Some interesting facts are that Hills Reserve at the corner of Albion and Riley Streets, adjacent to the Cambridge Hotel, was once a gully known as ‘Frog Hollow’. This was a notorious ‘no-go area’ frequented by some of the worst criminals in the 1920s. Between 1895 and 1904 Frog Hollow was known as ‘one of the most depraved areas of Sydney’. It was about 9 meters below the surrounding streets and approachable from three directions only by steep flights of stone steps. Anne, Albion, Riley and Little Riley Streets bound this area. The houses here were literally piled on top of each other. Police claimed that this enclave had bred some of the most ‘desperate and dangerous criminals’ they had encountered. One of these was Samuel ‘Jewey’ Freeman, leader of the Riley Street Gang.
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”. Now known as, Café 212 on Riley.
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”.
Riley Street 1916
Buckingham's on the site of the future Cambridge Hotel
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, a public company listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore.
Before (left) and after (right) the refurbishment in 2008
The Cambridge Hotel underwent a complete refurbishment in early 2007 and embarked on the total makeover. Upon completion of the refurbishment AAA Tourism announced that the hotel had earned an additional star and achieved 4 star rating.
After many years of partnership with Choice Hotels, Cambridge Hotel Sydney
now operates independently. Its management now offers Abey Hotel, easy-on-the-pocket 3.5-star accommodation with self-check-in service, funky rooms and hip amenities.
The 4-star Cambridge Hotel Sydney still offers great value, having just completed its second soft refurbishment in five years. Cambridge management will also run the new Adge Apartment Hotel, opening November 2012. Adge will offer 12 luxury two bedroom suites, the latest in-room technology, luxury Peter Morrissey first-class amenities and personalised concierge services.