take a leisurely stroll around the stables and sales complex which opens soon for business. You can also complete your day sipping on a champagne cocktail at The Chiltern Pool Deck & Bar from the comfort of your own plush cabana.
But you don’t have to be a fanatical horse lover like me and might I add millions of others to be swept up in the beauty of this place. There are 300 acres of breathtaking scenery to behold including the chance to walk along the nearby Liverpool river or simply relax and enjoy the benefits of the hotel’s luxury accommodation, food and leisure facilities.
It must be said we were somewhat spoiled by the most enchanting evening. After champagne and canapés – including beef carpaccio, duck breast with quinoa, apricot jam and fermented chilli – we had a long table dinner inside the Big Barn.
Within the barns quintessential rural ambience, horse stables and 150-year-old design, guests were served a signature paddock-to-plate menu of local lamb two-ways with pumpkin, heirloom carrots and mint jus, and grilled Atlantic salmon.
After the main course, the evening was concluded in the old-fashioned whiskey bar 1867 Lounge for local cheeses, petits fours and a tasting of rare whiskies and boutique wines. The name 1867 denotes the year the William Inglis business was founded.
To think, this hotel will almost certainly be the place where one lucky future guest will remember buying the next champion racehorse. Equally, it will be where a groom and bride happily recall cementing their wedding vows. For me, it is the place that sparked a million memories of a young girl with big dreams.
HOW TO GET THERE
The William Inglis Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel is situated on Governor Macquarie Drive, just 25 minutes from Sydney International Airport, 30km from Sydney CBD.
The William Inglis
155 Governor Macquarie Drive, Warwick Farm. Tel: +612 8324 3460