Sydney Travel Guide
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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The whole of Australia is a flutter with Brad Pitt touching down this week to promote his new movie, World War Z. Though this is Brad's first visit down under, he opted to leave Angie at home and take little Pax, possibly to pat some koalas or feed some kangaroos.
While in Sydney, father and son are staying in the lap of luxury at the centrally located, Intercontinental. The hotel is located smack dab in the middle of the city's most popular area, Circular Quay, and no doubt while Dad was busy doing his interviews, Pax and his carer hopped on a ferry to the Taronga Zoo for a quick Aussie animal fix.
Yet as busy as Brad can be on his inaugural visit, he did seem to attract some attention with the fans, and we're not talking about the good kind. One fan was hanging out in the basement parking garage waiting to catch a glimpse of Brad and, maybe get an autograph. After the fan approached Brad and Pax, the star's bodyguards quickly stepped in and tackled the man. Eventually, the police came to issue a 'move-on order' (the Aussie equivalent to a slap on the wrist) to the fan and the boys were off to their yacht cruise around the iconic harbor.
Who would have thought that faux fur and babies would actually go together like peanut butter and jelly? Well, the folks Down Under at the swanky QT Sydney have come up with the perfect package for those looking for the trendiest Babymoon.
Appealing to more parents like Brangelina or Posh and Becks, the QT has introduced the perfect package for fashion-forward parents looking to get get away from it all with, of course, the children. The creative offer features daily breakfast for the grown-ups and freshly made baby-food for the little ones and a spa treatment for both mom and dad. If the sexy digs aren't enough to relax, the room comes with a bottle of sparkling wine to calm the nerves of new (or old) parents.
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Designing a suite that's fit for Gomez and Morticia Addams is no easy task, but Sofitel Wentworth Sydney has the made the glamorous into the mysterious and spooky to welcome the namesake Broadway musical hitting the city's theater district.
From the morbid lobby decorations, elevators that delight you with the retro sitcom's theme song to when you step foot into the suite, you might think you have checked-in to a graveyard instead of a luxury hotel in the middle of the city. The themed room features a mock electric chair, creepy crimson walls and curtains, cobwebs, spiders, a haunted mirror, black towels and bed linen and the obligatory Addams Family portrait on the nightstand to remember your favorite relatives - Pugsley, Wednesday, Lurch, Uncle Fester and Grandmama.
If you want to escape all of the drama from your room, you can even partake in a Addams Family high tea service that's all together ooky. Continuing on the after-life theme, you can feast on a confectionery Cousin Itt from fruit paste and Persian cotton candy or a gloriously gruesome edible chopping block out of sweet apple pie.
We've all walked into a hotel room and our excitement for a creative and unique experience is shot down when we find a boring old room. On a recent trip to Sydney we laid our head at Park8 Hotel and even after the swipe of our keycard, the smile was never wiped off our face. We felt like we had our own little loft apartment in the middle of the city, just steps away from Hyde Park and the shopping district.
This little gem of a boutique hotel from 8 Hotels is quirky and fun, but still maintained what we expect when we stay at a hotel. We were fortunate enough to score a one-bedroom loft that was more like we were couch surfing in New York than staying in a hotel chain. The suite has two-stories of windows flooding the rooms with natural light and showcasing brag-worthy views of the inner city and the park's giant figs trees.
With the bedroom on the second floor, the rooms have ample living space allowing for a late night television session on the couch without messing up the bed. A kitchenette stocked with full-size bottles of Aussie wine, a few craft ciders and cold-pressed juices kind of mimicked our own refrigerator at home.
The folks at Hilton Sydney unveiled their latest incarnation--a themed cocktail lounge. The hotel's Zeta Bar has been transformed into 'The Secret Garden' with a modern twist, and of course inventive drinks.
The bar itself is quite known locally as one of the best cocktail lounges and with a group of masterminds and mixologists, the hot bar comes alive with it's latest them that is based on the beloved children's novel. From happy hour on a Friday night to the wee hours of the morning, the lounge gets an overhaul with garden furniture, trees, beautifully manicured lawns and models covered in bodyart to host the city's hip crowd ready to mingle.
You better believe the drinks are part of them if each master bartender is tasked with creating a special cocktail for the concept bar. Alcoholic Jell-O and Bellini popsicles all create a wonderland that is a feast for the senses as much for the eyes. If you're looking to sample as a pair, the Tweedle Dum would suit; the gin-based cocktail is topped with Limoncello and sparkling wine and is served up in a smoking tea-pot.