The Byng Street Boutique Hotel, run by Kristen Nock, is an extraordinary marriage of historical architecture and contemporary appointments. It is situated in the heart of Orange’s heritage precinct and a stroll to an array of restaurants, boutique shops and cafes, providing the perfect starting point to explore all the wonders the town has to offer.
Tell us a little bit about the Byng Street Hotel.
Formerly the historic “Yallungah” homestead (c.1896), the building has undergone extensive restorations to create a spectacular juxtaposition of the significant historical homestead and contemporary architecture. The clever interior design uses mixes of strong, earthy colours, patterns and textures that work together beautifully to create a bespoke hotel experience.
Guests have the choice of 22 beautifully appointed rooms and suites. Their selection will come down to whether they prefer the superior comfort of the contemporary designed “Modern Wing” or rather to unwind in the historical style and charm of the “Heritage Wing”.
What is unique about Byng Street Hotel?
The juxtaposition between the original heritage homestead and the modern extension at the rear of the hotel is most intriguing for our guests. The bold use of colour throughout the interior design aspects of the hotel, contemporary, eye-catching artwork, including stunning pieces from well-known local artist Larissa Blake, the comfortable lounge areas for guests to gather and relax in, and a beautiful cool climate garden.
Each of your rooms at Byng Street Hotel is unique and furnished beautifully. Did you style these yourself?
We worked with the most amazing interior designer, Louise Spicer, from OneFour Interiors, based in Orange. We were all on the same page with regards to style and the end product, so it was a very easy working relationship. We had complete trust that Louise would pull our vision together, and she did an amazing job! I have a Diploma in Interior Design and utilised this more for the knowledge base in understanding Louise’s design proposals and concepts as opposed to taking the lead. I felt it was important to contribute effectively with some credibility.
You have spent your entire professional career in the hospitality industry. Tell us about that journey.
Like so many, when I completed high school, I was not 100% sure what I wanted to do next, although I knew I had a strong yearning to travel the world. I decided studying Hotel Management would provide me with opportunities to combine work and travel. Whilst studying Hotel Management, I worked as many hours as I could at the then ANA Hotel (now the Shangri Lai Hotel) in Sydney in the Banquets department, with the aim of saving as much money as I could to fulfil my dream of travelling the world. Not long after graduating, at 20 years old, I was on a plane to the UK and commenced my journey of living and working in Europe, predominantly in boutique hotels. I gained so much experience, made lifelong friendships and learned so much about myself.
I then returned to Sydney and worked in some of the city’s finest hotels, including the Westin Sydney in the original GPO building in Martin Place (now The Fullerton), before accepting a role at ANZ Stadium (now Accor Stadium) as a Senior Manager, leading a large team to plan and deliver corporate catering requirements for major events.
In late 2019, my husband, Thomas and I opened the Byng Street Boutique Hotel in Orange. This 4.5-star luxury hotel has been awarded GOLD at the NSW Tourism Awards in 2021 and 2022 and is by far my greatest professional achievement to date.
How do you balance work & life responsibilities?
The juggle is definitely real, although I have found it gets a lot easier as our children grow older. Thomas has always been an amazing partner and has been very supportive. With both of us working in the hospitality industry for our entire professional careers, work commitments can be intense and at all hours of the day and night. I’m not sure it even exists anymore; however, we have never been interested in conforming to the typical gender roles in terms of household tasks. Whoever is at home at the time gets it done! Having our own business in Orange has been great for reducing commuting times – 5 minutes to and from work is a dream! That’s 2 hours of our lives each day we have back to spend more productively.
What’s on the horizon for Byng Street Hotel in 2023?
Since we opened in September 2019, we have faced drought, bushfires, a global pandemic, and floods, which have all greatly affected our business in terms of visitation challenges. We are hoping that 2023 will bring a more “normal” year of business that falls in line with anticipated trends for both the region and the industry. We would love to be successful at the upcoming Australian Tourism Awards in March. Last year, we won bronze in the Deluxe Accommodation Category, so it would be amazing to improve on that.
location: Orange, NSW