Sydney Travel Guide

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Before and After: Shangri-La Sydney Renovates Horizon Club

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  Site Where: 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
June 26, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | ()

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

When we looked inside the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Double Bay Sydney earlier this year, we said that many central business district hotels in the Australian city are all about the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House views. That couldn’t be more true for Shangri-La Sydney, towering over the Rocks a few blocks away from Circular Quay.

All 565 rooms and suites have harbour views (though that classification includes Darling Harbour), but the best rooms in the house are part of the Horizon Club, the hotel’s club lounge floors. These have just been at the receiving end of an $8 million upgrade, covering both the lounge itself and the 90 rooms. Above and directly below the lounge as it was before, scroll down for the new look.

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Aloft to Make a 'Pitt' Stop in Sydney in 2016

Where: Sydney, Australia
June 25, 2015 at 5:41 PM | by | ()

Adaptive re-use in hotel design knows no bounds. And we love everything about that, as well as the news that Aloft is planning its Sydney debut as the Aloft Sydney Pitt Street, opening November 1, 2016.

Aloft will be moving into – and on top of - the Druids House, a former lighting factory dating to 1909, and from 1927 the Aussie home of popular fraternal society, the United Ancient Order of Druids. That should make for some interesting bar chatter.

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Inside the Royal Suite at the New InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

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  Site Where: Cross Street, Sydney, Australia
February 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM | by | ()

Back in November, InterContinental Hotels reopened the former Ritz-Carlton in Sydney’s Double Bay as its second property in the city, following a multi-year closure and renovation of the hotel. Many a hotel in the central business district, including the ‘other’ InterContinental, can give you the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House views the city is famous for, but back in the day the likes of Madonna, Bill Clinton, and Princess Diana all opted to stay here instead. We wondered why, so we made the 15-minute cab ride to Double Bay and peeked inside the Royal Suite to find out.

Set on the hotel’s fifth floor, the Royal Suite is a one-bedroom suite with living room, study, bedroom, ensuite bathroom, powder room, dining room, pantry, and option for a connecting bedroom. The contemporary design really worked for us, with pale herringbone hardwood floors, white walls, and dark wood – but the real draw is in the direction of the light streaming in through the arched windows.

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QT Sydney's Goodie Bag May Just Be the Best Thing About NYE Down Under

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  Site Where: 49 Market Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
December 29, 2014 at 9:03 AM | by | ()

Sydney is one of the first places on the planet to ring in the New Year, and along with a stellar fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge, the folks over at QT Sydney want to make sure that you have everything you need to ring in 2015 in comfort. All guests who stay on 31 December will get this stonking goodie bag filled with items that range from sexy to sensible and everything in between.

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The Langham Sydney, Formerly The Observatory, Has Unveiled Its Fresh New Look

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  Site Where: 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
December 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM | by | ()

Well, today's the day (well, yesterday if you're in Sydney), that the public gets to truly see what a $30 million AUD renovation on a hotel looks like when The Langham Sydney reveals the fruits of their labor.

If you recall, the folks over at Langham acquired the iconic Observatory Hotel and operated it for a little while with the existing but fairly dated decor while they put time and thought into the full refurbishment. Now, we couldn't be happier they took their sweet time because the results are pretty amazing. Out went the dark wood paneling that was prevalent throughout and in came the light!

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The Langham Sydney Will Officially Get Langham-ized

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  Site Where: 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
July 14, 2014 at 11:45 AM | by | ()

Almost two years after Sydney's iconic Observatory Hotel changed owners to become The Langham Sydney, the property will close its door to undergo a massive renovation to make the space a lot more, well, Langham.

The first day of renovations is scheduled for July 24. Over the next four months, all 96 guest rooms, the lobby, dining areas and the residential-style ballroom will see a bit more than a few new coats of paint. Spending around $30 million AUD, the hotel will install a new design element, to bring it more in-line with their other properties around the globe.

Each of the rooms will trade their stuffy, dated interior for a more modern, white-washed decor with herringbone hardwood-floors, modern furnishings and gold and teal accents marrying high-end luxe with colonial charm. Being one of the only hotels in Sydney to offer balconies in each room, guests will be able to enjoy the near perfect Sydney weather from the comfort of their own room.

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Sydney's Pier One Hotel is Going Through a 'Beautification' Process

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  Site Where: 11 Hickson Road, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
July 9, 2014 at 1:26 PM | by | ()

Who would have thought that a hotel located in one of Sydney's most stunning spots on The Rocks would need to embark beautification process? Well, the folks over at Pier One Sydney Harbour decided to pretty things up a bit after the ownership of the hotel changed hands.

Earlier this year, Pier One became part of Marriott's Autograph Collection and thus they decided to really wow their Marriott Rewards members guests.

For the next 17 weeks, the hotel will be overhauling their lobby, dining and bar facilities to better fit in with their new brand. One thing that won't be changing is the 100-year old character of the building and the stunning views across Sydney Harbour. Originally built as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit facility, the hotel now offers a modern and contemporary stay steeped in history with some rooms offering the closest thing you can get to an overwater bungalow in an urban setting.

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Inside The 1888 Hotel, An Alternative to Sydney's Corporate Hotel Scene

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  Site Where: 139 Murray Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia
May 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM | by | ()

1888 Shakes Things Up With a "Cozy Industrial Vibe"

Focusing on being Instagram-worthy as it does (and handing out free nights if you have 10,000 followers or more), Sydney’s 1888 Hotel better be bringing it in the looks department. We showed you how to get the lobby (or yourself) into the frame, and are following up today with a closer look at how the rest of the hotel measures up.

1888’s Pyrmont location puts you just on the "other" side of Darling Harbour, to the west of Sydney’s CBD. A stroll across the pedestrian bridge will take you into the city’s core in 15 minutes, or you can take the scenic ferry route and sail underneath the Harbour Bridge before you dock at Circular Quay.

Getting to the hotel from the airport is easy enough: hop on the express train to the city’s Central Station and change to the monorail, get off at Convention Centre (you buy the monorail ticket on the train), enter the parking garage and take the lift up to the fourth floor, exit on the other side, and 1888 is right in front of you. The red brick building (formerly a wool-storage facility) certainly looked pretty against the backdrop of bright blue Sydney skies when we arrived.

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QT Sydney Staff Has Its Own In-House Stylists

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  Site Where: 49 Market Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
April 28, 2014 at 1:20 AM | by | ()

We’ve come a long way from hotel staff wearing boxy, nondescript uniforms (hell, at some hotels you get to wear Lacroix Couture), but QT Sydney is taking things yet another step further: not only does staff have its stylish uniforms (by costume designer Janet Hine), an in-house stylist is on hand to get the look just so before starting work.

The result is – not surprisingly – some very well put together staff, like the blue-shirted Porters and red-wigged Directors of Chaos at the hotel’s entrance. Their job is getting you out of the hustle of Market Street, into the ornate downstairs gallery (the hotel combines the former Gowings Department Store and State Theatre), and up one floor to reception.

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New Sydney Hotel to Embrace an Era That's Come and Gone (But Then Kinda Came Back Again)

Where: 339 Pitt Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2000
February 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | ()

Last year, we were in "Gatsby" heaven, thanks to Baz Luhrmann's stylized movie version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic novel. Since some scenes were filmed in Sydney, it kind of makes sense for the city to reclaim an art deco building to re-purpose it into a stunning new hotel called the Greenland Hotel.

The building was originally home to the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Headquarters and sports a formidable art deco facade. Through the redevelopment, that design will carry through all spaces in the hotel; restoring the structure's heritage features and ultimately, a new design hotel will emerge into the city center, just steps from Hyde Park and Pitt Street Mall.

The six-story hotel will also be transforming office space from the "Water Board" days into fresh hotel rooms that feature simple, yet elegant interiors referencing the original stone and timber veneer panel of the vintage design. Each of the 180 rooms will be built around a central skylight, bringing back an era of opulence prior to the Great Depression.

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The QT Sydney Has a New Elevator Gimmick (Just Don't Ride it Alone)

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  Site Where: 49 Market Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
August 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

Picture the scene: you're in the elevator going up to your hotel room, Elvis is singing Are You Lonesome Tonight when the door opens and another guest slips in. Eyes straight ahead, you've just settled into ignore the stranger mode when the elevator music switches to Just the Two of Us.

Awkward? Yes. Coincidence? Not if you are staying at the QT Sydney where the elevators are no mere vehicles to transport you between the rooms and the lobby, but 'interactive installations'. Those songs were not played by chance but selected from the hotel's own set-list and triggered by the number of bodies occupying the space.

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High-Rollers Get Lucky as Second Sydney Casino Complex is Approved

Where: Sydney, Australia
July 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM | by | ()

We chatted a little bit last month on the massive, $1.5 billion mega-casino complex coming to Sydney but now there's word that the Crown Sydney has just gotten the green light from the government. From the same owners of the Crown Metropol and Crown Towers in Melbourne and Perth, the Crown Sydney will offer some seriously luxe digs to go along with those baccarat tables.

Aussie businessman, James Packer, is the man behind the success of the other two Crowns and no doubt, he hopes to duplicate his success in Sydney. And he won't have much competition. Currently, the city has one casino complex, The Star, which is home to super flashy hotel, The Darling. The Crown's gaming destination will feature two new luxury hotels featuring 350 six-star rooms and 80 luxury apartments competitively positioned right next-door to the existing Star Casino in the popular Darling Harbour and Pyrmont neighborhoods.

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