Carrington Hotel: Grand Old Lady of Katoomba Comes of Age

Lording over the main street of Katoomba, its imposing curved driveway announcing its grand and ornate exterior, is one of the Blue Mountains’ oldest hotels – The Carrington. Opened in 1882 and originally called The Great Western, the hotel heralded a new era of tourism for Katoomba, which had until then been a “nondescript little mining town” originally bearing the comical name of The Crushers.

CH Snow Exterior 2The timeless elegance of the past meets the best of modern hospitality at Katoomba’s Carrington Hotel.

By Julie Miller

Step inside The Carrington, and you are immediately transported to a more gracious era. Stained glass windows, sweeping staircases and a glorious leadlight dome presiding over an interior bar are just some of the eye-popping features that represent some of the best-preserved Art Nouveau and early 20th century interior design elements in Australia.

CH Room 33 1

Changing its name to The Carrington in 1886 (in honour of the Governor of NSW, Lord Carrington), the hotel really came into its own under the ownership of Sir James Joynton Smith, who purchased the property in 1911. Under his visionary leadership, The Carrington became a symbol of luxury: he was responsible for adding the Italian balustrades, the columned veranda and the famous stained glass façade, as well as building the powerhouse behind the hotel in 1914, the source of all of Katoomba’s electric light until 1925.

The magnificent dome and minstrel gallery in today’s Champagne Charlie’s Cocktail Lounge were added in honour of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1927, as was an additional wing of accommodation.

Like many of the Mountains’ historic buildings, The Carrington suffered the ravages of time, with old hotels and heritage features going out of style as the 20th century advanced. In 1985, the Grand Old Lady of Katoomba was boarded up as a fire hazard, remaining closed until it was sold in 1991.

After extensive renovation, however, this incredible property is back to its former glory, and now offers luxury accommodation in spacious guestrooms and suites catering to all tastes and budgets. The hotel also features several dining options, including the Grand Dining Room - one of the last Victorian restaurants in Australia with gilded ceilings and stained glass – Champagne Charlie’s Cocktail Lounge, and the Old City Bank Bar & Brasserie.

The old powerhouse has also been given a new lease of life, re-opening in 2010 as the Carrington Cellars & Deli. Pop into the contemporary, industrial-style space where our expert staff can give advice and tips on a great range of beer, cider and wines, including many regional Central Ranges varieties as well as international wines; or taste-test local cheeses at the deli counter.

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Our venue is registered COVID-safe, with spacious public areas and guest lounges where social distancing is made easy.

The Carrington Hotel is located at 15-47 Katoomba St, Katoomba, with entry to Carrington Cellars & Deli and the Katoomba Brewing Company from Parkes Street.

For details of the historic hotel and all its venues, call (02) 4782 1111 or visit

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