The original stone-clad building on this site was built in 1856 and was home to John Fairfax & Sons, publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald. It was designed in Italianate style by Goold & Hillings, and had three storeys and a basement. In the 1920s a second, much taller, building was constructed on the site. Architects Manson & Pickering designed it in Inter-war Renaissance Palazzo style using Bondi sandstone and Bowral trachyte as cladding. Stuart Brothers built it to the maximum height of 150 feet (approx 46m) set by the Height of Buildings Act, in force from 1913 to 1956. In 1954 it was sold to the Bank of New South Wales, now Westpac. In the late 1990s TA Enterprises bought the building and adapted the interiors to create the boutique-style, five-star Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney. This opened in July 2000 with 362 guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, a health club and eight meeting rooms, two of which have original interiors.
The areas open for inspection were Sir Warwick Fairfax's office, now a function room, and the old board room, also now a function room. Unfortunately the original marble staircase and features of the lower ground level are long gone. We also got a look at one of the hotel rooms - way out of my price range.