Indulge in a little luxurious accommodation in Goulburn.
When Mandelson’s was first built way back in the 1840s it was destined to be the finest hotel in Goulburn, the equal of the best in Sydney. Since then it has had a history as checkered and romantic as the Italian marble floor in its foyer.
The fact that during the opening of the Sydney to Goulburn railway in 1869 Lady Belmore refused to stay anywhere but Mandelson’s suggests that it certainly was the most luxurious accommodation available in town at the time.
For many years it was an important meeting place for the town’s leaders and businessmen, but in the early 1900s it fell in with the wrong crowd, becoming a boarding house for a different class of clientele.
“We have had guests,” says Steve Ayling, the hotel’s current owner, “who told us that as young girls they were instructed that they should never walk or cycle near this corner of town, because it was so rough and filled with degenerates.”
It was a difficult period in the building’s life, when it fell into relative disrepair and the ballroom got split into eight or nine smaller rooms.
“The red cedar doors were nailed together and covered over, no-one knew they were still here, which is a fortunate thing, because if it had been known they would have been sold off and we wouldn’t have them today.”
To look at the building today it is hard to imagine what it would have been like in during this time, when respectable citizens wouldn’t walk past the front door.
“The only parts of the hotel recognisable from those days are the Italian marble floor and the staircase in the lobby, everything else had to be restored.”
For the past 16 years the hotel has been enjoying a return to its former splendor, having received a complete makeover in 1999, which saw all its facilities updated in line with modern standards of luxury.
The hotel has eight rooms, each with its own antique furnishings and a sleek ensuite bathroom. The ‘Heritage Room’ is undoubtedly the grandest of the rooms on offer, with a four-poster bed and spa bath, and it is here that brides often prepare for their wedding days, and spend their first wedded night.
“You can see that they are nervous in the mornings,” observes Steve, “but after sweeping down the staircase they are just glowing with confidence and are ready to face the day.”
There are several sitting rooms and a ballroom that guests are welcome to use, all filled with antiques, historical art and artefacts collected by Steve and his wife Claire.
“We really love collecting antiques,” says Steve, “so having the hotel to keep them in and being able to live amongst them, suits us really well.”
Mandelson’s offers a good wi-fi network as well as heating for winter and air-conditioning for summer. The continental breakfast is plentiful and, best of all, Steve and Claire are more than happy to share their stories with the guests who pass through their doors.
Mandelson’s of Goulburn is located at 160 Sloane St, Goulburn, NSW. Click here to enquire or book.