The Location

Cambridge Hotel Sydney is an independently operated boutique hotel located in the vibrant Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.

Surry Hills history mirrors the history of Sydney - soon after the First Fleet arrived in 1788, wealthy settlers spread into the fringe area of Surry Hills but within a few decades they moved further out of town and the working class took over Surry Hills. Migrants from all different nationalities and cultures crammed into the narrow streets, in turn creating pockets of high density population that only high rise apartment developments can match today.

A little way down the street from Cambrige Hotel, on the corner of Albion and Riley Streets, is a gully known as Frog Hollow Reserve. In the mid-1850s it was the site of a creek that crossed Riley Street, and one of several swampy hollows of the area. Despite being poorly suited to housing, the gully was developed by speculative builders and was crammed full of very small tenements that were built on top of one another. The housing was dark, damp and overcrowded - very much substandard - and only able to be accessed by steep stairways with poorly lit and narrow laneways.

Until the 1920s, these rental properties at Frog Hollow attracted some of the most undesirable characters living in Sydney at the time, with police claiming that this enclave had bred some of the most 'desperate and dangerous criminals' they had ever encountered. It was also home to the notorious Riley Street Gang.

In 1927, the City Engineer put forward a set of plans for the area to reduce the unnecessary streets, giving additional land for industrial purposes and in turn, additional revenue ot the City Council. Surry Hills localities were renovated and by 1930 most of the houses in Frog Hollow had been demolished.

The Frog Hollow area has since been converted to a park land, featuring sandstone retaining walls and stairs, landscaped gardens, a large open grassy area and a comprehensive heritage/art component.

Today the Surry Hills has evolved into a colourful and diverse place that is well known for its art galleries, antique dealers, cafes and pubs, fashion and rag trade outlets, and The Cambridge Hotel puts you right in the centre of this vibrant environment.

The Cambridge Hotel

The Cambridge Hotel first started trading in 1979 and consisted of 137 guest rooms. The Hotel owned and operated Sydney’s first 5 star restaurant known as “Cyrano’s”. It then became Café 212 that served up breakfast, lunch and dinner to the hotels guests. Today it homes a rustic Italian restaurant, Baccomatto Osteria owned by Mauro Marcucci, which offers a vibrant atmosphere and delicious rustic Italian dishes.

When the restaurant opened in 1979, Sydney’s finest Chef Rolf Widmer introduced a French cuisine to Australia never seen before, known by the French as “Nouvelle”. This was frequented by some of Sydney’s most prominent business people and local residents, including Mr Paul Keating (former Prime Minister of Australia) and Mr. Lionel Murphy and his entourage of Judges. This cuisine carried on until 1990.

From 1980 through to 1995, The Cambridge hotel was a proud supporter of the famous TV Show “Young Talent Time”.

The Hotel Purchase

The property and the adjoining vacant land were acquired by Cienna Group in 2001. In 2003, Cienna Group took over the management of the hotel. Cienna Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lee Kim Tah Holdings.


The Cambridge Hotel underwent a complete refurbishment in early 2007 and embarked on a total makeover. Upon completion of the refurbishment, AAA Tourism announced that the hotel had earned an additional star and achieved 4 star rating.