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An evening in Sydney with a Sia chandelier and Bindi Irwin’s khaki shirts | Travel

Some 15 members of the Bad Bitch Choir are sitting on my mattress, singing Sia songs a cappella and getting champagne-motional.

This is the comfortable launch of the brand new girls’s wing of Song, Australia’s solely “profit-for-purpose” resort (it sounds far more can-do than “not for profit”), run by the YWCA New South Wales. Nine of the resort’s rooms, obtainable to e-book as of 16 April, have been redesigned to pay homage to Australian girls. I’m staying within the Sia room however others are normal after Lee-Lin Chin, Nakkiah Lui, Missy Higgins, Tina Arena, Bindi Irwin, Sally Rugg and Deborah Mailman. There’s additionally a “She Paved the Way” room that celebrates the historical past of feminism in Australia.

There are two Song Hotels in Sydney: one in Redfern; and this web site on Wentworth Avenue, proper close to Hyde Park. The resort was based within the 1980s and was as soon as a hostel and secure refuge for girls in want, earlier than it was revamped to create a three.5-star resort for most of the people. According to Vanessa Beggs, the chief govt of YWCA NSW, the organisation has been working from this web site for nearly 130 years. “All the profits from this facility, including the bar and restaurant, go directly towards the frontline of our programs and services,” she says.

The Sia Room at Song Hotel on Wentworth Avenue, the YWCA’s Sydney-based ‘profit-for-purpose’ resort

Some of the YWCA’s packages are government-funded; the remainder use what the organisation dubs “Y money”. These embrace the eight-week Y-Quest management program, which inspires volunteering and educates individuals on psychological well being, sexual well being, medicine and alcohol, and Indigenous tradition; and Every Girl, which goals to construct resilience and shallowness in eight- to 14-year-olds in deprived areas.

There’s additionally Encore, an eight-week train and wellbeing program open to girls who have skilled breast most cancers; and the It Stops Here Safer Pathway undertaking, devoted to helping girls and youngsters experiencing home violence.

Sophie Trower, the pinnacle of advocacy and growth at YWCA NSW, emphasises the significance of feminism being inclusive of queer girls and non-binary folks, and so, by extension, is that this resort. “It’s a safe space,” she says. And Song Hotel isn’t a lot queer-friendly as queer-celebratory.

The Y’s efforts mark a pattern in recruiting well-known faces to design resort rooms. This 12 months the previous Children Collide frontman Johnny Mackay, now performing as Fascinator, designed the Fascinator Suite for the Carlton Arms in New York, and the jewelry designer Frida Las Vegas glammed up the Paradiso Hotel in Ibiza. While they didn’t design the rooms themselves, the ladies recognised by Song Hotel did contribute some concepts to their areas.

The artworks setting the tone of every room come from the web gallery Bluethumb. Most are on the market, with a share of every going in the direction of the YWCA, and as soon as offered they’ll get replaced by different works. My room has Track Two, by Sherry McCourt, and Rehearsal, by Tetyana Khytko. Sia sheet music strains one wall – and naturally there’s a chandelier.

Sally Rugg's Pride Room

Sally Rugg’s Pride room. The resort is meant to be a secure area for queer girls and non-binary folks

Then there are the quirky touches – the LGBTQI activist Sally Rugg’s Pride room (the one room that sleeps three) has rainbow scarves during which to bop, and there are khaki Australia Zoo shirts on hangers within the Bindi Irwin room. Lee-Lin Chin’s room is dominated by a Yellow Submarine mural and there’s a replica of her e-book, Iced Beer and Other Tantalising Tips for Life, on the aspect desk. (Anything “accidentally” taken home is billed to the visitor’s bank card, in fact.)

The foremost paintings within the Pride room is by two-time Archibald finalist Kim Leutwyler. She has painted Rugg’s portrait twice however for the work on this room she has depicted a topless couple. “They’re the first lesbian friends that my wife and I made when we moved to Sydney,” she tells Guardian Australia. “We saw them sitting alone in a bar and sent over some tequila martinis, like, ‘Do you want to be our friends?’ We took a trip to the Hunter Valley shortly after meeting each other and did a wine tour, then at the last second I coaxed them into posing in the vineyard.”

Rugg sees her Pride room for the primary time on the launch, full with its rainbow lighting and Love Is Love mural. It’s necessary, she says, for companies to spend money on their social values: “It’s putting your money where your mouth is.”

“My room overlooks Oxford Street, and that for me personally has the deepest sense of lineage and history,” she says. “When I’m on that street I know my community and feel that I’m home.”


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